Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tilapia Tacos with Chipotle-Black Bean Slaw

Here's a recipe I wouldn't normally try. It sounded good, but it involves frying fish and that just didn't sound like something I'd want to do. Throwing caution to the wind and exercising my kitchen skillz, I went for it. And it rocked my freakin' world. Completely worth doing, no two ways about it.

The recipe calls for a coleslaw mix and coleslaw dressing but I opted to make each. I mean, coleslaw mix? Shred some cabbage and carrots and dice some onion. Done. The dressing? I downsized the quantity of the Sweet Restaurant Slaw dressing and it turned out very well. Those details are jotted down below.

Tilapia Tacos with Chipotle-Black Bean Slaw
adapted from Cooking Club of America
click to print

1/4 c mayonnaise
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp plus 2 teaspoons chipotle hot sauce, divided
16 oz coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage, shredded carrots and a couple tbsp diced onion)
1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained, rinsed
1/4 c coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 green onions, thinly sliced

4 (6-oz.) tilapia filets, halved lengthwise
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 eggs
2 c panko
1/2 c vegetable oil
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas

Combine mayonnaise, oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and 1 tablespoon of the hot sauce in bowl until blended.

Sweet Restaurant Slaw dressing + Chipotle Tabasco = Chipotle-Black Bean Slaw Dressing.

Toss in coleslaw mix, black beans, cilantro and green onions until coated.

Too paranoid there'd be too much dressing, I realized afterward that all of this could've happened in one bowl.

Sprinkle tilapia with salt and pepper.

Whisk eggs in medium bowl with remaining 2 teaspoons hot sauce; place panko in large shallow bowl.

Dip tilapia in egg mixture; roll in panko, pressing lightly to coat.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until hot.

Once it started looking like it might be getting warm, I threw a couple panko flakes in (the second photo) and waited for them to start frying before doing the fish.

Cook fish, in batches, 4 to 6 minutes or until crisp and golden brown, turning once and adjusting heat if necessary. Drain on rack or paper towels.

Heat tortillas in hot, dry skillet until warm and soft.

Serve tilapia in tortillas topped with coleslaw.

Concerned the crisp fish would tear the tortilla when consumption was underway, I broke it up a little.

Wow, wow, wow! I am so glad I made this recipe! I had doubts on my way home and thought I should just get chicken instead since fish is sooo hard to make. But these are a very nice change of pace and have me wondering why don't I have fish every day? The Chipotle Tabasco is extremely mild and is just a faint presence, which is a perfect reason to load the finished tacos up with it for added heat and flavor. The slaw didn't turn out soggy, which is fantastic. Next time I'd ease up on the sugar quantity with aim for a more zingy slaw.

The fish was simple to prepare; there was more than enough of the batter and coating which is always a plus to me. I can't stand when I run out in the middle of prep. The amount of oil called for was just perfect and worked well in a 12-inch skillet. The fish fried quickly and easily, the batter stuck like glue yielding nicely crisped fillets. For a very brief moment, the smell reminded me of Gorton's fish sticks. That's what we had sometimes when I was a kid (for a good ol' let's-eat-like-American-kids dinner) and it brought a smile to this face.

  • mayonnaise: $0.31
  • vegetable oil: $0.50, SWAG
  • sugar: $0.36
  • chipotle hot sauce: $0.67
  • cabbage and carrots: $1.69
  • black beans: $0.71
  • cilantro: $0.50
  • green onions: $0.25
  • tilapia filets: $5.70
  • eggs: $0.61
  • panko: $0.75
  • flour tortillas: $2.15
TOTAL: $14.20 or about $1.78 for each of 8 tacos.

Reheating the fish is simple for the leftovers. Throw a fillet or two on a baking sheet and pop it in the oven briefly until warmed through. Heat a tortilla or two, add the fish, pile on the slaw. Lunch done in minutes.