by Judy Kim
Beer Battered Fish Tacos with Jalapeño Crema
Yield: 4 servings
After having fish tacos in Southern California, I've had this hankering to duplicate these simple but insanely delicious tacos at home. For some reason it seems nearly impossible to get a good fish taco on the East Coast that is as light, crispy and well-seasoned. Anyone who's been to Rubio's knows what I mean. I can't put my finger on it, but I suspect it has a lot to do with using a good tortilla (Highly suggest a taste test of the tortilla selection at your local bodega until you find the one you love.) I know it's customary for fish tacos to be paired with corn tortillas, but I love a flour tortilla. But feel free to use whichever you prefer. Getting back to the fish, I mentioned it being well seasoned, which is often not the case in a lot of restaurants. So I find it important to season the fish first to give it a chance to have flavor throughout the fish, not just in the batter.
Not being a beer drinker, I feel like I need to help out my fellow friends on a few things I learned the hard way. PSA: IPA is the one type of beer you shouldn't use when making fish tacos. It has a high alcohol content and a strong hoppy flavor that is not ideal. Of course that was the beer I used in my first experiment, so my first batch tasted a little bitter. But after a fair amount of research - aka me chatting up 5 guys in my office about beer - discovered that good old fashioned American beer, cheap beer specifically is the best for this situation. They suggested Budweiser and it worked great.
2 pounds mahi mahi, cut into 16 slices
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup American lager beer
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 lime, juiced and additional wedges for garnish
1/4 cup minced pickled jalapeños
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup canola oil
8 small flour tortillas
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 avocado, sliced
3 radishes, sliced finely with mandoline
In a large mixing bowl, season mahi mahi with salt and set aside. Meanwhile prepare batter for fish. In a large mixing bowl add flour, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, egg and beer. Stir together till well mixed. Set aside at room temperature.
In a small mixing bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, lime zest, lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, jalapeños and 1/4 cup cilantro. Keep in fridge until ready for serving.
In a large pot, preheat oil to 350°F. Dip fish into the batter and allow excess batter to drip off before adding to the oil. Fry fish, flip over carefully to ensure it is evenly browned about 4 to 5 minutes total. Place on paper towel lined plate and season with salt immediately.
One by one place tortillas in a dry skillet on low heat, no oil necessary, just until they soften and warm through. Keep tortillas warm by wrapping them in a clean kitchen towel.
Serve with jalapeño crema and garnish with cabbage, avocado, radishes, cilantro and wedges of lime.