Pati Jinich – How to Make Cali-Baja Fish Tacos
The Fish Taco. It’s very simple but we have to build it up. So the first thing that we’re gonna make is flour tortillas ’cause you can make flour tortillas at home. So I have 4 cups of flour and then I’m gonna add 1 teaspoon of salt 2/3 cup of lard If you don’t want to use lard you can use vegetable shortening. And I’m gonna add 1 cup of lukewarm water. And then we’re just gonna start kneading. There is an important debate in Mexican cooking that relates to flour versus corn tortillas. Now I love both. I tend to prefer corn tortillas for most things. South of Mexico City favors corn tortilla. Now North of Mexico City people prefer flour tortilla. But the important thing about flour and corn tortillas is that some things should never be made with flour tortillas. For example the enchiladas. Some things need to have corn tortillas like carne asada tacos or most tacos. These are rules that definitely exist but they’re unwritten. Mexicans, we know them. Once your dough is dense and sticky it’s ready to knead. And the more that I knead it the lighter and the fluffier it gets. When my dough isn’t sticky anymore and it’s nice and smooth I know it’s ready. I have the dough I’m gonna split it in half until I get 16 portions. So very excited for you guys to try and for you to tell the difference between a freshly homemade flour tortilla and the tortillas that come from a pack. (Pati counts) Yeah, we’re done! (laughs) So we have our 16 portions. Now I’m gonna cover them and they’re gonna rest between 20 and 30 minutes so that all of the ingredients that we kneaded in the dough can come together. We have the little balls of dough that rested already and then I’m gonna roll these out. They’re not gonna be perfectly round and it doesn’t matter. All you need to make flour tortillas is a good recipe with good measurements which I just gave you. And just give yourself the time. This is how thin it needs to be. So you can see, see? You can see my hand through the tortilla. You just put it on your already heated comal or griddle or skillet. And then you wait until you start seeing bubbles on top. This is really fun, come see. ‘Cause you can see all the bubbles starting to form. Then you flip the tortilla when it starts getting freckled and you can see all the freckles like I’m full of freckles the tortilla is full of freckles. And then once you flip it it’s gonna really puff. You take the tortilla off. You run and get some butter. Uh, uh, ah… Oh, see how it’s melting all over it? Mmm! You sprinkle some salt. And… Mmm. Mmmmm! It’s so soft. But for a proper fish taco we need a lot of toppings so now I’m gonna make a Salsa Macha. I have my pan here set over medium heat and I’m gonna add about 1 1/2 cups of olive oil. You may be wondering… “What is she doing?” ‘Cause this is most certainly a very unusual salsa. So the first thing I’m gonna add is a 1/2 cup of raw, unsalted, shelled and peeled peanuts. 4 cloves of garlic. The next thing that we’re gonna add is morita chipotle and meco chipotle. The moritas are of course prettier and it smells much more fragrant and it has a lot more flavor. And I’m gonna add 3/4 cups of each 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds not toasted. This salsa is a very unusual salsa. It’s not like your typical Mexican salsa that’s like a tomato or tomatillo salsa. This is like a very hefty, velvety wet rub. Okay so now I’m just gonna pour everything in here. And now I’m gonna add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar 3 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar 1 teaspoon of salt and we’re gonna puree until completely smooth. (food processor whirs) You think you knew salsa? You didn’t because you haven’t tasted this one! Spicy, savory, tiny bit sweet you feel a little bit hint of acidity. This salsa is perfect. The last thing we need for our perfect fish taco… a creamy slaw. I have a1/4 cup of mayo a 1/4 cup of Mexican crema 3 tablespoons orange juice. Salt. Some black pepper. 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar and then I’m gonna mix that up. Ok, so we’re gonna add 3 cups of shredded green cabbage 3 scallions and that’s it! We have our creamy slaw. We’re gonna finally make the fish that’s gonna go in the fish taco and here I have some very fresh cod. I’m gonna cut strips about this width and I’ll season my fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge it in flour. In a fish taco you want a fish that is not going to overpower the taco. So you want a mild fish that’s nice and flaky. You want it to break the moment you bite into it. Now we’re gonna make the capeado. In Spanish whenever you make a coating that has egg and flour in it we call it “capeado” which is actually a beautiful word because it translates to something like you’re adding a coat or cape to something. So I have the two egg whites and I’m gonna beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. I’ve been pre-heating the oil for about 10 minutes over low to medium heat. So the moment I see they’re holding a good shape… I’m stopping. And here I have 1 cup of flour and I’m gonna add a pinch of cumin. It’s gonna give it some personality. 1 teaspoon of salt. Open a beer. For this, I recommend a beer that’s not too bitter or not too strong. I wanna make sure that there are absolutely no lumps in here. Once the batter is smooth I’ll add the egg whites a little bit at a time and gently incorporate them to keep my batter nice and fluffy. I think that a good fish taco needs to have… or course, really fresh fish and then you need some really fluffy, tasty batter. And I think this one achieves it because it has the beer and I think that beer really helps to add that yeasty taste that’s reminiscent of fresh yeasty bread. I guess. And this is breading so it’s a good thing. You’re gonna grab the coated fish dip it in the batter. Mmm, mmm, mmm. Oh beautiful, see? This is the most pillowy fluffy batter and you wanna wait about 2 minutes per side. Mmm, mmm, mmm! Because I want the flavor of the salsa macha everywhere I’m gonna spread a little or a lot. I’m gonna add my slaw red onion and serranos that have been marinating with a little bit of lime juice. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm! Mmm. So delicious. The breaded fish inside of this really, really soft and almost sweet flour tortilla. These are really, really amazing fish tacos. So if you can go to Ensenada you can go to Ensenada but if you want an amazing fish taco experience you can easily have one at home.