By Kat Wojtylak
A culinary column for equestrians is no easy feat. Riders have little to no extra time, wish to eat as healthy as possible, want something that tastes amazing and of course looks phenomenal. Anything else I’m forgetting? Even when we travel to horse shows, we’re left with substandard eating that makes our breeches want to suddenly go missing. It’s not easy living the life.
Luckily, I’ve been in your shoes and know how it feels. My goal aside from the long list mentioned above is to provide delicious food that with some prep work will give you the ability to cook at home and feel really good about it. I ask you to quit grumbling about dinner, quit speed dialing the chinese restaurant that delivers in under fifteen minutes, and start finding ways to get inspired in the kitchen.
This week’s recipe is for fish tacos with mango salsa. A bright and spicy combination, these tacos showcase a ton of flavor in order to give you a new take on your next weeknight meal. Better yet, this is a perfect meal for company. Be sure to bring plenty of napkins and a great appetite too!
Tilapia is a very mild fish, and one I find works really well in a lot of recipes where you might use chicken. These tacos have a bunch of ingredients, but it’s pretty straightforward in putting them all together. You start off by pan frying up the coated fish (you can substitute shrimp, chicken or local fish), and then layer it between some corn tortillas, lettuce, cheese, mango salsa and some spicy adobo cream sauce. In both flavors and textural components, this dish is sure to wake your mouth up.
As far as the heat scale on this recipe goes, it’s pretty spicy both with the cream sauce and mango salsa. In the mango salsa you have jalapeños, but if you’re not a big fan, then simply substitute a green pepper or just omit. Don’t keep mangoes around? Try using peaches, and be warned that leftovers of this salsa are fantastic with tortilla chips. The adobo cream sauce combines sour cream with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce which can be found in the hispanic section of your supermarket. The chipotle peppers in adobo sauce pack a lot of heat, but when combined with the sour cream it will help to cut down on the spiciness. I also found that consumed by itself it’s a lot hotter than when placed on the tacos. If you’re not sure if you’ll like it, start with a little bit and work your way up. You can also just drizzle sour cream on the tacos if heat isn’t your thing.
My last brainstorm for this recipe, is to try serving mini ones at your next party. You’d have to find access to mini corn tortillas, or make them yourself. But you could also use the Scoops tortilla shells. They’d be great for any party. On a small or large scale, these tacos are definitely great for entertaining, and most of all eating. So get busy in your kitchen and enjoy!
To full plates and eating your tarte out.
Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa
1 lime, juiced
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 jalapeño peppers, diced
1 cup of sour cream
1/4 cup of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
8 corn tortillas
1/2 cup of pecans
1/2 cup of corn meal
1 teaspoon of paprika (sweet smoked preferred)
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 lb of tilapia filets, cut into bite sized chunks
8 lettuce leaves, preferably Boston Bibb
1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
oil for frying
salt and pepper
In a small bowl, combine mangoes, red onion, jalapeño peppers. Add half of your lime juice, and a dash of salt and pepper. Allow to sit on the counter while prepping the rest of your ingredients. As the juices settle, taste periodically and add more lime juice, salt and pepper as desired.
In a food processor, combine pecans and corn meal. Process until finely ground. Place mixture into a bowl and mix in paprika, pepper and salt. Set aside.
In a blender, or rinsed food processor, combine the sour cream and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. If available, place mixture into a squirt bottle, or place mixture into a small ziplock bag (you’ll snip a corner off when you’re ready to serve). Place mixture into the fridge until ready to use.
Everything till this point can be done ahead.
In a small skillet on medium heat, cook tortillas for thirty seconds on each side. Do not use Oil. This process works best being done while you fry up your tilapia. Repeat with remaining tortillas until all are heated through.
When ready to eat, place a skillet on medium high heat. Once heated, place enough oil in the bottom to coat the surface. Take one tilapia chunk at time, and coat in the pecan corn meal mixture. Place into hot skillet and repeat with remaining pieces. Be careful to not overcrowd the pan. Depending on how big your pieces are, they should take about four minutes total to cook, three minutes on one side, one minute on the other. Place onto a plate when finished cooking and allow to cool slightly. Sprinkle with salt.
To assemble the tacos, place one corn tortilla down, followed by a lettuce leaf. Add two-three chunks of tilapia, a sprinkling of cheddar cheese and a heaping spoonful of the mango salsa. Drizzle the adobo cream sauce over top. Continue with the remaining portions, serve and enjoy!
About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at email@example.com.