I’m so excited that it’s time to reveal my Secret Recipe Club June assignment. I love participating with this diverse group of food bloggers. Not only has it introduced me to some very interesting people but, it has definitely widened the aperture of my food lens. This month I was assigned to the blog Cooking Whims. As I perused the site, I smiled and felt a connection with Megan when I read her claim on her About Me page: “I wouldn’t call myself a chef. I’m no Julia Child.” Ironically, I have almost the exact verbiage on my page.
The Cooking Whims blog is Megan’s journey through recipes she has torn out of magazines or found in books. She challenges herself to cook them and she manages to take beautiful photos along the way. As I scoured her recipe archives, I ear-marked a handful dishes for my every-growing “To Make” lists. Her Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Burgers is on my summer “To Grill“ list. The Pumpkin Nutella Bread will be the perfect celebration of the fall harvest and, seriously, who could turn down her Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies, for any occasion!
Since I’m in full summer mode, I was searching for a light, easy dish I could throw together and serve to my kids. The Fish Tacos w/Spicy Tomato Cucumber Salsa sounded ideal. Not only have my kids discovered a new love for Tilapia this year but, any dish containing the word “taco” ranks high– it’s fun for them to build their own tacos with all of the fixings as they love taking ownership of their meals (which happens very infrequently).
It’s important to note that any light white fish can be substituted for the Tilapia in these fish tacos. And, you can add any additional toppings you’d like. I immediately noticed that Megan didn’t included CHEESE in the mix. Cheese is REQUIRED as part of the taco building process in my family. And, although I suspected my kids would have no interest in the cabbage wedges, I kept this ingredient in the recipe as a mini challenge for us.
The marinade for the fish is very basic yet crucial to the flavor. Don’t substitute the lime juice. I added in a pinch more salt before I placed the fish in the Ziploc bag to soak up the flavor prior to cooking. There was no way we were going to cook the fish on the stove but rather, opted to grill outside since it was a picture perfect evening with clear skies and a cool breeze. Like most white flaky fishes, it cooked on the grill very quickly so make sure it’s the last piece of prep to your taco puzzle.
Tonight marked a new cooking first too. I made fresh salsa. It’s so easy to open a can of ready-made salsa but, I have to admit, there’s nothing tastier than fresh cherry tomatoes with fresh cucumbers and fresh onions tossed with lime juice, oil and salt. And, it’s so easy. Unless you don’t have 5 minutes to chop the veggies and about 30 minutes to chill the mixture in the fridge, definitely try the salsa recipe. I opted out of the chilli peppers knowing it could completely derail the salsa’s approval rating for my family. We’re not spicy people so, I needed to keep it basic.
Our favorite part of the meal was the “fixins” bar I set up in little bowls. I chose these toppings: steamed jasmine rice, fat free sour cream, shredded red cabbage (at the suggestion of Megan), shredded cheddar cheese and the homemade salsa. I also served two different kinds of tortilla shells – regular flour and whole wheat (for me). There’s no surprise the cheese ran out immediately. And, as expected, the shredded cabbage definitely peaked the curiosity of my son. I’m fairly certain its deep purple hue initially won him over. But, nonetheless, the meal received the coveted two thumbs up even with the cabbage!
The fish tacos were the perfect dish for our summer evening; prep time is minimal, and it’s light, tangy and tasty. For me, it’s very satisfying serving fish instead of defaulting to chicken or meat for the taco filler. And, best part, we’ve got left overs for tomorrow. Whether you use Tilapia or another flaky fish, this meal is yummy!
Be sure to check out Megan’s blog Cooking Whims, for a wide variety of tasty, easy-to-make recipes.
Fish Tacos w/Tomato Cucumber Salsa
adapted from Cooking Whims
- 1 1/2 cups chopped grape tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup chopped vidalia onions
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 (6 oz) tilapia fillets
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 (10 inch) tortilla shells
- sour cream
- shredded red cabbage
- shredded cheddar
- jasmine rice
1. To prepare tomato salsa, combine all of its 8 ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.
2. To prepare fish, combine 2 tbsp lime juice, 2 tsp olive oil, cumin, and garlic in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add fish to bag; seal. Marinate 15 minutes, turning once.
3. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium-high heat or, heat grill to medium. Remove fish from bag; discard marinade. Sprinkle both sides of fish with salt. Cook fish for 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Flake fish into large chunks.
4. Warm tacos in a 200 degree oven or toaster oven. Then make the tacos: spread the rice, fish, salsa, cabbage, sour cream and cheese onto warm tacos. Fold in half and devour immediately.