I think that every kid who grew up in the 70s in So. Cal. was heavily exposed to the Eagles. In 1978 I remember speeding down the 405 with my parents, Witchy Woman blasting on the radio and mom and dad sharing an, um, "adult cigarette." Maybe it was just my family who did that sort of thing, but I kind of doubt it.
Another unique facet of growing up in this region - San Diego in particular - was (and remains) an occasional feast of fish tacos. Fish tacos became popular in Mexico and really hit the spot after a night of drinking and partying in Tijuana or Ensenada. They were later brought to San Diego in force by Ralph Rubio of Rubio's Fish Tacos fame. In my mind, fish tacos by the beach and the Eagles playing on the radio are two childhood memories that really stand out and are intrinsically California.
This past weekend my wife and I had a chance to see the Eagles perform at the Hollywood Bowl and it was pretty great. So many childhood memories came flooding back as the band played through songs not only by the Eagles, but also from Joe Walsh's and Don Henley's solo careers. The next day I made fish tacos for my friends and the walk down memory lane was complete.
This recipe makes twelve tacos and takes about an hour and a half to prepare.
12 pieces (1.5 oz each; roughly 1 pound) of mild tasting fish (Pollock or Tilapia)
24 Corn tortillas (see note above)
Vegetable oil for deep frying
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup beer (Guinness or Newcastle)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3 cups of finely shredded cabbage
3 medium tomatoes diced
1/2 medium onion diced
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
2 limes cut into wedges
For the Batter
1. Combine the flour with the garlic powder and black pepper. Mix this with the beer and let it sit for a while. It’s best to let it sit at least an hour.
For the Pico de Gallo
1. Combine the tomato, onion and cilantro.
2. Add salt to taste and set aside in the refrigerator.
For the White Sauce
1. Combine mayonnaise and yogurt. Add a bit of water to thin the sauce if necessary.
For the Fish
1. Wash the fish in water with a bit of salt or some lime juice then dry it completely.
2. Heat the vegetable oil to 375 degrees.
3. Vigorously whisk the batter before dipping the fish. This will help make the batter lighter and crispier.
4. Dip the fish into a bowl of flour, then into the batter batter and immediately into the hot oil.
5. Cook until golden brown, turning as necessary.
6. While your frying the fish, begin warming your tortillas. The best way to do this is to heat them on a dry hot skillet until hot. Cover the tortillas with foil.
1. Place a warm tortilla on plate.
2. Place a piece of the fish on the center of the tortilla.
3. Spoon a small amount of the white sauce over the fish.
4. Spoon some of the pico de gallo over the fish.
5. Put a small handful of the cabbage on top
6. Serve with lime wedge on the side.
There's nothing too tricky about this dish. The toughest thing, I think, is to maintain a steady temperature with the oil. Give yourself plenty of time to get the temperature just right before you start. Because the temperature will drop when you add the fish, you can probably get the oil to about 380 or 390.