Blackened Rainbow Fish Tacos with Spicy Avocado Sauce

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Looking for healthy and delicious goodies to serve at the Superbowl Halftime?  These yummy Blackened Fish Tacos will not disappoint.  They can be served as a make-it-yourself Taco Bar or as pre-made sliders to serve a large crowd and they are really fun, with a colorful topping of Rainbow ‘slaw’ that includes fresh sweet mango, avocado, black beans and jalapeno, and topped with a dollop of Spicy Avocado Sauce.  I like to include black beans in the slaw.  Their earthy saltiness adds a nice contrast to the crunchy sweet and spice of the rest of the fruits and veggies.  Plus the addition of black beans allows vegetarians or non-fish eaters to make delicious and satisfying tacos too. I know nutrition is not the top priority of SuperBowl cuisine, but you can rest assured that these tacos will be popular and pack a huge nutrional punch without all the extra calories.

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Well the good news is that Punxatawny Phil didn’t see his shadow yesterday on GroundHog Day, which means Spring will come early this year, although I’m not sure that Phil is a trustworthy predictor of spring.  In fact, according to the StormFax Almanac Phil has been right only 39 percent of the time. Since his first prediction in 1887, Phil has seen his shadow 102 times and not seen it on just 18 occasions, including this year.  I guess Spring will come when it comes but I can’t wait.  I know we need the rain in California but…

I love Mexican food, especially tacos!  The spicier the better in my book.  Halibut makes a great taco base since it’s mild in flavor and really picks up the wow of the spices.  It’s also firm in texture so it doesn’t turn to mush or fall apart in the taco even when you add multiple toppings. I used the smaller, slider sized, corn tortillas which are fun for large gatherings, if you can find them, like the Superbowl.  That way I get to eat two for the price of one… yum!  I also liked the way this avocado sauce set itself apart from guacamole (which I also love) and doesn’t include any sour cream or other fatty fillers, just lots of lovely flavor.  For a spicier sauce, include more jalapeno and some of the seeds.  The honey is added to offset the acidity of the apple cider vinegar and lime juice, not to make it sweet.  Of course, you could always omit the honey if you like it tangy.  For a creamier sauce, substitute yogurt and a little water for the vinegar.  It’s hard to go wrong with avocado, so feel free to experiment.

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TIPS:  To easily cut a mango into chunks, slice the mango lengthwise, on the flat side just to the right of the large pit.  Cut the fleshy part of the mango lengthwise and then crosswise (without cutting into the skin) and invert mango to expose mango sections.  Then easily cut off mango cubes.  The avocado sauce and the rainbow/mango topping can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.  I found that both Rainbow Slaw and Avocado Sauce held up really well overnight in the refrigerator.

For more SuperBowl recipes, check out my blog post this Friday. Cheers!

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BLACKENED RAINBOW FISH TACOS

2 lbs halibut, skin removed (or other mild fish)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsn cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Blackened Old Bay (optional)
1 tsp salt
8 corn tortillas (or 16 slider sized)
1 cup queso fresco (optional)

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RAINBOW MANGO TOPPING (Makes a generous salad/can easily be halved)

1 avocado, diced
1/2 mango, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cup purple cabbage, shredded or chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 jalapeno, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced (2-3 Tbsn)

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SPICY AVOCADO SAUCE

1 ripe avocado
1 jalapeno (with or without seeds)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 lime, juiced (2-3 Tbsn)
1-2 Tbsn honey (or more to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

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  • Wash halibut filets and pat dry.  Cut into bite sized pieces and place in a shallow container.

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  • Combine chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, Old Bay and salt in a small bowl.

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  • Sprinkle spice mixture over halibut and stir to cover evenly and set aside.

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  • Place all Rainbow Mango ingredients in a serving bowl and toss to combine.

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  • Place all Avocado Sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Start with just one tablespoon of honey and then adjust according to taste.  Pour into a serving bowl (top with avocado pit to keep from turning brown).

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  • Wrap tortillas in foil and heat in a 250 degree oven.  Heat olive oil in a heavy pan, cast iron if possible, until quite hot.  Add halibut to hot pan and cook several minutes, stirring to sear all sides.  Remove from heat to prevent overcooking.

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  • Assemble tacos, by placin a few pieces of halibut in each tortilla and a spoonful of Rainbow Mango Topping.  Top with a drizzle of Spicy Avocado Sauce

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Blackened Rainbow Fish Tacos with Spicy Avocado Sauce

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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BLACKENED RAINBOW FISH TACOS

2 lbs halibut, skin removed (or other mild fish)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsn cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Blackened Old Bay (optional)
1 tsp salt
8 corn tortillas (or 16 slider sized)
1 cup queso fresco (optional)

RAINBOW MANGO TOPPING

1 avocado, diced
1/2 mango, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cup purple cabbage, shredded
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 jalapeno, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced (2-3 Tbsn)

SPICY AVOCADO SAUCE

1 ripe avocado
1 jalapeno (with or without seeds)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 lime, juiced (2-3 Tbsn)
2 Tbsn honey (or more to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

  • Wash halibut filets and pat dry.  Cut into bite sized pieces and place in a shallow container.
  • Combine chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, Old Bay and salt in a small bowl and sprinkle over halibut and stir to cover evenly and set aside.
  • Place all Rainbow Mango ingredients in a serving bowl and toss to combine.
  • Place all Avocado Sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.  Pour into a serving bowl (top with avocado pit to keep from turning brown).
  • Wrap tortillas in foil and heat in a 250 degree oven.
  • Heat olive oil in a heavy pan, cast iron if possible, until quite hot.  Add halibut to hot pan and cook several minutes, stirring to sear all sides.  Remove from heat to prevent overcooking.
  • Assemble tacos, by placin a few pieces of halibut in each tortilla and a spoonful of Rainbow Mango Topping.  Top with a drizzle of Spicy Avocado Sauce

Wheatless Wednesday – Tostadas with Halibut, Spicy Slaw and Avocado Crema

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Can we talk about the Avocado Crema? You have already heard that we should be eating avocados every day due to their health benefits. So here goes…  You’re either an avocado lover or a hater, most people don’t seem to be happily ambivalent.  I am a total Lover and could eat this Avocado Crema all by itself. I mean, someone has to taste it… So delicious!  And it’s a healthy topping for practically anything, tacos, salads, roasted veggies….  Simple and just a few ingredients, including water. and it’s super easy to make in about a minute whizzed in a blender or food processor. Healthy, happy, looking forward to leftovers…Just saying.

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The slaw – my husband won’t come anywhere near the crema or anything else creamy, so this slaw is Jeff approved, crisp and spicy, tossed with olive oil, herbs and spices. I have gotten used to his peccadilloes regarding food and actually think that this is a more crowd friendly slaw as it is dairy free.  If you are setting up a taco bar, even vegan friends can participate, mixing the spicy slaw with the garlicky black beans, and if you use a dairy free yogurt, the avocado crema is just divine.  A little Sriracha on the side is also not a bad idea.  If you don’t like spicy jalapenos, substitute red bell pepper.  If you like it extra spicy, use more jalapeno or an even hotter variety of pepper.

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The beans – I add garlicky black beans to my tostada bar because I love the salty richness and extra boost of protein and all the lovely vitamins and minerals that they provide. They also give non-fish eaters something other than vegetables to put onto their plate.  You could also prepare rice if you wish.

TIPS: When buying seafood, check out Seafood Watch who makes recommendations of what fish and shellfish are  ‘healthy’ to eat and which are farmed or caught in a way that doesn’t harm you or the environment.  I used live caught California halibut which is considered by Seafood Watch to be a “Best Choice” option.

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AVOCADO CREMA

1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt more, to taste)
1/4-1/2  cup water (to desired consistency)

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  • Halve and pit the avocado and peel or spoon the flesh into a food processor or blender.

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  • Add the rest of the ingredients and blend just until smooth. Add more water for a more fluid consistency. You can add a pinch of cumin as an option.  I didn’t do so for this dish because I had already used cumin in other dishes.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve thick with a spoon or thinner like a dressing in a container with a pour spout. Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

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SPICY SLAW

2 cups shredded cabbage (green, red or savoy)
1 red jalapeno chili, seeded and diced
3 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbs. minced red onion
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tsp fresh lime zest
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

  •  Combine all ingredients and toss until combined.  Refrigerate up to several hours before serving.

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TOSTADAS WITH HALIBUT AND BLACK BEANS

1 lb. halibut or other firm-fleshed white fish fillet, skin removed
2 Tbsn olive oil
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sugar, honey or agave nectar (or to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 tsp pepper
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 can black beans, drained
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsn olive oil
8 corn tortillas

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  • Combine olive oil, lime juice, sugar and spices in a small bowl.

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  • Wash and dry halibut filets.  Cut them into smaller pieces, if desired, and place on an oiled baking dish. Pour marinade over the top of the fish and let sit at least 20 minutes.  Turn the filets several times to coat both sides.

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  • While the fish is marinating, heat the beans in a small stock pot with the garlic and olive oil. Remove from heat until ready to serve.

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  • Heat tortillas in a covered cast iron or heavy pan on low until heated through,  You can flip by quarters and thirds so the bottom doesn’t get too hard. Remove from heat and keep covered until ready to serve.  If you like crispy tostadas, fry each one in oil on both sides a few minutes until crispy and let drain on papertowels.

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  • Broil fish 3- 4 minutes in top third of oven. Turn fish and broil another 3 to 4 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.  Cover until ready to serve.

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Tostadas with Halibut, Spicy Slaw & Avocado Crema

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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AVOCADO CREMA

1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp cumin(optional)
1/2 tsp. salt more, to taste)
1/4 – 1/2 cup water (depending on desired consistency)

  • Halve and pit the avocado and peel or spoon the flesh into a food processor or blender.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and blend just until smooth. Add more water for a more fluid consistency.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl.  Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

SPICY SLAW

2 cups shredded cabbage (green, red or savoy)
1 red jalapeno chili, seeded and diced
3 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbs. minced red onion
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tsp fresh lime zest
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

  •  Combine all ingredients and toss until combined.  Refrigerate up to several hours before serving.

 

TOSTADAS WITH HALIBUT

1 lb. halibut or other firm-fleshed white fish fillet, skin removed
2 Tbsn olive oil
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sugar, honey or agave nectar (or to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 tsp pepper
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

8 corn tortillas

  • Combine olive oil, lime juice, sugar and spices in a small bowl.
  • Wash and dry halibut filets.  Cut them into smaller pieces, if desired, and place on an oiled baking dish.
  • Pour marinade over the top of the fish and let sit at least 20 minutes.  Turn the filets several times to coat both sides.
  • Heat tortillas in a covered cast iron or heavy pan on low until heated through,  You can flip by quarters and thirds so the bottom doesn’t get too hard.  If you like crispy tostadas, fry each one in oil on both sides a few minutes until crispy and let drain on papertowels.
  • Broil 3- 4 minutes.
  • Turn fish and broil another 3 to 4 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.  Cover until ready to serve.

Mexican Trio – Fish Tacos, Chile Rellenos & Black Bean and Mango Salad with Avocado Ranch

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Monday is Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican celebration which many Americans have wholeheartedly adopted. I mean who’s going to pass up an opportunity to legitimately drink margaritas and salsa dance on a Monday? (Stay tuned, I promise a recipe for the World’s Best Margaritas and easy ‘homemade’ tortilla chips on Friday). I have always focused on the wonderful Mexican food and cervezas without knowing much about the holiday itself, other than knowing cinco de Mayo means fifth of May in Spanish. It is a celebration of the Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, in which the Mexican military was victorious over the French in 1862. The victory at Puebla became a symbol of Mexican resistance to foreign domination.  Read more at Enclyopaedia Britannica.

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In honor of this Mexican holiday, I am presenting a trio of Mexican goodies to include in your celebration next week. They are all wheat free,  gluten free, and vegetarian, with the exception of the fish tacos. The fish tacos are made with roasted halibut, spiced with ancho chili, garlic and cumin, then topped with a  creamy, lime coleslaw.   If you don’t like creamy dressings, you can omit the sour cream/yogurt and mayo and substitute olive or avocado oil and vinegar for a fresh, zesty coleslaw.  My coleslaw turned out a glorious pink color.  The more red cabbage you use, the darker purple it will get.  I try to buy fresh fish that is live caught (rather than farmed) and sustainably fished.  Good choices are mahi mahi and halibut but any mild, white fish will work. Seafood Watch is a good source of information on selecting sustainable seafood.

I (with the direction able assistance of my son, Eric) made corn tortillas for the first time and it wasn’t a difficult as I thought it was going to be.  If you don’t want to go to the trouble, you can find many very good store bought tortillas that are labeled organic (meaning non GMO). My favorites are organic, whole grain Taco Sliders by Mi Rancho.  They are also the perfect size (4 1/2 inch round) for taco appetizers or mini quesadillas.

I fondly remember my Mom making chili rellenos when I was a kid, using canned chilis, stuffed with cheese, dipped in batter and fried.  Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?  This updated version includes fresh poblano peppers, not fried but roasted and stuffed with jalapenos and various cheeses topped with fresh tomatoes, cilantro and lime.   We rounded out the meal with a Black Bean and Mango salad tossed with a dollap of homemade  avocado ranch dressing. Yum!

Spicy Fish Tacos

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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2 pounds halibut(or other mild white fish), skinned, and cut into 4 to 6 pieces
3 Tbsn chili powder
1 teaspoon(s) ground cumin
1/2  tsp cayenne pepper(or more to taste)
1 clove garlic, minced or 1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsn lime juice
2 Tbsn olive oil
1 teaspoon(s) salt
 
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  • Combine chili powder, cayenne, cumin, garlic lime juice, oil and salt in a gallon zip lock baggie and shake to combine.
  • Add fish and allow it to marinate for 20 minutes or so.

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  • When ready, broil fish for 4 or 5 minutes per side, until fish flakes easily. (fish can also be cooked on the grill)
  • Break into pieces for serving, if desired.

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Coleslaw

3 cups red or green cabbage, finely shredded
2 Tbsn fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 jalapeno
1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp lime zest
2 Tbsn lime juice
1 tsp sugar
2/3 tsp salt
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  • Combine all ingredients, except cabbage, jalapeno and cilantro, in a small bowl and stir until creamy.

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  • While wearing gloves, seed and mince jalapeno and add to cabbage and cilantro.

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  • Add creamy mixture to cabbage mixture and toss to combine.

Tortillas

If you are using pre-made tortillas, you can wrap stacks of 10 or 12 in damp paper towels and heat them in the microwave for 30 seconds or so.  Or wrap them in foil and heat them in a 375 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.  Wrap them in a clean towel to keep warm.  If you are feeling industrious and want to make them yourself, here is how:

2 1/2 cups masa
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 tsp salt
 
 
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  • Combine all ingredients and form into a ball, kneading until it’s smooth.  It should be firm not sticky. It will not be elastic like a four dough.  Add water if it doesn’t form a ball or masa if it’s too sticky;.
  • For each tortilla, form a golf sized ball of dough and place it between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper and roll it into a flat circle with a rolling pin.  You can free form it or use an inverted  bowl as a ‘cookie cutter’.  A golf sized ball will yield a 5 or 6 inch tortilla.
 
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  • Cook tortillas in a dry (ungreased/ heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, for 1 or 2 minutes on each side over medium heat until there are several small brown spots.  Stack them as they are done and cover with foil or a clean dish towel.
 
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Chiles Rellenos

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

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6 poblano peppers
1/2 small onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 1/2 cups shredded cheeses (jack, pepper jack, cheddar, parmigiano)
2 tablespoon(s) chopped cilantro
Salt

1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoon(s) chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon(s) freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper

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  • Roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame or under a broiler, turning occasionally, until they are charred all over.
  • Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool.  Peel. The skins will come off easily

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  • Using a small, sharp knife, make a small lengthwise slit in each one, near the stem end and carefully remove the core and seeds, leaving the stem on if possible.  If you accidently cut it off, you can add it back after the pepper has been stuffed.

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  •  Sauté the onion, garlic and jalapeño over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Let cool, then add the cheese and chopped cilantro.
  • Carefully stuff the cheese filling into the poblanos and press the poblanos closed.

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  • Place the stuffed poblanos on a baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  • Combine tomatoe, cilantro, lime and salt in a small bowl.
  • Serve chile rellenos with tomato garnish.

 

Black Bean and Mango Salad with Avocado Ranch

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1 head romaine
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup fresh mango, diced
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
 
  • Chop romaine and top with beans, tomatoes, mango and avocado.
  • Dress with avocado ranch.

Avocado Ranch

1 ripe avocado
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley or cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsn apple cider or white vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally when needed. Thin with water if desired.

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