While visiting San Diego a number of years ago I fell in love with fish tacos, that city's signature dish. Cabbage makes a crunchy and nutritious alternative to the iceberg lettuce normally used in tacos. Like most tacos, this one is a little messy to eat, so have plenty of napkins around.
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup beer
1 large egg
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 (8 ounce) white fish fillets (such as scrod,
pollack, snapper, haddock, halibut, and catfish),
pin bones removed and each fillet cut crosswise
into 6 pieces (by the fish monger, if possible)
1 small to medium sweet onion such as Vidalia, 4 to 8 ounces
10 sprigs cilantro
1/2 cup light or regular mayonnaise
1/2 cup low-fat yogurt
1 small head green cabbage, 12 to 16 ounces
1 ripe but firm avocado
1 (12 ounce) jar medium-hot salsa
12 flour tortillas, about 8 inches in diameter
Put the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Combine the beer, egg, and flour in a medium-size mixing bowl. Stir in the mustard, cayenne, salt, and several grindings of black pepper. Put 6 pieces of fish in the batter, coat well, and add to the skillet. Cook for 3 minutes, turn the pieces over, and cook for 3 more minutes until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel-lined platter. Repeat with the remaining 6 pieces. Reduce the heat if needed to prevent burning.
While the fish cooks, peel and quarter the onion and remove the leaves from the cilantro sprigs. Put the onion and cilantro in a food processor and pulse several times, or until coarsely chopped. (Or chop by hand.) Add the mayonnaise and yogurt to the processor and pulse just once or twice to combine. Put the onion-mayonnaise sauce in a small bowl.
Halve the cabbage lengthwise and remove the core from each half. Place each half on a cutting surface, flat side down. Cut into thin shreds with a chef's knife. (Or shred using the large holes of a four-sided grater or the grating attachment of a food processor.) You should have about 4 cups. Put the cabbage in a small bowl.
Halve pit and peel the avocados. Cut each half lengthwise into six slices. Lay the slices on a small plate. Cut the lime into 4 wedges and put in a small dish. Put the salsa in a small bowl with a slotted spoon (so you won't get a lot of liquid in your tacos).
Bring all the ingredients for the tacos to the table and allow diners to make tacos one at a time as follows: Put a few tablespoons of cabbage in the middle of each tortilla. Top with 1 piece of fish, 1 tablespoon or so of the onion-mayonnaise sauce, 1 tablespoon of the salsa, 2 avocado slices, and a squeeze of lime. Fold and eat.
Makes 12 tacos, 3 per person.