The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Lifestyles

June 18, 2013

Putting a healthy spin on the popular fish taco

Mexican cuisine has been popular for a long time, but my recent travels around our country have persuaded me that fish tacos are big now in a way they never were before.

Naturally, perhaps, they are easiest to find in regions with a strong Hispanic influence — particularly California, Texas and Florida — but I’ve also been bumping into them in Chicago and New York. Soon enough, they should be just about as ubiquitous as falafel. It’s a happy thing.

Traditional fish tacos consist of battered fish topped with shredded cabbage, a drizzle of citrus mayo, all wrapped in a corn tortilla. But there’s plenty of room for variation.

These days the fish might be grilled rather than battered and fried. Sometimes it’s served on flour tortillas, sometimes on corn tortillas. It’s almost always topped with some kind of creamy sauce, as well as with shredded cabbage and/or avocado. Whatever. I’ve never met a fish taco I didn’t like.

A note about the fish: I used tilapia because it is sustainable, affordable and widely available all year. But substitute any fish you like. Just keep in mind that a thinner fish will take less time to cook.

HEALTHY FISH TACOS WITH BUTTERMILK AVOCADO PUREE

Start to finish: 40 minutes

Servings: 4

1 large Hass avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into eighths

1/3 cup buttermilk

2 cloves garlic, minced, divided

Zest and juice of 1 lime

Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

3 cups shredded Napa cabbage

1 1/2 cups coarsely grated carrot

1 cup coarsely grated radishes

1/4 cup white wine or cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon sugar, or to taste

Hot sauce, to taste

1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into 8 equal pieces

Whole-wheat flour, for coating the fish

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Eight 6-inch corn tortillas

Sliced fresh jalapeno peppers, to serve

Chopped fresh cilantro, to serve

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