Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fabulous Fish Tacos - Part 1 of 2 (gluten free, too)

Mmm ... Fish tacos. There’s something uber awesome about fish tacos. All those fab flavors sharing the same real-estate makes me sigh with pleasure. There are zillions of versions of fish tacos out there. I tend to favor the Baja style ones, but I truly love all varieties. I’m completely hooked on the crunch and tang of the cabbage slaw, the creamy coolness of the crema, the ocean goodness of the fish, the flavor punch-up of the pickled onions, and the earthy warmth of the tortilla. Heaven in every bite if you asked me.

In my on-going quest to incorporate more pickled goodies in my diet, I zeroed in on fish tacos. What do fish tacos have to do with pickled goodies? Well, it’s the toppings that make the difference. First, no lettuce and cheddar cheese grace these fish tacos. Instead, a lovely cabbage slaw, while not truly pickled, is marinated in a zesty vinaigrette and spooned on top.Next, how about some “Cebollas Yucatecas” which are Yucatan-style pickled onions. Those little guys are refreshing and outstanding. Rounding out the flavors is a lovely crema, some left over baked salmon, and I threw in some avocado, too. Mmm, mmm, mmm ... street food at it’s finest.

In addition to those toppers and fixin’s, guess what really gives these tacos two thumbs up? Come on, come on, guess! I’m so giddy with culinary success right now. Are you ready? Here it is: I conquered making homemade corn tortillas. Now, before you go ... Uh, that’s, uh, well dandy (notice the lack of exclamation here?), keep in mind that gluten free households tend to go through towers of tortillas on a regular basis.

While I’m lucky to have a plethora of corn tortillas available for purchase at my mega mart, I’m also well acquainted with how much better the made-from-scratch ones are. Think of it this way ... if given the choice, would you want to eat a store bought, wrapped in plastic chocolate chip cookie or a homemade, fresh and warm one? I’m guessin’ most of you will pass by the former and gobble up the latter.

So, since I use corn tortillas frequently for a whole variety of recipes (not just Mexican), I really wanted to tackle it myself. The end result? Let me just say that my days of buying tortillas are over.

These come together so fast. It only took me a mere 25 minutes, start to finish, to make 16 of these babies. I’m sure I’ll shave minutes off of there the more proficient I get. The recipe states that they will keep for a week in the fridge. Mine didn’t even last an hour. But when another batch is no more that 25 minutes away, who’s complaining? That’s a no-brainer for me ... make more. Plus, this is a great way to get friends and kidlin's in the kitchen to help out. Taking turns rolling and pressing, everyone could have a dandy time making tortillas.

Anywho ... without further ado, here’s how to make corn tortillas from scratch.

2 cups Masa Flour (not corn meal)
1 tsp sea salt
1 ¼ cups water or chicken broth (I used broth), hot
1 tsp lard (or shortening) (Hey my blogging peeps ... don’t get on me about the lard. Please read Real Food by Nina Planck.)
3 tablespoons hot waterGather your ingredients. Be sure to use masa flour.This is a tortilla press. It comes in very handy for this process. I covered mine with plastic sandwich bags for ease in removing the flattened tortillas. It worked perfectly.It’s gluten free, too!
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the Masa flour and the sea salt. Dissolve the lard in the hot broth. Pour into the mixing bowl.With a fork, combine the masa flour mixture with the liquid. It will be very crumbly.When the mixture is cool enough to handle, use your hands to work it into a large ball. Add the additional hot water if necessary. I used about 2 additional tablespoons. Let it sit for a few minutes.Roll golf ball sized ball portions.Place said little ball on the tortilla press, just outside of center.Close the lid
Press the handle downOpen it up ... voila!Heat both sides in a dry skillet, flipping when the edges start to look dry. Cast iron is best but a non-stick skillet will work, too. Place in a tortilla keeper or cover with a towel to keep warm.

These babies are outstanding. I mean really, really good. You’ll never want a store bought corn tortilla again.And, like most things at It's All Gouda, these are gluten free all the way, baby! Yummmmm-eee! That's curly cabbage, by the way, not lettuce. Anyone want to come over and make another batch with me? Tune in next time when we’ll make the terrific toppings for these lovely babies. YUM!

17 comments:

Pam said...

Congrats on your tortillas! I went through a tortilla making phase and then somehow relegated my tortilla press to the back of the cabinet. Have to get it out again! And where is the fish taco recipe????

Bellini Valli said...

I am hearing a lot about fish tacos these days. I will need to try them for sure...if only I could fund this type of flour here I could make my own shells too.

grace said...

even making your own tortillas, eh? crazy impressive, paula. delicious tutorial. :)

Cathy said...

Applause for you, Paula, for making your own tortillas. I can imagine how delicious they must be. And I agree about the toppings - love the pickled onions. Fish tacos are my absolute favorite.

Manggy said...

Very nice! I've never tried it before but now I'm really excited. I think I'd miss the cheese in the tacos, though :)

DayPhoto said...

It is always fun coming here and getting a new recipe. Thank you, Paula!

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Velva said...

Fresh tortillas, fish, cabbage no wonder it's amazing. Love it!

Pam said...

Impressive! I can't believe you made your own tortillas. Fish tacos are one of my favorite foods and yours look FANTASTIC!

Marjie said...

Good for you, making tortillas! You know I'd have to make something on the order of 50 of these to feed the hordes, right? Wonderful that you're finding new ways to use them!

noble pig said...

OMG you made tortillas! Yahoo woman!!!

Cheryl said...

I am so impressed, I have purchased all the stuff to make them, but then chickened out! I also love fishie tacos, baja style!

Robynn's Ravings said...

PAULA!!! I've missed all your good cooking! I have never tackled my own tortillas and have never even SEEN a tortilla press - and I live in Mexifornia! Now THAT is just a must have and I'm dropping the recipe into the favs file (with credit to you, of course). But what I SERIOUSLY NEED TO KNOW IS HOW DID YOU MAKE THAT SLAW because THAT's the secret to GREAT fish tacos. I'm waiting!!! :) (I have to do more fermented foods, too. So good for you!)

Blessings!

Robynn

The Blonde Duck said...

I love fish tacos! You'll have to give me your slaw vinegrette recipe---oh yum! What fish do you use? I've always done tilapia, but now I'm thinking about trying cod...

Deborah said...

I've always wanted to try making homemade flour tortillas, but I've never thought to make homemade corn tortillas! Your tacos look amazing!

Tatersmama said...

YESSSS! I've been talking about getting a tortilla press... and this has completely and totally convinced me!
And the lard? I read Real Food by Nina Planck, and have totally changed the way I eat. Lard, real butter, the whole nine yards... AND I've lost weight doing it! Yay, me!!

Jan said...

Hubby and I have been enjoying fish tacos at our local Mexican restaurant, and I had just been thinking I need to try making them myself. These look fabulous, and I love that you made your own tacos. Great job, Paula.

Orlando personal injury lawyer said...

Great tortillas. Thanks for sharing your ideas. The fish tacos look very tasty.