Classic Ensenada Fish Tacos
Tacos de Pescado "Clasicos de Ensenada"
Enough for 12 tacos, serving 4
From Season 8 Mexico - One Plate at a Time
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1 tablespoon yellow mustard (like French’s)
1 teaspoon concentrated chicken base or chicken-flavor powdered bouillon
1 cup beer, sparkling water or water
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup all purpose flour
Vegetable oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches for frying
1 pound boneless, skinless fish fillets (practically anything will work, but I like larger-flake, lighter-flavor fish best for this preparation—think halibut, sea bass, grouper and the like)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream or heavy (whipping) cream
1/4 cup milk
12 warm corn tortillas
1 cup or more of thinly sliced cabbage (I like Napa cabbage best)
About 1 cup salsa (Toasted Arbol Chile Salsa, roasted green chile salsa, roasted tomatillo salsa or even one of the Mexican hot sauces like Tamazula, Valentina)
2 or 3 limes, cut in wedges
1. Prepare the batter. Finely chop the garlic, sprinkle generously with salt, then mash back and forth with the side of your knife across your cutting board until crushed to a puree. Scrape into a medium bowl and add the oregano, black pepper, mustard, base or bouillon, beer or water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the flour and baking powder to the wet ingredients and whisk just until combined.
2. Fry the fish. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet to 370 degrees. While the oil is heating, cut the fish into pieces about 3 inches long by 1/2 inch square. Use a pair of tongs to pick up a piece of fish, dip it completely into the batter, and lay it into the oil. Continue with a few more pieces of fish, filling the hot oil with an uncrowded layer. Fry, turning the pieces regularly, until deep golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towel and keep warm in a low oven on a wire rack set over a sheet pan while you fry the rest of the fish.
3. Serve. Mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream and milk. Set out with the cabbage, salsa, warm corn tortillas, limes and the crispy fish for everyone to make tacos.