Saturday, February 18, 2012

Matt's Beer Battered Fish Tacos

For a while now, Kevin has been extolling the virtues of Matt's famous fish tacos. I've never been a huge fan of fish tacos (it just seems so unnatural), but I was willing to give it a shot. Thursday night, Matt came over to indoctrinate me in the ways of the fish taco, and the three of us banded together (a moment that would make the fish taco loving bromance of I Love You, Man proud) to produce one rapid and incredibly delicious meal that made me a believer. I mean, it's fish fried in beer. How could it not be awesome?

Fish Tacos
Adapted from Great Food Great Beer
Servings: About 12 tacos
Time: 30 minutes

Cabbage Slaw
3/4 of a purple cabbage finely shredded
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt to taste

Chipotle Tartar Sauce
2 tbsp canned chipotles in adobo, rinsed, stemmed and seeded
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1/4 cup onion, chopped
Salt to taste

1 cup beer (Stella Artois works well)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 lbs cod, de-bonned and skinless
Vegetable oil for frying
Lime Wedges

Not as tasty as cupcake batter
  1. Make 2 friends so you have someone working on each component for a super quick meal.
  2. Prep the slaw by mixing the shredded cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, oil, red pepper flakes and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Puree the chiles, mayo, relish, onion and salt in a blender for your tartar sauce (see how easy this is with 3 people).
  4. Whisk the beer, flour and salt together in a bowl to make your batter.
  5. Preheat your oven to 200 F. Heat up your tortillas on a skillet then transfer to a baking sheet in the oven to keep warm for when the fish is ready.
  6. Rinse the fish and pat dry. Cut the cod crosswise into 1 inch wide stripes. Also make sure all the bones are removed.
  7. Heat up the vegetable oil in a large skillet to 360 F (Letting it get hotter than this may result in oddly distorted candy thermometers.).
  8. Dip each piece of fish into the batter then fry until golden turning once to brown both sides (about 2-4 minutes each fish). 
  9. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil.
  10. Assemble your taco by putting fish then cabbage on a tortilla and smothering with the chipotle sauce (Seriously drown that sucker. It's a fish; it can breathe submerged). Serve with lime wedges.
Still not enough of the amazing sauce.
Let's start with the fish component. The Stella battered cod was perfectly fried (save one piece before we got the oil under control, but, hey, that's what you have smoke detectors for), and the butteryness of the cod went fantastically with the crisp and almost fluffy fried golden deliciousness. This definitely was the right fish for the job.
That's better.
But tacos need their toppings, and we had two glorious ones to round these out. Any fish taco has a standard cabbage slaw that adds a freshness (and more crispiness) to things. The cilantro and lime really bring out the flavor of the cabbage to make for a ridiculously good slaw. The true triumph of the taco triumvirate (sometimes I get bored and have fun with alliteration), though, was the chipotle tartar sauce. It had just the right kick and made me forget all about my normal disgust with mayo. You really can't put enough of this on your taco. Together the three components also form a wonderful texture combination that has the crunchiness of the fried shell and cabbage sandwiched between the almost creamy fishy and sauce all wrapped in a wonderful tortilla.

I love it when my models take my direction perfectly. Matt: "What should I do?" Me: "Look like an idiot." I think he has a bright future in the modeling business.
Matt definitely earned a standing invite to my kitchen (Really, this should be a standing invite to his kitchen since he has one of those crazy house things. Silly married people with their adultness.). These fish tacos finally made me a fan, but were they too good that all other fish tacos will now be seen as inferior? It truly is a rough life that I lead.
And he can be sultry too!
It turns out Matt is not just a fish taco making fiend but is a man of many talents. Check out his mad drumming skills here (but really I would've thought he'd be all about slapping da bass), or catch his stunning photography at

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