Fish Tacos: Grilled Halibut, Kohlrabi in Coriander Cream, and Grilled-Pineapple Salsa

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Fish Tacos PlatedI think anyone who has had a great fish taco, and the decadent Baja fish taco in particular, has fallen in love with the complex interchange of simple flavours, crunchy textures, the dialogue of sweet and tangy, and the pure comfort of food that pleases the soul. Recreating it home without pulling out the deep-fryer, though, is a challenge. So when kohlrabi turned up in my CSA share last week, it got me thinking. I know, everyone looks at kohlrabi and thinks “fish tacos,” right? No, the fish tacos were already on my brain, but I got to thinking whether could I use the kohlrabi instead of the typical iceberg lettuce and instead of the deep-fried fish to bring in that satisfying crunch? And could I use the barbecue to produce a flavourful fish that would stand up to it all?

I have tried with variable success to make fish tacos at home a few times. While they’ve been tasty enough, they haven’t been great enough for me to blog or re-make. I’ve tried cod which was tasty enough but flaked so much that even when made indoors was difficult to produce anything that didn’t resemble catfood on a tortilla. I tried monk fish once which was meaty, for sure, and with good flavour, but in being ‘meaty’ it lacked textural sophistication. So this time, I turned to a fillet of halibut and, because it came without skin, I chose to use a fish cage, hoping it would allow easy and safe flipping and transfer from the grill. I will say, it worked beautifully and it had all the qualities of being flaky, resilient, and stronger in flavour.

KohlrabiSo the kohlrabi. Yes, that was the reveal in the CSA Mystery No4 I presented earlier. It’s an unusual veggie if you haven’t tried it before having the crunch and texture of a fresh apple or even  the interior of the broccoli stalk (to which is related) with a bit of the sweetness and pungency of cabbage (to which it is also related). It is wonderful vegetable, highly accessible, and with a fresh crispness that makes it great part of any summer.

Truthfully, once I started down the path to re-imagining the taco, everything got re-imagined. I thought to myself, why does the ubiquitous sour cream have to be served as a side — why not incorporate it into the kohlrabi and use the cream and kohlrabi to transport the essential cool flavours of the coriander to balance with the warm flavours of grilled fish? Trying to keep the cream light but tangy and fresh, I chose to wrap the kohlrabi with a sauce of Greek yogurt for a refreshing coolness and infused in this both fresh coriander and ground coriander for some extra essence of this herb. Because I wanted the kohlrabi to behave liked shredded lettuce, I pulled out my mandolin to shred it fine. If you don’t have one, well, some food processors will do the trick. Failing this, try your knife skills and, failing this, resort to grating it by hand but accept it won’t be as nuanced.

Next up was how to flavour the fish. One of the challenges I’ve faced with fish on the grill is that it sticks to the grill when you turn it or it breaks and in the process you lose the fish. So my solution was to use oil to create a spice paste — a so-called “wet rub” — that I could use to marinate the fish. There was nothing complicated about this though I did make a few choices along the way that transformed the wet rub into a pure marinade. First, I seeded and skinned a small Roma/plum tomato to add some fibre strength to the marinade — and, secondly, I used a half-cup of orange-pineapple juice to bring some acid to it. The choice of flavours were chosen because of the acidity but also because of the final element of the tacos, the salsa.

Fish Tacos33Yes, the tomatoes are in season and this was a clear option for the salsa, but I wanted something ‘sweet’ to balance out the other flavours of the kohlrabi and the grilled fish. I recalled my success last year of making a Grilled Salsa with zucchini and pineapple, and decided to take this to another level with just the grilled pineapple … with the simple addition of two fresh herbs: basil and mint. I will confess that as amazing as the rest of the fish tacos turned out, this salsa stole the show. Don’t read that the rest didn’t work, because it was awesome — the salsa, however, was just something extraordinary …. which is why I will ultimately post it separately as well as here.

Finally, for a final flourish of colour, I roasted some mini red peppers. This was hardly a necessary ingredient from a flavour perspective, but the purposes of creating these pictures, I wanted some colour … which is the same reason I shredded a small carrot into the kohlrabi as well. I didn’t want a plate of otherwise ‘white': kohlrabi, fish, and pineapple. All of this was served on a soft corn tortillas which added a nice bit of nuttiness to the dish and worked well to pull it all together.

Prep time:   40 minutes, total, including sides
Cook time:  20 minutes
Total time:  60 minutes
Servings:    8

Fish Tacos: Grilled Halibut, Kohlrabi in Coriander Cream, and Grilled-Pineapple Salsa

INGREDIENTS:

Fish:

  • 1 lb (500g) Halibut filletFresh Pineapple
  • 3 tablespoons (45mL) avocado oil
  • 1½ tablespoons (20mL) chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5mL) ground coriander seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1mL) ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup (65mL) or roughly 1 small Roma/plum tomato, seeded, skinned, and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 corn tortillas*

* Note: not all commercially made corn tortillas are gluten-free. Choose your brand carefully if you’re gluten sensitive.

Kohlrabi in Coriander Cream:

  • 2 cups (500mL) Kohlrabi, thinly julienned
  • 1 small carrot, thinly julienned
  • 3 tablespoons (45mL) mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup cup (85mL) Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons (30mL) freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5mL) ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 cup (125mL) fresh coriander leaves, chiffonade
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

  • 1/2 Fresh pineapple (2 cups), peeled and cored and cut lengthwise into 1/8ths
  • 1 tablespoon (15mL) fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 1 tablespoon (15mL) fresh mint, chiffonade
  • 1/2 lime, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 – 1 jalapeño, seed and finely diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt (to taste)
  • agave syrup, to taste (only if necessary)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Begin by preparing the marinade for the halibut and start by cutting the tomato into quarters and by removing the seeds — then use a sharp knife to remove the skin. Alternatively, you can blanch the tomato in hot water for a few minutes and peel it this way instead. Chop the tomato and set aside.
    Chop the TomatoIn a small non-stick frying pan, heat the avocado oil over medium heat. When hot, add the spices (chile powder, oregano, coriander, and cumin) and fry the spices for about 2 minutes until they lightly brown.
    Heat spices in oilAdd the tomato and cook for another minute …
    Add tomato to spices… and finally add the juice to the marinade and simmer for about two minutes until the marinade is slightly thickened.
    Add juice to marinade Simmer marinade for fish tacosRemove from heat and transfer to a non-reactive pan that you can marinate the fish in and place the pan in the fridge for about 15 minutes until it is cool.
    Fish marinadeWhen cool, add the fish to it and then turn it over and spoon extra marinade over the halibut. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
    Halibut for Tacos Marinate Halibut for Tacos
  2. While the fish is marinating, prepare the pineapple salsa. Preheat barbecue grill to 400°F (200°C). Begin by removing the outer skin of the pineapple, being sure to cut out all the little ‘seed’ pieces that are hard on the mouth. Then top and tail the pineapple and cut it in half, lengthwise, and repeat until you have about 6-8 strips of pineapple (it will vary depending on the size of your pineapple). Now you’re only going to need about 2 cups of pineapple in the end, so you can either grill all these pieces and measure what you need, or you can put about half-to-a-third of it in the fridge for another use. When grill is to temperature, lightly oil the grates and place the lengths of pineapple across them.
    Pineapple on GrillGrill for about 4-5 minutes, then turn when nice brown (not black) grill marks have appeared … and grill for another 4-5 minutes.
    Grilling the PineappleRemove from grill and let cool 5-10 minutes.
    Grilled PineappleWhen the pineapple has cooled enough to touch, slice each spear lengthwise again and then cube the pineapple before placing it in a non-reactive container that you can refrigerate.
    Cube the PineappleRemove the basil and mint leaves from their respective stems and roll them together and chiffonade them before adding the leaves to the pineapple.
    Chiffonade BasilFinely dice the jalapeño and add it along with the lime juice and add the salt to salsa. Taste for balance and adjust as necessary: not all pineapple is equally sweet, so you may need to add a bit of agave or, if the pineapple is ‘too’ sweet, add more lime juice. Cover and refrigerate if making ahead or leave on the counter to marinate for an hour or two if cooking the fish soon.
    Grilled Pineapple Salsa
  3. While the grill is still on and hot, you may also prepare the red pepper, if you choose to use it. As mentioned, the flavour isn’t essential, though it is always a nice treat. Ultimately, it is being added for colour, so if you don’t want the work, you can skip the step. Otherwise, cut the pepper into wedges and place it on the grill.
    Grill Red Pepper… and grill for 5 minutes at 400°F. Turn, and grill for 5 minutes more. Remove from grill and let cool. Don’t fret about the ‘black’ part of the skin. This is desirable because you’re going to remove the skin which makes for a sweet, slightly smoked pepper strip, without the toughness and bitterness of the skin.
    Fish Tacos28
  4. Next, prepare the kohlrabi in coriander cream. This is an easy component to prepare. Start by peeling the tough outer skin and top and bottom away from the juicy and crisp interior of the kohlrabi.
    Peel KohlrabiThe only trick is whether to pull out the mandolin if you have one — or if your knife skills are strong, use a chef’s knife. Failing that, use a sharp grater or food processor with a grater attachment.
    Kohlrabi on MandolinIn the end, I prefer the mandolin method for delicate, long, strips of kohlrabi.
    Shredded KohlrabiRepeat with the carrot which is just to add some colour and depth to the dish.
    Shred  the CarrotRemove the leaves from the coriander stems and roughly chop them and add them to the kohlrabi.
    Chop the CorianderWhisk the remaining ingredients together to make the coriander cream and add this to the kohlrabi and mix together. Taste for salt, cover, and refrigerate.
    Add in Coriander Cream
  5. If the grill isn’t still on, heat it up again to 400°F (200°C) and remove the fish from the fridge and carefully place it on an oiled fish basket and sprinkle both sides of the fish with salt now …Place Fish on Fish BasketPlace the basket on the grill, close the cover, and cook for 8-9 minutes … then turn and cook for another 8 minutes until the halibut easily flakes with fork.
    Turn the HalibutRemove from grill and let stand on serving platter while you get the rest ready.
    Grilled Halibut with Chile PasteWhile the grill is still warm, as well, you may choose to quickly warm/grill your corn tortillas before serving them to your guests.Place a spoonful of coriander kohlrabi cream on each tortilla, a “chunk” (few flakes) of halibut, and top with some freshly grilled pineapple salsa and a few pieces of grilled pepper … and enjoy! And, as delicious as the salsa is, don’t go crazy with it or it will overpower the rest of the dish.
    Grilled Fish Tacos Prepared

CSA Adventures … Mystery #4

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CSA_Mystery_no4So this adventure series hasn’t turned out exactly as I was expecting — though I guess that is the whole point of any adventure. My let down is that it just hasn’t felt that adventurous, at least to me — but can I really complain that I’m eating delicious veggies, regardless whether they contain new destinations to discover? I’m still having fun, that’s for sure, and I’m enjoying my summer with Roots and Shoots Organic Farm, and really that is the most important rule in any adventure.

CSA_Mystery_no4_2I suspect that this week’s adventure may not be a mystery to many of you — but mysterious or not, I suspect there many out there that look at this green-eyed veggie and wonder what the hell they should do with it. Well, have I got a treat for you …. but you’ll have to return on Saturday to see what became of mystery number four. Trust me — the wait will be well worth it.


 

 

Tri-Coloured Potato Salad with Feta-Mayo & Bacon-Crumble

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Tri-Colour Potato Salad plated with bacon

We humans have more in common with honey bees than we give them credit — both our species are attracted to colourful food.

The inspiration for this has been a few weeks coming. It all started when I received “red” potatoes in my CSA… or at least, I thought they were red. But when I sliced into them, I saw the “red” (or pink) colour carried all the way through (I would later learn they were “all-red” potatoes. I thought, “Damn, that’s a waste” as I chopped them up for a simple fry-up of potatoes for breakfast. I knew I had to do something more with these, so I stopped cutting and saved the rest, hoping more would arrive — and then, when I picked up my next CSA share last week, they had a basket full of purple potatoes in the “for sale” side.

Purple PotatoesSo I quickly dashed to the car, picked up the wallet and said “I’ll take these too.” I should have asked the price before because this little basket of 5 russets cost me $5 — and I could almost sense a tone of “Sorry” in Lauren’s voice as she took the money from me. Nevertheless, I knew with the purchase my kitchen destiny was determined … and you can see the result.

Tri-Coloured potatoes CutOkay, so a potato salad might seem like a pretty oh-hum recipe to post, but really, when was the last time you saw a potato salad that looked like bouquet of flowers? But take a taste and there are a few surprises in there, trust me … including feta. The feta adds some textural interest, some amazing saltiness that balances the earthiness of the potato, but also brings balance to the other mystery ingredient: Greek yogurt. Yes, yogurt — and low-fat Greek yogurt at that — produces a tangy and still relatively healthy creaminess for the potato salad, hiding the mayo and giving lots of creaminess without 18% cream. Finally, for a third twist in the classic, I topped it with some freshly cooked bacon crumbled on top. Necessary? No, hardly — but as I turned the baked potato inside out, my god that was good. But if you want to keep this vegetarian, simply omit it.

Tips: Make sure your potatoes are thin-skinned. Even if you’re not going for the colours in this potato salad, there is difference between these and baking potatoes which are thick-skinned. As well, I boiled the purple potatoes separately to ensure their rich colour didn’t infiltrate the others.

Prep time:   15 minutes
Cook time:  20
Total time:  45 minutes
Servings:    8

Tri-Coloured Potato Salad with Feta-Mayo & Bacon-Crumble

INGREDIENTS:

  • Tri-Coloured potatoes3½ lbs (1.6 kg) medium potatoes, thin-skinned (3-4 of each colour)
  • 1/4 cup (65mL) feta, crumbled
  • 1/3  cup (85mL) fresh dill, chiffonade
  • 1/2 cup (125mL) celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (65mL) onion, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 mL) chopped fresh chives
  • 1 small clove of garlic, smashed and finely diced
  • 1 cup (250mL) mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup (65mL) Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon (15mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon (15mL) Grainy (old-style) mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon (15mL) cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5mL) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5mL) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1mL) ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1mL) paprika
  • 3-4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
  • 4 slices thick-sliced bacon, cooked and roughly chopped (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Hard-boil the eggs. Place them in a medium pot and cover with water above the eggs 1-inch. Bring to rolling boil then simmer for a minute. Turn burner off and let stand in water for 15 minutes. Remove from water and add to ice bath for 5-10 minutes then set aside.
    Boil eggs for potato saladOptionally fry up the 4 slices of bacon now as well and, when cooked, remove from pan, let drain and cool on paper towel.
  2. Carefully scrub the potatoes of all their dirt but leave the skins intact. Cut the potatoes into halves or thirds so that they are all the same size.
    Cut the PotatoesPlace them in a pot, covered with water, and bring to boil. Boil for about 15 minutes, until just fork tender.
    Note: I boiled the purple potatoes separately to ensure their colour didn’t effect the other potatoes.
    Boil Purple PotatoesRemove potatoes from water, immerse them in cold water to stop them from cooking further. Change the water until the temperature of the water stays cold. Drain the potatoes and let dry.
    Cool PotatoesOnce potatoes have cooled and dried, begin to cube them into “mouth-sized” chunks for the salad, removing any blemishes, eyes, or broken bits and plaice them all in a large bowl.
    Cube purple potatoes Cube purple potatoes
  3. Wash and dry the dill weed, remove the fronds from the stems, and chiffonade them.
    Dice the Dill for Potato SaladFinely chop the garlic, chop the celery, onion, chives, and crumble the feta and add all of this to the potatoes.
    Crumble the feta for Potato Salad
    Make the dressing now by combining in a 2 cup measuring cup the mayo, Greek yogurt, both mustards, vinegar, salt and pepper, sugar, and paprika. Mix well and pour over the potato salad and mix it all in well being careful not to break the potatoes in the process.
    Add dressing to potato saladPeel the eggs and roughly chop them. I use a pastry blender to do this and it works very well to keep them rustically chopped.
    Chop the boiled eggsCarefully fold the chopped eggs into the potato salad being careful not to over-mix → You DO NOT want to break the eggs and potatoes into small bits.
    Mix the potato saladTaste for salt and either serve immediately and “warm” or put it in fridge and serve later.
    Tri-Colour Potato Salad (Plated)Optionally serve with crumbled bacon — or keep it vegetarian and enjoy.Tri-Colour Potato Salad (close up)

Frayed ~ Poetic Gallery

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Spun and strewn
Sewn upon a palette
Loose wisps wound
Impermanent
Frail and frayed
Forget me not
Forever in a moment.
 
© Dale Schierbeck 2014

 

See more of the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Frayed.

Frayed Moss1© Dale Schierbeck 2014

Frayed Moss2© Dale Schierbeck 2014

Frayed Moss3© Dale Schierbeck 2014

Frayed Moss4© Dale Schierbeck 2014

See more photography here ….

Perched

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And now for a very different submission on the subject of silhouettes … while neither man nor boy, neither father or son, there was something truly magical in this creature that captured my imagination for more than a moment.

Beetle Silhouette© Dale Schierbeck 2014

See more photography here ….

Playing in the Shadows

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A different submission than my “Bonded” contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette. Instead, we watch from a distance as some children play in the shadows of one of New Brunswick’s many covered bridges ….

 

 

Playing in the Shadows© Dale Schierbeck 2014

Bridge_Silhouette(c)

© Dale Schierbeck 2014

Bridge_Silhouette(b)© Dale Schierbeck 2014

See more photography here ….

Textures in Wood ~ Weekly Photo Challenge

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Trees — they give us life. They give our world texture.

Perhaps it is the fact I that grew up with trees all around me and spent so many days of my youth playing in them, on them, with them, but, whatever the reason, there is a beauty in them that I can’t get enough of … from their heads to their … to their skin. Burnt, sawed or eaten, they are a textured beauty. Thus this is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture.

Textured Wood 03© Dale Schierbeck 2014

Textured Wood 01© Dale Schierbeck 2014

Textured Wood 02© Dale Schierbeck 2014

Textured Wood 04© Dale Schierbeck 2014

Textured Wood 05© Dale Schierbeck 2014

Textured Wood 06© Dale Schierbeck 2014

 

See more photography here ….

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