Grilled Fish Tacos

One thing my wife and I like to work into our dinner rotation is fish. We don’t live next to the coast, unless you count the coast of Lake Michigan. While there are literally hundreds of lake near by, I’m not that good of a fisherman, and I don’t dedicate enough time to filling the livewell. I like lake fish, perch, crappie, blue gills, but that puts me in a minority at my house. So like most “land-locked” folks we purchase our fish fresh frozen. Salmon is always an option, as is cod. In Wisconsin, Friday Fish Fry is a staple and cod and pollock are the usual suspects. We do bake cod loins at home from time to time, but that can be faily mundane. We have beer battered it which was really quite good. Something fried that tastes good. I know, weird, right?

When we are going to grill fish, the most common option would have to be Mahi Mahi. This delicious, white-fleshed, flaky fish is readily avaiable at every store around here. I think it holds up well on the grill, and takes marinade wonderfully without masking its mild fish flavor.

Our most recent purchase of Mahi Mahi fillets came from Trader Joe’s. A word of caution on this particular product, pay attention to their thawing instructions. When done incorrectly, the fish becomes water logged, soft and unappealing. When the instructions are followed, the package yeilds the closest thing to fresh fish I have found locally. Instead of serving up a piece of gilled fish along side of grilled veggies and rice as usual, I decided to try my hand at fish tacos. We had some small flour tortillas at home, so it seemed like a no-brainer.

I have only eaten fish tacos once before that I recall. They were served up for $2.00 each on special at a great bar in South Milwaukee, WI called The Taproom. They also have a fantastic beer list which alone would be worth the trip. Back to the tacos. The fish wasbreadly lightly and crispy fried and topped with traditional taco goodies, and some kind of wonderful spicy sauce. Simple and delicious. These were in the foreground of my mind as I planned my own approach.

My marinade for this fish was really quite simple. Lime juice olive oil, chili powder, a diced jalapeño and a little lime zest. This came together quickly and was instantly making a beautiful color on the fish. I then turned my attention to the Big Green Egg. I prepped it for direct grilling and quickly achieved the temperature of 450° at the grate. I wanted a little simple sauce to put on top so I took an avocado and smashed it with some sour cream, lime juice and lime zest. The end product was a cool,  pale green sauce.

When the idea of making fish tacos came to me, I knew I some cabbage to put on top. When you don’t have time to make it, use a locally available product. This called for a trip to a local sandwich shop called The Picnic Basket. Their house made jalapeño slaw would add a fantastic crunch and just the right amount of heat.

The fish hit the grill and it was perfectly flaky in less than 10 minutes. Next I’ll give the thicker pieces a head start as the tail portion cooks lightning fast. No harm done this time, just a friendly reminder. 

These were really quite good. The fish could have used more flavor. I was thinking a tequila lime marinade would be spot on. The slaw was perfect on top, the heat it gave was smoothed out with avocado lime sauce.

This meal comes together so quickly that it makes a great week night meal. Two pieces of fish yeilded enough meat for my wife and I to get our fill of tacos.

If you haven’t eaten fish tacos before, or more importantly, haven’t made them before, you simply have to try. Nothing in this cook has a fixed recipe. Part of the fun in cooking this was just throwing things together. Give it a try, I have a hard time believing you’d be disappointed.


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