Tag Archives: Guacamole

Beer-Batter Fried Fish Tacos with Kimchi and Guacamole

1- Fried Fish-Kimchi-Guacamole TacoBeer-batter fried Fish Taco with Kimchi and Guacamole

After taking the Culinary Techniques course at the International Culinary Center, I have been having serious food cravings any meal that is not doused in a rich sauce or steeped in butter or that has the classic French flavor profile.  Looking at the jar of kimchi in my refrigerator from the demo last week with Kheedim of Mama Oh’s Premium Kimchee, my brain decided it was time to try to reverse-engineer the Fish Tacos from ABV (by the owners of Vinyl Wines and Earl’s Beer and Cheese).  Since its opening in January, ABV has become a popular gathering spot for Upper-Upper East Side folks (i.e., those living in the 90s and above) due to its extensive beverage list and unique dishes like the Tartare Pizza and Charred Strawberry Sorbet.

ABV

I was completely hooked from the very first bite I had of this dish with all the different layers of tastes and textures.  A slab of delicate, flaky fish surrounded by a hot, crisp crust lies on a base of spicy-sour kimchi and cool, creamy guacamole all held together by a soft, corn tortilla.  It is topped with a last-minute squeeze of lime, an extra sprinkle of cilantro and a few crumbles of queso fresco to give it an extra pop of freshness and tanginess.  This was my initial attempt at making this recipe, and I think I managed to capture most of the elements that appear in the dish at the restaurant.

ABV’s Fish Taco

I’ve marked this down as a Weeknight Supper option, as, with a jar of kimchi on hand, it really doesn’t take that long to pull this meal together.  I know that the ideal spot for eating this is on a beach, cold beverage in hand and ocean breezes wafting by.  Hopefully, that scenario is in your near future, especially with how hot it has been lately, but if it isn’t, at least these tacos might help keep things cool and refreshing.

Beer-Batter Fried Fish Tacos with Kimchi and Guacamole

Prep Time: 30-45 minutes

Serving Size: 4 appetizer portions (one taco per person) or 2 meal-sized portions (two tacos per person)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Kimchi, chopped

1 Avocado

1/2 Jalapeno pepper, minced

1 Tbsp White Onion, finely chopped

1 Tbsp Cilantro, finely chopped

Zest of 1 Lime

Juice of 1 Lime

1 pinch ground Cumin

1 pinch ground Coriander

1 pinch Black Pepper

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 cup Flour

1 pinch Salt

1/2 cup Beer (doesn’t have to be the highest quality)

1 whole Red Snapper (or other white fish), about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds OR

1 to 1 1/2 pounds Red Snapper fillets

Corn or Sunflower oil for frying

4 large White Corn Tortillas (I used ones from Hot Bread Kitchen)

Queso Fresco

12-16 whole Cilantro leaves

4 Lime wedges

Assembly:

Kimchi

Place the chopped Kimchi in a serving bowl and set it aside until ready to put together the tacos.

Guacamole

Cut open the avocados and remove the pit.  Scoop out the green interior and place it in a bowl.  Mash it with a fork until there are no big chunks.  This version of guacamole should be fairly smooth in texture.  Add chopped jalapeno, onion, cilantro, and lime zest.  Stir to combine.  Pour in lime juice, cumin, coriander, pepper, and salt and mix together thoroughly.  Taste and adjust for seasoning.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to put together tacos.

Ingredients for Beer Batter

Put 1/2 cup flour into a shallow bowl with a pinch of salt.  While stirring with a whisk, pour in 1/2 cup of beer and mix together until the ingredients are all combined completely and there are no lumps of flour.  It should resemble the batter for thin pancakes.  Let this sit for a few minutes while preparing the fish.

Red Snapper

I chose to use red snapper for this dish, but any white fish that won’t fall apart when fried would work.  I went by the guidelines at the fish counter at Whole Foods, truthfully, as I still find it confusing to figure out which is a “good fish” to buy versus a “bad fish,” environmentally speaking.  Feeling adventurous based upon my exploits in culinary class, I decided to buy a whole one and practice on it.  Needless to say, it is not really possible to take pictures while cutting up a fish, so I’ll have to let you imagine that I did much neater job of this task than was the actual reality.

Red Snapper Fillets

In the end, I had several large pieces.  To test the recipe, I cut a couple of them into long strips and left the others as they were.  I’m still not sure which size I prefer for this dish.  They both fry up really quickly and seem to hold onto their texture while maintaining a nicely crisp exterior coating.

Beer Batter

Put 1/2 inch of Canola or Sunflower oil into a heavy frying pan and turn it to a medium-high heat.  This is a great excuse to pull out the cast iron skillet as it will hold the heat better than other pans, which is why it is often recommended in fried chicken recipes.  While the oil is heating, prepare the fish.  Pour the other 1/2 cup flour onto a plate or into a shallow bowl.  Cover each piece of fish in the flour and shake off the excess.  Dip each piece of fish into the beer batter.  Shake off the excess and put it on a clean plate or cutting board while you check to see if the oil has reached the right temperature for frying.

Frying Fish

Drop a bit of batter into the oil.  If it sizzles immediately and begins to turn golden on contact, it is ready.  Gently place several pieces of fish in the pan, making sure not to crowd them together as they need room to cook.  Fry about 3-4 minutes on the first side, until golden, turn it over and cook another 3 minutes on the second side.  Remove fish from the pan and dry on paper towel.  You may have to cook the fish in a few batches.

Prepping Tacos

Set up the ingredients and begin to construct your tacos.  Begin by slathering some guacamole on a corn tortilla base.  Then spoon some of the chopped kimchi.  Gently lay a piece of the fried fish on top of the kimchi.  Sprinkle a few whole cilantro leaves plus a couple of large pinches of crumbled queso freso on top of the whole thing.  Serve on a large plate, accompanied by lime wedges.  These should be eaten while the fish is still warm to hot so that you get the right balance of hot and cold, crunchy and sour, and creamy and tangy.

Buon appetito!

Leftovers, Yum! – Seven Layer Dip

Some of the best inspiration can come from foraging in your own refrigerator or cupboards or freezer. Leftovers, fresh or pre-cooked, can, with a few tweaks, be the basis of the next day’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, as in this Seven Layer Dip concoction.  For a variation on the Fork Tacos recipe posted previously, here’s a way to use up the remaining items, or, the dish could start out this way, depending upon your choice. Again, this is a dish that you could prepare with your child/ren, having them help count the layers as they are added to total the number 7.

It is also a good party dish as it can go a long way and, served in a glass baking dish, it adds lots of color to a spread. The key to this dish as well as the recipe given earlier is the flexibility that they provide, for family dinner, or even for entertaining. Both meals are relatively easy to prepare ahead so that you can enjoy your guests’ company without having to constantly be in the kitchen.

Serve this with scrambled eggs, and voilà! It is the centerpiece of a hearty Tex-Mex-themed brunch. If doing this variation, softened flour tortillas instead of chips are recommended as accompaniments. You can also create breakfast burritos from the same ingredients.

This almost makes you want to put a plate aside to have leftovers!

Seven Layer Dip

Prep Time: About an hour to put everything together, with preparing Pico de Gallo and Guacamole (Prepare Pico several hours ahead and refrigerate, covered, to allow flavors to meld)
Ingredients:
Layer 1 – Refried Beans, warmed up
Layer 2 –
Meat (if using), warmed up
Layer 3 –
Cheese (should melt due to the to warm layers below)
Layer 4 –
A mixture of peppers, scallions and lettuce
Layer 5 –
Guacamole (see Recipe below)
Layer 6 –
Pico de Gallo (see Recipe below)
Layer 7 –
Sour cream garnished with black olives
Assembly:
Find a glass baking dish, any size depending upon the number of people you are planning to serve and/or how many leftovers you have. Prepare the meat, beans, cheese, peppers, olives, green onions as indicated above in the Fork Tacos recipe, or pull out the extras that were made for a previous meal. Have tortilla chips on hand for serving.

It should be possible to see each of the layers clearly in the bowl when the dish is finished. Prepare the first 3 layers and cover with plastic wrap until closer to serving time. Add the rest of the layers up to the last layer and cover just as you are expecting the first guests to arrive.

Just prior to serving, add the last layer. This will keep the warm part warm, the vegetables crisp and crunchy, and the sour cream and Guacamole bright and fresh. To serve, take a large serving spoon and cut through the layers so that some of each flavor is put on the plate. Use tortilla chips as utensils to eat dip.

Guacamole and Pico de Gallo


Pico de Gallo

1 box cherry or grape tomatoes, deseeded and chopped (or 1 lb. vine-ripened)
1/2 small Red Onion, minced
1 to 1/2 Lime (juice of)
1/2 tsp. of Salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
1/2 tsp. ground Coriander
1/2 tsp. ground Cumin
1 medium Jalapeño, minced and de-seeded
1-2 Tbsp chopped, fresh Cilantro* (fresh Coriander if outside the United States)
Tabasco® sauce (very optional)

Using a non-reactive (i.e., non-metal) bowl, mix together tomatoes, onion, lime juice, spices, and jalapeño. Add cilantro and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for several hours, stirring occasionally to blend flavors. Taste and adjust spices, lime juice, and cilantro to get the balance that suits your palate.

Although tempting, extra salt should not be added. It is very easy to over-salt this dish. Tasting the Pico with the aid of a tortilla chip will show why. The salt on the chip will add what is needed.

If you’d like some extra kick, add a few drops of Tabasco® sauce. Again, the spiciness will grow stronger as this dish sits. If making guacamole (see below), reserve some of the Pico and the juice that develops prior to adding the Tabasco®.

Guacamole

2-3 ripe Avocados
3-4 Tbsp Pico de Gallo, plus accumulated liquid/juice (see above recipe)
Salt
Pepper
Ground Coriander
Ground Cumin
Chopped, fresh Cilantro
Lime juice, as needed

Skin, pit and mash the avocados in a large, non-reactive (i.e., non-metal) bowl.   Fold in reserved Pico de Gallo, along with a couple of tsp. of its accumulated liquid/juice.  The mixture should be smooth with some lumps.  Adjust seasonings as needed, to suit your tastes, and add extra lime juice, if desired.  If preferred, you can mash one avocado until creamy and cut the other one into small chunks for a mix of textures or make both creamy.

*Kitchen Witch Tip:

Cilantro/Fresh Coriander

Along the way, others have shown me some of their cooking secrets. Here’s one I’d like to share with you. It isn’t just the leaves of the cilantro that have flavor. Finely chop the stems in addition to the leaves to add extra flavor to dishes that call for this herb. You’ll definitely notice the taste difference!

Buon appetito!