There’s an interesting theory that in the summertime heat, eating spicy foods actually lowers your body temperature as well as a plethora of other health benefits such as raising your metabolism, improving digestion, mood and aids in better sleep. For a recent photoshoot I did for Miditto.com, we decided to pair some of their monthly wine selections with a spicy dish – and what better than some delicious fish tacos made with a kickin’ spice rub and a fresh mango-avocado-jalapeno salsa? You can always adjust the heat by increasing or decreasing the amount of cayenne red pepper (or omit it all together if you like the spice flavor without the heat), and to be perfectly honest this spice rub and fruity fresh salsa combination would go great with grilled chicken or shrimp too! We used Tilapia for this recipe but you can also substitute any other mild white fish such as orange roughy, flounder, halibut or haddock. Garnish the tacos with some extra cilantro, jalapeños, fresh cracked black pepper. Some sliced red cabbage would also add a little bit of fresh crunch too. Add a dollop of sour cream or chipotle cream (recipe follows) are both great toppings to cool the spicy heat! For wine pairing, Miditto recommends a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, a bold red Zinfandel, a fruity Rose or a spicy Shiraz to compliment the spicy flavors of the dish. —–
Spicy Fish Tacos
1/2 tbsp cumin 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1/4 teaspoon cayenne 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 pound tilapia fillets 1 tablespoon canola oil 1 cup sliced peeled avocado 2/3 cup finely chopped peeled ripe mango 1/4 cup chopped green onions 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro 1 tbsp fresh lime juice 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper 1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (optional) 1 cup red cabbage, shredded (optional) 1 lime, fresh juice of for garnish 8 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas
Wash fish and pat dry, set aside. Prep all fresh ingredients (chop garlic, herbs, fruit, onions, avocado, etc.) and set aside. Measure out all dry spices (cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, paprika, cayenne, black pepper) and add to a mixing bowl, combine well. Rub spices over fish and let sit covered in plastic wrap for about 10-15 minutes in the refrigerator. Cook fish in a skillet with oil for about 2 minutes on each side (check to make sure the fish is done by cutting a slit in the thickest part. If still pink, cook another minute or so until done). Keep the fish warm tented with some foil on a side plate while preparing the salsa.
To make the salsa, add together the rest of the salt (1/4 teaspon), avocado, mango, onions, cilantro, lime juice, red pepper and jalapeño (if using).
Rub a small amount of canola oil on the tortillas on both sides and heat in a skillet over medium-low. (You can also put them in the microwave for about 1 minute or warm them in the oven at 350 for about 5-10 minutes).
Cut the fish into medium size pieces and add them to the tortillas. Top each taco with a couple tablespoons of the mango-jalapeno-avocado salsa. For garnishes, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice, extra cilantro, jalapeno slices, cabbage, salt and pepper to taste. For a little extra flavor, add a drizzle of chipotle cream or top with a dollop of sour cream to cool the spicy heat. Serves 4. —– Chipotle Cream 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt 1 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise 2 teaspoons chipotle pepper (finely chopped) in adobo sauce fresh lime juice from 1/2 lime Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste In a small to medium mixing bowl, add all ingredients and mix together well. If you like a smoother cream texture, throw everything into a blender or food processor until blended well. Add chipotle cream to a squeeze bottle or plastic bag with a hole cut from one of the corners and squeeze over top of the tacos, or add a dollop of sour cream as a cool topping. Makes 1/2 cup.