Coast Cooking

Key to good fish tacos is fresh fish

I have written about fish tacos many times. It is a gift to us from California, and that West Coast lot got it from Baja, Calif.

In Mexico it is a treat that involves fresh, local fish.

Some eateries use frozen, imported, and not very appetizing fish to fill their tacos, and they compensate for the poor fish by adding overpowering condiments.

There is nothing wrong with a cubed tomato, a squirt of fresh lime, and a sprig or two of cilantro, but when you cover this taco with a cup of pico de gallo, or worse, a jar of store-bought salsa, then it is a culinary nightmare to be sure.

The solution is simple; use fresh fish. If you find a few filets of Mississippi-raised catfish, that would be grand. If you score a filet of lemon fish, snapper or speckle trout, then you are on your way to something special indeed.

1 filet of fish per taco

Soft flour tortillas

Diced tomato

Diced avocado (covered in lemon juice so it won't brown)

Sprigs of cilantro

Quartered lemon or lime

Olive oil

Fresh ground black pepper

Dry the filet, season with black pepper and sauté over medium heat in a little olive oil. Remember to use your finger as a guide, give it a friendly poke and when it is firm it is done. Try to turn just one time. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add the filet to the tortilla, top scantly with tomato, avocado, cilantro and a squirt of lemon or lime juice. If you want just a bit more body, add a few dribbles of olive oil. Serve at once. A little green onion would be OK as well.

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