This post is sponsored by SmartyPants Vitamins. Thanks for supporting Brooklyn Supper’s sponsors!
Throughout the year, few moments are as defining as that first bite of a really great summer tomato, so full of brightness and acidity. The pale specimens that line grocery store shelves in winter have very little in common with summer’s greatest achievement. The arrival of great tomatoes also signals something else –– the beginning of summer eating.
Defined mostly by (nearly) overwhelming abundance, summer eating centers on freshness. It’s more about prepping and combining ingredients than cooking them. Because of the sweltering heat and the fact that so many summer ingredients are perfectly delicious on their own, summer cooking should be minimal. It was with these core principals in mind that Brian and I set to making a tasty batch of fish tacos over the weekend.
Trips to the market and store turned up local peaches plus some of the prettiest heirlooms I’ve even seen. Slicing into each was momentous enough to call Brian into the kitchen for samples. This focus on using the absolute best ingredients is mirrored in what our sponsors, SmartyPants Vitamins, do. From the outset, I’ve been impressed with SmartyPants –– not only do they use fish from sustainable, third-party certified sources, but every batch of vitamins is made with great ingredients and care. SmartyPants’ sourcing of the best ingredients and commitment to quality were the inspiration for these fresh summer tacos.
At its essence, an excellent taco relies on the mingling of flavors. There’s fish, sure, but also roasted poblano, sweet peaches, and perfect tomatoes for the simple salsa, plus thinly sliced radishes and cucumbers with a touch of sea salt. For the fish, we selected Pacific cod, a wild caught, sustainable fish (not to be confused with Atlantic cod, which has been woefully overfished). To ensure a firm texture and good flavor, we set the cod in a quick brine, and then sautéed it in plenty of butter. In the end, we had flaky, well-seasoned fish accompanied by a simple radish salad, summer greens, and a multilayered fresh salsa. Summer eating is here for sure!
Pacific Cod Fish Tacos with Heirloom Tomato Peach Salsa and a Green Salad
For ease, this recipe is broken into its parts. Try not to be daunted by the list of ingredients –– the dish does have a few components, but things are mostly prepared simply. To get started, you’ll want to brine the fish, roast the pepper, and sprinkle both the sliced radishes and cuke with sea salt so they can marinate while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
for the fish tacos
2 pounds Pacific cod fillets, approximately 1 inch thick
4 cups water
4 tablespoons sea salt, plus more for finishing
2 – 4 tablespoons butter, for frying
In a large bowl or deep-sided dish, combine 4 cups of water and 4 tablespoons sea salt. Add the cod. Brine for 10 – 20 minutes. While fish brines, prepare the salads and salsa.
Fry cod in batches. Start by heating a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter. When butter is melted and fragrant, add the fish. Cook each side for 1 ½ – 2 minutes, flip carefully, and cook for 2 – 3 minutes longer.
Remove cooked fish to a plate and finish with a sprinkle of sea salt and a squeeze of lime.
Either in a pan over medium-high heat or directly over a gas flame, heat the tortillas.
To serve tacos, divide the green salad between the plates. Tip cooked fish into the warmed tortillas. Add a bit of the radish mixture to each taco and top with several spoonfuls of salsa. Garnish with sliced avocado and lime wedges.
for the heirloom tomato peach salsa
1 large poblano pepper
2 large heirloom tomatoes, cored and diced
2 small to medium peaches, pitted and diced
1/2 large red onion, minced
1 clove garlic, smashed, peeled, and minced
juice of half a lime
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup minced cilantro
Either over an open flame or under the broiler, roast the poblano on all sides until the skin is blackened all over. Set in a paper bag, seal, and steam for 10 minutes. Then, set pepper under cold running water and pull off the skin with your fingers. The seeds and stem should also come off easily. Mince the pepper.
Combine the roasted pepper and all other ingredients in a large bowl. Taste, and adjust salt or acid levels as needed.
for the radishes
4 radishes, sliced paper-thin
2 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons torn cilantro leaves
pinch of sea salt
squeeze of lime
splash of rice wine vinegar
In a small bowl, sprinkle several pinches sea salt over the radishes. Set aside.
Before serving, toss radishes with the scallions, cilantro, and lime.
for the green salad
1 medium cucumber, sliced paper thin
4 cups green, washed and dried
squeeze of lime juice
Sprinkle the cukes with a pinch or two of sea salt. Set aside.
To assemble the salad, drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil onto the leaves; toss with your fingers. Finish leaves with a pinch of sea salt and a squeeze of lime. Just before serving, fold in salted cucumber slices.