Fresh guacamole and salsa to munch on with a frosty Margarita starters for Cinco de Mayo, but we celebrated “Feliz cuatro de mayo”. A nice change from the usual Baja style fish taco, battered, fried and adorned with a tangy slaw and chipotle crema this adapted version from The Border Cookbook has a fresh shredded romaine, diced tomato, and lemon juice filling as well as a simple salsa del Norte. The recipe suggests grilling 2-2 1/2 pounds of firm white fish fillets or steaks such as swordfish, snapper or sea bass for 4-5 dinner guests. I had Mahi-mahi, which I started on the grill griddle and finished, on the grated side of the grill once the fish firmed up enough to flip without falling apart. Broiling the fish is another option, but I like the smoky flavor from the grill.
About 2 cups of shredded romaine and 2 small tomatoes, chopped, 3 tablespoons of diced red onion, and 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced are dressed with lime juice from 1/2 a lime. This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated, but I suggest topping the tomatoes, onions etc. with the shredded lettuce and tossing just before serving.
Squeeze the juice of 2 limes over the fish, rub with EVOO and 2 cloves of minced garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill over hot coals 4 minutes per side per inch of thickness. Slice or chop into bite-sized pieces, transfer to a bowl and gently toss with just enough salsa to moisten the fish. Serve with grilled tortillas, top with the fresh salad, additional salsa and sliced fresh jalapenos and lemon wedges. Santa Maria style beans perfect with the tacos.
A note for the salsa ~ I was in a hurry once and didn’t bother roasting the tomatoes and it was still a pretty good salsa and to make things easier, you can use a can of fire roasted tomatoes along with the fresh. The tomatoes can be done on a grill griddle as well, even better with the added smoky flavor.
Salsa Del Norte ~ have plenty of fresh tortilla chips to serve as an appetizer.
Salsa del Norte
from The Border Cookbook
- 1 1/2 lbs. whole Roma or Italian plum tomatoes, unpeeled
- 1/2 medium onion, chunky pieces
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2-3 fresh jalapeño peppers, thick slices
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2-3 tablespoons vinegar, cider or cane (fresh lime juice is better)
- pinch of sugar (optional)
Heat broiler. Place tomatoes on a small baking sheet lined with foil. Broil 15-18 minutes, turning a couple of times until soft and skins split. There should be some dark spots. Let the tomatoes cool a bit. Put the whole tomatoes in a blender with the rest of the ingredients (one pepper at a time) and purée. Serve warm or refrigerate for later use.