Review of A Sweet Pea Chef’s Fish Tacos, plus D.I.Y. Corn Tortillas

Fish Tacos PlateIn high school, I played volleyball with the Sweet Pea Chef.  It wasn’t until we became Facebook friends that I realized that we had something else in common besides volleyball – cooking! Lacey is powerful force in the food blogging world.  I was amazed to find out that she has a cookbook and videos, and she has partnered with the likes of Tastemade. I was also pleased to discover that she married her high school sweetheart (and my art class buddy), Dustin.  They are such a fantastic couple.

I have pinned many of her recipes on Pinterest and have tried one of them once before.  But since I’ve been on a taco kick as of late, when I spied her Baja Fish Tacos recipe, I pinned it on my TO DO: Summer board and made them the same night. They also moved to my YUM board that same night.

This recipe takes on the challenge of recreating the fried fish taco the author enjoyed as a child when she visited Ensenada. I’ve never had a fish taco from Baja, but I’ve had plenty here in Southern California and none of them compare to this taco. Maybe it’s because it is freshly fried in your own kitchen, but the delicious crunch of this fish blew away the restaurant version.

The batter in this recipe is made of flour and corn meal, which provides an amazing texture.  As your teeth sink in, the delightfully gritty crunch from the cornmeal is balanced by the a crisp lightness provided by the flour. It is complemented by a creamy dill sauce and a tangy pico de gallo, both recipes included with the fish recipe.  The dill sauce, while an unusual herb pairing in my book, worked well with the other flavors of the taco and added a subtle, slow burn in the back the mouth. The pico de gallo was more upfront, with fresh, spicy jalapeno.  Neither spice was overpowering, though, and as spice-lovers, we also added Tapatio.

It is a bit laborious to fry at home, and this recipe does require shallow frying. It was hard to get away from the pan of oil long enough to make my side dishes and essential handmade corn tortillas.  I made it work, however, and next time I know exactly what I’m in for and can time the meal properly.  And there will definitely be a next time.

Thank you, Lacey, for some killer fish tacos!

Check out her recipe on A Sweet Pea Chef.  I definitely recommend her creamy dill sauce and pico de gallo as well. And, take some time to learn how to make extremely simple handmade corn tortillas below.  It is so worth the minimal extra effort!

Fish Taco Collage watermark

Some notes before we begin:

Masa Harina

Masa Harina

Corn tortillas are made from masa harina, a flour made from finely ground corn.  There isn’t really a substitute for masa harina, except for fresh masa, but that’s even harder to come by!  We can find masa harina in most grocery stores here is California, and Alton Brown claims that it is available at most “super stores” (is that Walmart?) across America. It is also definitely available online, but it’s a bit pricier because of the shipping. The cheapest online source I have found is this Instant Corn Masa Mix from Amazon.

Tortilla Press

Tortilla Press

While not required, I highly recommend a tortilla press.  I have always used a heavy, flat-bottomed pan to press tortillas, but after gifting a tortilla press to my friend and seeing it action, I had to get one for myself. I ordered this IMUSA 8-inch Cast Iron Tortilla Press from Amazon, and I love it!

Warm TortillasHANDMADE CORN TORTILLAS

A.K.A. Taco Tuesday Essential

(Makes eight, 5-inch corn tortillas)

Ingredients

1 cup masa harina

1/3 cup filtered water

1 generous pinch kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Measure masa harina into a medium bowl. Whisk in kosher salt.
  2. Pour in filtered water and stir until the dough comes together. Use your hands to form it into a ball. If the dough seems dry, add more water, one teaspoon at a time, until the dough holds together when pressed.
  3. Form the tortillas. (See pictures below.)
    • Divide the dough evenly into eight sections.
    • Roll each section into a ball.
    • One at a time, use a plastic lined tortilla press (or a flat-bottomed pan) to press each ball into a circle to your desired thickness.  If are not using a tortilla press, you will have to press very hard!
  4. Heat up a griddle and cook each tortilla for approximately one minute on each side.
  5. As they come off the griddle, place between two clean towels to keep warm.

Tortilla Making Collage

I hope you try both Lacey’s tacos and some handmade tortillas.  Both are absolutely delicious!

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