I am a problem-solver by nature, so I have been experiencing a mild but constant level of dissatisfaction that I lacked a tactic to employ when questions about what to make for dinner and what to write about for this column pop up. Writer’s block sucks and the never-ending cycle of “I don’t know, what do you want for dinner,” is equally frustrating. These are problems that need solutions–fortunately, I’ve got us covered. Dear readers and home cooks, I would like to present my simple and straightforward strategies for 2023: The Taco Tactic and The Pasta Postulate.
The Pasta Postulate states that the question of what to eat for dinner can be easily solved by invoking the noodle. A great pasta dish can be executed simply and represents the opportunity for infinite variation. Pick a protein (or not), select a sauce, name a noodle, and gather your garnish, you can even introduce veggie variations.
In a similar vein, The Taco Tactic is ready and waiting to be employed whenever your brain goes blank, and your stomach is growling. There is never a bad time for tacos. Much like the pasta postulate, tacos offer the potential for infinite variations. Partner Ned contends that simpler is better so I have reduced the core taco necessities down to just four variables: shell, filling, topping, and sauce.
This last week, I relied on both The Taco Tactic and the Pasta Postulate when identifying what to make for dinner resulting in delicious dishes on both occasions. As we move forward through 2023, I am looking forward to diving deep into the overabundance of options within these two tasty categories. Irish Tacos (yep), Curry Tacos (count me in), Braised Beef Birria (OMG), I could do this all day.
Taco Tactic Variation #1
Broiled Fish Tacos
Serves 2 - increase by one piece of fish and 2-3 taco shells for each additional person
2-3 high-quality corn tortillas (I used La Tortilla Factory handmade corn & wheat specialty shells)
2 ea 6+ ounce pieces of halibut, mahi-mahi, or another meaty white fish of your choice
2 limes - zested, then rind and pith removed, cut into slices, and finely diced
4 T grapeseed or canola oil, separated
½ bunch of cilantro - minced
½ c of assorted herbs - minced (my go-to’s are mint and basil)
1. Pat fish dry with a paper towel, place in an oven-safe dish, season with salt, coriander, and smoked paprika, and drizzle with 3 T of grapeseed oil. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine lime zest, minced lime, 1 T grapeseed oil, and minced herbs.
3. Adjust top oven shelf to less than 6” below the broiler and turn broiler on high (for gas ovens, leave the oven door closed, for electric ovens leave the oven door ajar).
4. Broil fish until turning golden brown on the edges (about 5-7 minutes).
5. Meanwhile, lay tortillas out on a baking sheet with their edges slightly overlapping. Swap out the fish dish for the tortilla tray and toast for about 2 minutes. Flip tortillas and toast for another minute.
6. Toss together herb and lime mix, season to taste. Break each fish fillet into chunks and place some on each tortilla. Top with herb mix and drizzle with crema.
Okay what is Mexican crema?
It's like creme fraiche or thinned sour cream. Can be purchased in the dairy sections of most groceries.