After the completely gluttonous past two days, we decided to go with something lighter for dinner last night, so I pulled out Rachael Ray’s Margarita fish soft tacos. I have historically hated fish, so this recipe is not only light, but also somewhat adventurous for me. I’ve established that I like tilapia (or “crap fish,” as my friend calls it, because it has no taste), but mahi mahi I wasn’t sure about. I’ve heard that it is one of the more “neutral” fish for people who don’t like fish. In this recipe, it’s also masked by a ton of spices and a homemade salsa, so it can’t be too bad, right?
I bought frozen mahi mahi at Trader Joe’s for this venture. So first, the marinade. Tequila, lime zest and lime juice, vegetable oil, Old Bay seasoning and chili powder. Mix and let the fish chill out for a while.
Next, prepare the salsa. I made half the portion of RR’s original recipe, based on reviews that said it was way too much for the portion of fish. But some ingredients I decided not to half, like the onion, jalapeno and garlic. Those will be sauteed first. Next, add in 5 chopped tomatillos and cook until all have softened.
Add to this cumin, salt and pepper, then toss veggies into a food processor along with the juice and zest from half a lemon, a teaspoon of honey and half a ripe avocado. Pulse into the texture resembles a thick salsa. Then set aside to cool – the flavors come out stronger as it cools.
Next, cook the mahi mahi. RR recommends using an outdoor grill, but we used a skillet on the stove and it was fine. Cook the fish for about three minutes on each side. Meanwhile, char corn or flour tortillas over an open flame on the stove, or heat in a dry skillet.
Serve inside a tortilla and top fish with salsa and shredded cabbage. Serve, savor, enjoy.
*A note about the salsa. It’s a very mild, cool, refreshing salsa. This would be a nice dish on a hot summer day. If you’d like a spicier salsa, I’d recommend not seeding the jalapeno. You might even use two jalapenos, or add some kind of Tabasco or chili sauce.
2 ounces tequila
1 lime, zested and juiced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon seafood seasoning (recommended: Old Bay – recipe follows*)
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 (6-8 oz) portions mahi mahi or halibut fillets
1 small to medium red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 tomatillos, peeled and coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 ripe avocado, halved, seeded and flesh removed
8 soft flour tortillas
1/2 small white or red cabbage, shredded
In a small bowl, combine the tequila with the lime zest and juice, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, seafood seasoning, and chili powder. Coat the fish in the dressing.
Heat medium skillet with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, jalapeno and garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes or until the mixture begins to soften, then add the coarsely chopped tomatillos. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and stir in the cumin. Cook until the tomatillos soften, about 6 to 7 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Carefully add the sauce to a food processor with the lemon zest and juice, honey and avocado. Process until it becomes a thick salsa. Transfer to a bowl and reserve.
Heat an outdoor grill or skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Add the fish and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Char the soft tacos over an open flame on a stove burner or grill to soften and char. Serve the fish with tortillas alongside and top the fish with cabbage and salsa as you eat.
*A note on Old Bay Seasoning: I had a hard time finding it in the store. If you also have trouble, or just plain don’t feel like adding another spice mix to your pantry (I wouldn’t blame you!), you can make your own with this recipe.
1 tablespoon ground bay leaves
2 teaspoons celery salt
1-1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Store in an airtight container and store in a cool place. Use with seafood or chicken. Makes about 1/4 cup.