Thursday, August 30, 2012

Panko Crusted Fish Tacos

I have been dying for fish tacos practically the entire summer. I ordered them at a few restaurants, but they never lived up to my expectations. So I decided with only a few days left of summer, I had to make fish tacos the way that I envisioned them. Needless to say, they were perfect.

I am a diehard advocate of panko breadcrumbs. The crunch is incomparable to any other breadcrumbs I've ever tried. Besides for the great crunch you get from the panko breadcrumbs, the fresh red cabbage slaw is the perfect balance between the kick of the chipotle and the mildness of the fish.

For this recipe, I used talapia. Normally I am not a huge fan of this fish, but it seemed to work the best (and happened to be the cheapest). This could easily be replicated using any other kind of mild, white fish. It is best to use a mild fish as you don't want the salty, fish taste overwhelming the chipotle sauce.

I honestly think this may be my favorite meal I've cooked all year. Sure, my need for good fish tacos probably played in to this; but the flavors all came together so perfectly that even today as I write this I still can't get that dinner out of my head.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 6-7 minutes

Panko Crusted Fish Tacos
Serves 4

4 fillets of talapia (1/2 fillet per taco)
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Chili paste (amount depends on taste)
2 eggs
Chipotle powder
1/2 cup of flour
Olive oil
Soft tortillas
1 lime

Red Cabbage Slaw
1/2 head of red cabbage
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
1 tbsp of honey (or sugar)
Pinch of celery seed

Chipotle Cream Sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon chili paste
Juice of 1 lime
Chipotle powder (to taste)

  1. Chop up red cabbage into thin strips then mix all ingredients together. Put aside for serving later.
  2. Mix together ingredients for chipotle cream sauce and refrigerate until serving.
  3. Heat up oil in a skillet until it is at medium high heat.
  4. In three separate dishes combine panko breadcrumbs with some chipotle powder; 2 eggs with chili paste (1 tsp works); and flour with some salt and pepper.
  5. Cut the fillets into two strips lengthwise, then cut in half horizontally.
  6. Dip the talapia fillets in each of the dishes and get a nice thick coating on the pieces.
  7. Add the talapia pieces to the skillet making sure not to overcrowd. Cook for 2-3 minutes each side.
  8. Set your talapia into the middle of the taco and top with chipotle cream sauce and red cabbage slaw. Squeeze a slice of lime onto each taco for a little extra zest.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Soy Marinated Pork Tenderloin

I must admit, I'm not a big pork eater, so I don't cook it often. But there comes a time when you just can't eat chicken anymore for fear of turning into one! Like most things I cook, this was relatively easy to make, but didn't lack on flavor one bit. I probably could have cooked it one or two minutes longer and it would have been even more juicy and tender than it already was, but I don't like to mess around when it comes to pork or chicken!

This was a great weeknight meal because it needs to be marinated ahead of time, so you can either prepare it the night before, or when you get home from work and continue on taking care of other things. I served it with a simple side of garlic parmesan risotto and fresh sauteed green beans from the local farmer's market.

Prep Time: 10 minutes (plus marinating time)
Cook Time: 45 minutes

Soy Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Serves 3-4 (depending on who's eating it!)

1⁄2 cups olive oil
1⁄3 cup soy sauce
2 tsp srichacha
1⁄4 cup red wine or red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp fresh parsley or Italian seasoning
2 tsp dry mustard
Black pepper, to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 lb pork tenderloin

Pan Drippings
Pan scrapings from pork tenderloin
1/2 cup of chicken broth
3 tbsp of marinade
2 tsp butter
  1. Combine all marinade ingredients and mix thoroughly. Place marinade and pork tenderloin in gallon size Ziploc bag and marinade overnight or for 3-4 hours. Remove pork tenderloin from marinade and reserve 3 tbsp of the marinade
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  3. In a hot skillet over medium-high heat, sear each side of the tenderloin for 2-3 minutes to give it a nice crust
  4. Transfer to a roasting pan and cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the meat reaches a temperature of 160 degrees
  5. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing
  6. Meanwhile, place the skillet back on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the chicken broth, pan scrapings and marinade. Let it boil down for 2-3 minutes then add the butter
  7. Remove from the stove and mix thoroughly until the butter is melted
  8. Pour over the pork and serve along with the green beans and risotto