09 June 2011

west coast wednesday

Unless you live in the North Pole, you probably noticed that it was hot out yesterday.  Brutally hot out, sweltering even.  On days like that, when the city streets are steaming and the soles of your shoes melt to the subway platform, the last thing you want is a hot meal.  And after spending an hour trapped between sweaty people under the East River (thanks Brooklyn bound L train,) coming home to a super sweaty and tired bike messenger husband does not inspire one to slave over the stove.  But even the coolest, freshest meal sometimes requires a bit of heat (even though the raw foodies would beg to differ. Weirdos)  And since the hubby was soaking in an ice bath, the supper was left to me and I decided to look to the west.
the hubby gorging at rockaway taco
 I've never been to California but in my mind, fish tacos are a decidedly SoCal fare.  I suppose the closest I've had to what I imagine to be the real thing are the light and fresh stuffed tortillas at Rockaway Taco.  In an attempt to recreate these tasty beachside bites I wanted to use the freshest ingredients possible.  Unfortunately, the stalled subway kind of crankified me and left me too tired to make everything from scratch so I ended up taking a few short cuts... don't be mad. 

While our side dish of saffron rice with black beans simmered, I got started on the main course.  After towel-drying the absolutely beautiful swai fillets, I cut them into big chunks and gave them a quick batter dip with just a brush of egg and a dusting of a flour/chipotle/s&p coating.  Then, I tossed them in the sizzling cast iron skillet.  But this pan fry was different; instead of using the standard veggie or olive oil, I broke out my new favorite for summer frying - avocado oil!  It's got basically the same properties and fat contents as a quality olive oil, but it has the creamy freshness of a ripe avocado plus it can take the heat of the summer and the stove without smoking up the joint.   {sidenote: I've seriously been using avocado oil for everything since I randomly found it in the gourmet section of the Home Goods store.  It's perfect for summer salad dressings, cold pasta dishes, little toastie picnic breads, and of course, Mexican food!} 

While the fish was crisping I topped a few corn tortillas with queso fresco and warmed them on the pizza stone in the oven and then took a break to stand in front of the fan to cool off.  After a few flips to brown both sides, the fish was ready and as it cooled and degreased on a plate, I gave it a good squirt of lime juice while I topped the cheesy totrtillas with a barely there spread of super spicy Brooklyn salsa.  Next came a layering of shredded lettuce, fresh chopped cilantro from my "garden", and a few diced onions.  On top of that, I placed three pieces of perfectly fried fish and topped it all off with fresh salsa, a slice of avocado, a tiny dollop of sour cream and some extra heat in the form of Sriracha.  Two a piece with a scoop of rice and beans on the side and perfecto!  I had created the perfect warm weather supper.  How delicioso does that look?

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that this entire day was spent in a white dress.  I worked two jobs, went grocery shopping, got stranded on the subway, cooked dinner and then ate it, all while wearing a white dress.  And ready for this?  Still spotless!!!  Must be a miracle because despite all of that, my dress remained clean and I managed to remain cute (see Mom, I told you the outfit was summertime perfection!)

summertime sass in the library

*so this post doesn't include an actual recipe, more so ingredients and the steps I took to make our delicious supper.  tacos are simple and can be prepared in a billion different ways, so use this posting as a tutorial to guide you through your own fiesta prep!

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