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Baja & Fish Tacos - A Brief History

But what really is Baja-Style Cooking? The Baja California peninsula – runs from the US border to Cabo. The sea between the peninsula and the Mexico mainland is the Sea of Cortez and it supports over 900 species of fish and crustaceans. Baja cuisine is essentially Mexican with a major emphasis on seafood, however, due to its physical separation from the mainland, baja cuisine evolved a bit differently…

The Baja peninsula was not impervious to the explore and conquer mindset of civilizations past. In the sixteenth century, Spanish explorers colonized the peninsula believing it was filled with a rich bounty of jewels. Wrong! Frustrated and without treasure they abandoned the area, leaving not much behind but their long-lasting culinary footprint.

Over the years after the Spanish occupation, seafaring cultures discovered and used this seafood saturated area for fishing and trading expeditions between the West and the Orient. What emerged was a delicious blend of Asian, Mexican, and Spanish cuisines, the consummate of which is the Fish Taco! Though the original “filled tortilla” had been enjoyed since early Mesoamerica, the Fish Taco emerged when people from the Orient introduced the Baja natives to the practice of deep frying fish. It wasn’t long before the fried fish was combined with the traditional toppings of chiles, vegetables, salsas, and rolled in a tortilla… Who knew, RIGHT???

In this delicious recipe for my version of Fish Tacos, I combine Beer Battered Fried Cod with Mango Salsa and a Chipotle Lime Crema. Saludos!

For the Beer Battered Cod:

1 (12 oz) pacifico beer

1 T. goya sazon

1 # Cod, cut into 3-4 oz pieces

1 C. flour

1 tsp. sugar

½ tsp. baking powder

1 1/4 C. pacifico beer

Salt and pepper

Vegetable oil for frying

For the Mango Salsa:

1 mango, finely diced

¼ c. red bell pepper, finely diced

¼ c. green bell pepper, finely diced

1 jalapeno, finely diced

¼ tsp pepper

1 tsp cider vinegar

½ of a thai bird chile, minced

1 T. cilantro

For the Chipotle Lime Crema:

½ C. crema, or sour cream

1 chipotle pepper + 2 tsp. adobo sauce

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

Zest ½ lime + 2 tsp. lime juice

½ tsp. cumin, ground

Fresh Grilled or Griddled Tortillas

Toppings and Garnishes:

Thinly sliced red cabbage

Lime Wedges

Crumbled Cotija

Diced Onion

Cilantro leaves, torn

For the Beer Battered Cod:

Mix together the pacific and the goya sazon seasoning. Place the cod pieces in the marinade and let sit for 2 hours. Meanwhile, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, pacifico beer and salt and pepper. Combine well to make a batter. Remove the fish from the marinade and pat dry. Place in the batter and fry in a large heavy bottomed pan on 375 degrees until golden brown and the fish is cooked through. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Season with salt and pepper while the fish is still hot.

For the Mango Salsa:

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Refrigerate 2 hours to overnight before serving.

For the Chipotle Lime Crema:

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Refrigerate 2 hours to overnight before serving