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Taco ‘Bout Le Poisson

tilapia taco salsa remoulade r.e.m.
“Combien, combien, combien de temps?”

Inspired by R.E.M. “Talk About The Passion” from Murmur
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This replaces a previous recipe as the most Brooklyn musical recipe pun I have used.

I’ll admit this is an incredible stretch for a fish taco pun. I could have gone with “Puttin’ On The Fish” by Taco (as suggested by my wife). That seemed a bit too easy though it definitely hits the Dad Joke level of my naming obsession and has the added benefit of the “Get it? Fish!!! By TACO!!! It’s hilarious!!!” I chose instead to go with the “Taco as Talk” pun which leads me to one of my favorite bands and albums. 

As a R.E.M. fan, I have enjoyed almost every release with the exception of those years between New Adventures In Hi-Fi and Around The Sun. Murmur claims my “favorite album” status not only for kicking off an amazing era of music out of Athens, GA but also for the fond memories of hearing many of these songs live at Joe’s Star Lounge in Ann Arbor, MI. As just an unknown band from Georgia, R.E.M. came to Joe’s touring on the Chronic Town EP. As I worked in the local record store and spent perhaps more nights than I should at Joe’s, I was lucky enough have an “I saw them when” experience with R.E.M where I believe there were – at best – around 100 or so people at that show. Murmur is one of those rare albums with no filler. “Talk About The Passion” may not be my favorite track on the album – that would be “Radio Free Europe” – but it certainly ranks in my Top Ten R.E.M. songs. 

I am actually surprised I have not seen this dish pun before. Seems exactly like something a Brooklyn restaurant would use to market a Tuesday fish taco. That this dish is nowhere near as pretentious as its name just makes it even more humorous (well at least to me).

Tacos are one of the Top Five Often Cooked Meals at the Grill Club. Breakfast tacos, tuna salad tacos for lunch, whatever is left over in the fridge tacos, and on and on. What I rarely make, though, is fish tacos mostly due to not having a great fish market near me. When I do make fish tacos, I prefer a pan fried to deep fried. While I am sure to piss off those on Team Baja Taco, I’ve always found fried items in a taco to be strange. It’s likely the tortilla vs. breading thing as I have absolutely no issues with fried things on sandwiches.

Start by making the remoulade and fresh pepper salsa. Both will benefit by resting for a bit. Once those are done, this dish comes together fairly quickly. The fish – cut into strips – will fry up much faster than full fillets. I generally set up a taco assembly station with the toasted tortillas, sauce, and salsa before I start frying the fish. That way – as the fish finishes, you can start making tacos while you finish frying.

Allow the fried fish to rest a couple of minutes on some paper towels to absorb any extra frying grease. My assembly method starts with a thin layer of remoulade, a few pieces of fish, a bit of salsa and finish with a drizzle of extra remoulade. 

Pan fried tilapia, fresh pepper salsa, and remoulade on a flour tortilla
Makes 5 – 7 tacos

Take 1 pound of tilapia fillets and cut into ¼ inch strips. On a plate or bowl, toss fish strips in seasoning. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Working in batches, fry fish strips – about 2 minutes per side. When cooked, remove from pan and place on a paper towel lined plate. While fish is frying, toast some tortillas in a pan (or over an open gas flame if you live dangerously).

To assemble tacos, place a tortilla on your plate. Spread a bit of remoulade on the tortilla. Break the tilapia into bite-size pieces and place on tortilla. Top with fresh pepper salsa and a bit more remoulade. Repeat until there is no more fish. Murmur while you enjoy your meal.

2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin

Place all ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly.

1 red onion, fine dice
1 red pepper, fine dice
1 poblano, fine dice
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix to combine. Cover and let rest on the counter 30 minutes to let peppers marinate. Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

Makes 1 cup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1/2 tablespoon grainy mustard
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 scallion, whites & greens diced fine
1/2 teaspoon pickle juice
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine thoroughly. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


Posted in bushwick, cooking, food, foodmusic, grillclub, music, musicfood, recipe, taco

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