A Delectable Debut + Fish Tacos with Cilantro Pesto

Welcome to From Head to Table, my fellow fearless foodies. This blog has been a long time coming and I am so excited to share all of my culinary adventures and crazy epicurean concoctions with you!  Let's dive right in, shall we?

Summer = Fish Tacos. Give me a sunny patio, some fish tacos - crispy fish, crunchy cabbage, lots of lime - and a cold Pacifico and I am a happy, happy girl. However, I am not a big into deep frying, so I lightened these up by sautéing the fish and topping the tacos with a vibrant cilantro pesto instead of the traditional crema.

I highly recommend making a double batch of the pesto because it is that good. I usually find myself sneaking spoonfuls of it as I am cooking the fish. Other than eating it by the spoonful, use it on sandwiches, toss with pasta or drizzle over grilled veggies.

 

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Fish Tacos with Cilantro Pesto

Makes 8 tacos

 

¾ teaspoon cumin

¾ teaspoon sea salt

1 large clove garlic, crushed

Zest of 1 large lime

3 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 pound pacific rock cod, or other white fish (i.e. tilapia, halibut)

 

Cilantro Pesto 

2 cups cilantro leaves & stems, roughly chopped

2 green onions, roughly chopped

1 serrano chile, roasted & seeded

1 medium clove of garlic, chopped

¼ cup walnut halves

Juice of 1 lime

1/3 cup of fruity extra virgin olive oil 

 

8 corn tortillas

1 large avocado, sliced

1 ½ cups red cabbage, shredded

1 cup homemade pico de gallo (recipe follows)

 

In a small bowl, combine cumin, salt, garlic, lime zest and 3 tablespoons olive oil to create a paste. Brush paste over fish fillets coating completely. Refrigerate and marinate for 1-3 hours.

While the fish is marinating, make the pesto. Pulse cilantro, green onions, chili, garlic, walnuts and lime juice in a food processor. On low speed, slowly drizzle in olive oil and process until smooth. The pesto should still retain a little bit of texture. Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil until almost shimmering. Lay fish fillets in pan (do not overcrowd, do this in batches if necessary) and cook 3-4 minutes per side depending on the thickness of your fillets. The fish should easily be able to flake apart. Remove fish from pan and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces.

To assemble tacos, mash two slices of avocado onto the warmed tortilla. Top with a couple pieces of fish, shredded cabbage, a hearty drizzle of cilantro pesto and pico de gallo. 

 

Pico de Gallo

Makes approximately 2 cups 

When I was little, my neighbors would make the best corn salsa at the height of summer - their secret, a drizzle of good, fruity extra virgin olive oil. To this day, I always finish my salsa with a touch of olive oil. The inherent fruitiness of the oil brings out the sweetness of the tomatoes and rounds out any salsa. 

 

3 heirloom tomatoes, chopped

½ small red onion, finely chopped

1 serrano chile, seeded & minced

¼ cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Juice of 1 small lime

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon fruity extra virgin olive oil

 

In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, chili, cilantro, lime and olive oil. Season to taste with salt.

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