Monday, July 25, 2011

Sunday Night Detox: Fish Tacos & Agua Fresca

Why is it that every Sunday night, I feel the serious need for hydration and a detox and a light, easily digestible meal? Actually, I know the answer to that question. It's because we are in the full swing of summer which means festivals, barbeques, weddings, birthdays, concerts, parties, parties, parties outside all weekend long. This is what we live for. In the middle of February you ask yourself why you live in Chicago and suddenly an image of yourself on the patio at Sheffield's, El Cid 2, or Gene's Sausage Shop (pictured above and my favorite new rooftop of 2011), pops into your head. We live to dine and imbibe al fresco. Ok, perhaps that's a bit over stated but I don't think I'm alone when I say that when freezing at a bus stop, a little summertime imagining goes a long way.

Needless to say, I've found myself in serious detox mode come Sunday night. Plus, with a plethora of veggies from my CSA, that's usually about the time that I realize that I have 20 pounds of vegetables to contend with and a 60 hour work week ahead of me. Anybody with me?

Fish tacos have been the dish of the summer. If they're on the menu, I'm ordering them, and if the vegetables on hand at home can be finagled into a slaw, it's on. I had always been nervous of making fish at home, maybe because I've always lived in the Midwest and, until culinary school, believe those devious folk who say good seafood can't be made well in Chicago. It's not true! Any white fish (I've used tiilapia and halibut) lightly seasoned, dredged in corn meal and fried in a little vegetable oil is just about the easiest fresh prep there ever was. Plus this slaw is just about the easiest thing you'll ever grate. The recipe below is for 2, but you'll easily have leftovers and can double ingredients to your own taste.

Fish tacos
1 lb white fish (halibut, tilapia), cut into 1 inch chunks
3 limes, juiced
1 t dried oregano, cumin, onion powder, coriander
3/4 t Tabasco, divided
pinch of salt and pepper
8" flour tortillas

1 kohlrabi (or 1/2 head of cabbage), grated
1 red or orange pepper
1 medium zucchini, grated
1 clove garlic, pressed
dash of white wine vinegar
1 T dried oregano
pinch of salt and pepper

Place fish in a medium bowl. Sprinkle herbs, 1/2  t Tabasco, salt and pepper over fish and toss to coat. Pour over juice of 1 lime. Cover and refrigerate for 10-30 minutes.

Set oven to broil. Set whole pepper (red or orange) just below the broiler a top a small piece of foil. Blacken on all sides, then remove from oven. Allow the pepper to cool slightly, and then put it in a ziplock bag, sealed. Set aside. (Click here for help on how to roast and peel your own peppers).

Peel kohlrabi with a paring knife, just under the surface of the skin. Using a large sized grater, grate kohlrabi and zucchini in a medium sized bowl. Add juice of 2 limes. Once cooled, remove pepper from bag and cut out stem and seeds.Peel the skin off and cut into half inch strips. Toss with kohlrabi and zucchini, season with herbs, 1/2 t Tabasco salt and pepper to taste.

Top with cilantro, cheese, and additional Tabasco if desired.

If you are feeling hard pressed for more refreshment going into Monday morning, try your hand at this super easy agua fresca from last year's Bon Appetit. Best enjoyed on a balcony.

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