The age-old cliché likens our lives to a roller coaster, an obvious reference to the ups and downs we experience along this “wild ride we call life”. I’m okay with that; I can handle coasters like the best of them. I learned very recently that while I can easily stomach the highs and lows of these “kings of the amusement park” (a term I’ve never heard used before, but I assume is a real thing), 8-foot swells in a Zodiac boat are apparently my undoing.
Can you say that? Can you say that such and such “is my undoing”? If so, then that stupid little boat, what with the bobbing up and down (and up and down…and up and down…) was, for me, absolutely just that. Did I enjoy watching all the impressive grey whales we were out on that water to see? Sure. How about the cute little sea otters we came across? Cool, right? 100% without a doubt. That being said, would I have traded that experience in a heartbeat for the ability to simply stand on dry land? Is Tofino, British Columbia, absolutely gorgeous? Did I recently empty the contents of my stomach into the Pacific Ocean just outside of that wonderful resort town? Is the pope Catholic? Yeah, I think you get where I’m going with this…
As I said: it was my undoing. Wow, did I feel terrible.
There was one thing we saw that *nearly* made it a worthwhile experience, though. Now, as a disclaimer, know that I can be extremely immature; I work with middle school students on a daily basis , and it’s safe to say that most of my jokes aren’t really too high brow for them. So anyways…two of the whales were apparently mating…and…we totally saw a whale penis! Yes, I did say I’m immature; and yes, it was pretty freaking hilarious. Our whale watching guide referred to it as a “Pink Floyd”, which made it that much funnier.
So I learned that I may not be the best on the open seas, but I know some pretty tasty ways to cook up what our oceans have to offer. This time its fish tacos, and they are absolutely wonderful (even if I didn’t prep the tortillas properly when I took the photos – whoops!). To give it an even more “west coast” feel, I made them using beer from Phillips Brewery – a popular Vancouver Island microbrew that my wife and I visited on our mini “Victoria/Tofino Spring Break 2016” vacation.
Adapted from Jenn Segal’s recipe over at Once Upon a Chef, this recipe is not only relatively simple to throw together, it also gives you an excuse to eat delicious food with your hands – and it forces you to have some beer on hand, as well. Hard to complain about that, right?
For the slaw:
- 1/4 head red cabbage, halved and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (lightly-packed)
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
For the sauce:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 3/4 tsp. Epicure chipotle aioli mix
- 1/2 tsp. lime juice
For the batter:
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 2/3 cup of your favourite ale
For the tacos:
- 350 g. (~12 oz.) fresh cod or red snapper
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 8 pre-made corn tortillas (or 16 if double-wrapping)
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine together the ingredients for the slaw and toss to combine. Set aside for later.
- In a small prep bowl, combine together the ingredients for the sauce. Stir well and set aside.
- Make your batter by combining together the flour, sea salt and pepper in a wide-based bowl. Slowly pour in the beer, whisking as you go, until no lumps remain.
- At this time, pour enough oil into a medium-sized pot until you have about a 1cm layer at the bottom. Place this over medium heat. After the oil has warmed up, prepare your tortillas according to package instructions (dipping in oil, patting dry, and stacking).
- After ensuring all bones are removed, cut your fish into strips. You’re looking at 8 individual servings, so ensure you have at least 8 mini fillets. As some pieces may be more substantial than others, you may want to cut the fish into more than 8 pieces, then mix and match when serving.
- Working in batches, dip the fish pieces in the batter, allow the excess to drip off, then place in the pot of oil and cook for about two minutes, until slightly browned. Using tongs, flip the fish and cook an additional two minutes. It may be wise to do a small test piece of fish first, and adjust the heat/cooking time as desired.
- Remove the fish to paper towel and pat dry.
- When all the fish has been cooked, assemble your tacos as follows: tortilla(s), sauce, fish, then slaw.