Hailing back to the days when one dollar tacos were offered at a local eatery every Tuesday, we dubbed the second weekday as the official taco night. Not a family given to routines, our habit was hit and miss. What did become customary was a fondness for fish tacos.
Taco Tuesday takes on a whole new meaning when homemade fish tacos are super infused with a marinade of tequila and then topped with fiery chipotle crema. The chain restaurant version can’t stand up to these flaky fish filled tortillas. Tilapia, a mild and versatile white fish, both inexpensive and widely available, works swimmingly as a sponge for the marinade. The fish’s moist flesh makes the perfect taco base to layer on crunchy vegis and smooth sauce.
My choice for fish tacos is grilled or sauteed meat, rather than deep fried. The batter and greasy coating detract from the fresh taste of the fish and vegetables. Pan frying in olive oil or butter, or a quick sear on the grill, beat the dunk in a vat of oil any day. I’d much rather have my fat in the crema which tastes better with some mayonnaise in it. The tangy emulsion seems to balance the heat from the chipotles and the zing from the lime. It would be easy to get carried away with the topping, but again you want to taste all the flavors.
I think the reason tacos can be assigned a weeknight status is their universal appeal. Like pizza, burgers and other American picks, we crave them more often than gourmet fare. The comfort of including these foods in our regular diet brings a sense of solace in our otherwise chaotic lives. By substituting fish for the more fat-laden meats we can slice off a few calories and enjoy them more often. By adding enticing ingredients that elevate them to more than mid-week menu we can create a new normal that gives us a reason to look forward to even a Tuesday night.
With warmer days and extended daylight we are able to eat outside and linger longer over easy flowing conversation. As the sun drops and the breeze picks up, we gather our plates and move inside. Like Lynyrd Skynyrd crooned, “Tuesday’s gone with the wind” but there’s another Tuesday around the corner and the promise of more of these intoxicating tacos.
Recipe for Tequila Tilapia Tacos