Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fish Tacos- Updated

This is an updated version of fish tacos. 
It's a little more appropriate for the summer since it involves grilling instead of the steaming version in the original recipe. 

The fish has also been made a little more flavorful. 
That's one really nice thing about tilapia: it soaks up whatever flavor you give it. It's sort of like a blank canvas. 

And the black beans...? Well, those pretty much remain the same. 
But they're good enough as a side any time, though I could sometimes just eat black beans as a main and supplement with other things like salsa and some good tortilla chips.
I also think they'd be good with a fried egg (sort of semi-huevos rancheros). 

Fish Tacos and Black Beans
Yield: 6 servings

1 pound dried black beans
7 cloves garlic, divided
6 cups water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (divided)
2 cups roughly chopped cilantro leaves, stems reserved (divided)
2 pounds fresh tilapia fillets
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (see note)
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and black pepper to taste

12 six-inch corn or flour tortillas
1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 medium tomato, diced
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup sour cream (optional)
1 cup shredded cheese; Monterey jack, cheddar or Mexican blend (optional)
3 limes, quartered lengthwise

Prepare the black beans 2 to 3 hours ahead of the fish. Rinse black beans and sort, removing any small pebbles or particles. Peel and mince 3 garlic cloves. Place rinsed beans, minced garlic, water, olive oil, onion and salt in a 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid. If desired, add 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Lay cilantro stems over beans if desired. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer beans, stirring gently a few times. Simmer beans about two hours, until the beans are soft and most of the water has been absorbed. Test for doneness after an hour, then check every fifteen minutes.

Remove pot from heat. Remove cilantro stems. Using a potato masher or the back of a large spoon, partially mash and stir the beans. Cover until ready to serve. The beans will thicken as they sit. 

When the beans are nearly ready, arrange tilapia fillets in a single layer in a shallow pan or tray. Peel and mince remaining 4 cloves garlic. In a small bowl, combine garlic, soy sauce, jalapeno and cayenne pepper. Pour over fish and turn to coat. Refrigerate fillets for 20 minutes, turning once or twice in the marinade

Prepare to grill fillets. Heat grate over medium heat. When the grate is hot, brush with vegetable oil and place fillets on grill. Cook about 5 minutes on one side, the flip the fillets. Grill about 2 minutes on the other side and check for doneness (continue cooking as necessary). The fillets should be opaque and will flake easily when done.

Remove fillets to a plate. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Using a fork, break fillets into large flakes. Warm the tortillas

Assemble the tacos with fish on the bottom. Add shredded cabbage, sliced onion, tomatoes, avocado slices, sour cream and cheeses in any combination desired. Squeeze with lime juice and eat. 

Remove jalapeno seeds and ribs for a milder marinade. 

Photo by David Carson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
(So, I completely forgot to take a photo until the tacos had been completely demolished. Too late... but it can be blamed both on negligence and lunch time.)

As to the recipe, it's an update of my fish taco recipe from April of 2011, and was part of an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch by Pat Eby published on August 1, 2012. 


  1. Great article and the fish tacos look great.
    We made them before and I am gonna be happy to try the new grilled version. Nice picture of you and the tacos. The tacos are much better looking in color. The other picture looks good in color and in black and white.Love this blog, looking at it keeps me from doing my work.

    Music Lover!

  2. The seasoning on the fish is really, really good.

  3. Loved to see you in the newspaper!