Nobody knows precisely where the taco came from or how it got its name. It was already being eaten when the Europeans arrived in Mexico. The first taco feast by Europeans was arranged by Cortes himself. There is evidence that the first fish taco may have been invented by the indigenous people in the Valley of Mexico. They were said to eat tacos filled with small fresh water fish. The modern “Taco de Pescado” was first made in Baja California, Mexico. It was in Baja that a college student on Spring Break discovered Fish Tacos at a food stand in San Felipe, Baja California. Ralph Rubio went home to San Diego and opened Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill. It’s main menu item was the fish taco. Rubio’s
tacos are made with Alaskan Pollock that is battered and fried before it hit the corn or flour tortilla, you pick. Rubio’s later added Grilled Mahi Mahi and Tilapia. The odd thing is that the popularity of the fish taco remained a California phenomenon, uncommon in most other states. But on the strength of their fish taco, Rubio’s, now called Rubio’s Coastal Grill, has grown to 200 restaurants in 6 western states plus Florida. I’d like to think this recipe will turn you into a Fish Taco fan too no matter where you live. Here is the recipe:
Recipe for Swordfish Tacos with Radishes, Grilled Green onions and Chipotle Sour Cream adapted from the New York Times
Serves 4 giving each person 3 tacos. Takes 30 minutes to make.
2 tablespoons chile powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, or to taste
1 ½ pounds firm white fish fillets, like cod or red snapper, skinless
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 ½ cups sour cream
1 chipotle chilies in adobo, finely chopped, or more to taste
12 white corn tortillas
3 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or canola
6 scallions, trimmed and cut into 4-inch lengths
5 radishes, trimmed and sliced thin
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
2 limes, cut into wedges
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine the chile powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin and red-pepper flakes in a shallow dish. Season the fish fillets aggressively with salt and pepper, then press them into the spice mixture, turning to coat. Set aside.
3. Combine the sour cream and add the finely chopped chipotles in a small bowl, bit by bit, tasting as you go along so that you can control the level of the heat of the chipotles. Stir to combine. Set aside.
4. Cook the tortillas until they are toasted in a large cast iron skillet set over high heat, approximately 30 seconds or so per side, then stack them on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Wrap the foil around the tortillas, and place the package into the oven to heat.
5. Turn the heat under the pan down to medium-high, and add a tablespoon of the oil and then the scallions. Cook these, tossing occasionally, until they are about to char, then remove and set aside.
6. Add the remaining oil to the pan and heat it until it begins to shimmer. Add the fish and cook until well browned and crisp, approximately 5 minutes per side.
7. Remove from pan and slice into cubes of fish.
8. Serve the fish with warm tortillas, garnished with the scallions, radishes, cheese and chipotle sour cream, and lime wedges on the side.