On a chilly, rainy day late last October, Shaun went fishing with some friends out in the Chesapeake Bay. At the time, I thought he was certifiably nuts. Why would anyone voluntarily spend their Saturday afternoon being cold, wet, and beaten up by the wind?
But the guys ignored the weather and motored out in search of the day’s catch – rockfish. Despite the weather they found great success, hauling in their limit for the boat within a few hours. It was just off of Bloody Point on Kent Island where they began reeling ‘em in, catching some good sized fish.
Rockfish, or ‘Striped Bass’ as it’s called in some other parts of the country, is a white, flaky fish that has a mild flavor and is a great base for almost any type of recipe (not a “fishy” tasting fish). Since Shaun brought home such a large haul from his fishing trip, we had to freeze some of it for later. That means we have fresh local fish to eat all winter long, woohoo!
We’ve always been a fan of fish tacos, but we had never tried making them with rockfish before. Many recipes call for battering the fish and the end result is a heavy, greasy mess that completely destroys the light, flakiness of the fish. No thank you.
We wanted to lighten things up and keep it fresh by using wholesome ingredients and tons of garden veggies. We started by marinating the fish in a zesty mixture of lime, olive oil, and spices. Then, instead of using store bought salsa, we made a fresh corn and jalapeno salsa. It was the perfect tangy, crunchy topping for the tacos, with just a hint of heat from the jalapenos.
If you’ve never tried fish tacos before, give this one a try- you will be converted forever! The garden fresh veggies in the salsa combined with the light flaky fish is an unbeatable combo. We’ve made these Rockfish Tacos with Corn Jalapeno Salsa quite a few times recently because they really are just that GOOD! Shaun may need to get back out on the Chesapeake Bay to catch some more rockfish soon, because at this pace, our freezer will be empty in no time!
Rockfish Tacos with Corn Jalapeno Salsa
INGREDIENTS FOR THE FISH TACOS:
2 medium sized fillets of rockfish, cut into 1″ cubes (note: we didn’t have an exact quantity because ours were freshly caught, just use your best judgment)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 lime, juiced
1 can Chipotles in Adobo
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup rice flour
TO ASSEMBLE & GARNISH:
Corn and Jalapeno Salsa (see below for recipe)
1/2 head of red cabbage, shredded
Taco or Tortilla shells, your preference (we use a Gluten Free variety)
Cheese, we don’t always top with cheese, but when we do we like Cotija
1. To create the marinade, combine the olive oil, white wine vinegar, lime juice, 2 Tbsp of the Adobo sauce, sea salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne into a medium sized bowl.
2. Place the fish into the marinade, cover, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
3. Once the marinating process is complete, remove the fish and place into a large Ziploc bag. Add the rice flour and shake gently to coat the fish.
4. Take the fish out of the bag and lightly shake off the excess flour.
5. In a large saute pan on medium heat, pan sear the rockfish until the pieces are light golden brown and cooked all the way through. Note: If you are concerned about the fish sticking to the pan, you may want to add just a smear of butter to the base of your pan prior to cooking the fish.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE CORN JALAPENO SALSA:
1 cup frozen organic sweet corn, thawed (note: fresh corn would be even better when it’s in season!)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced into quarters
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. Tobasco sauce
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Stir to mix the ingredients. Serve chilled.(It’s better after sitting in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavors all marinate together. We make the salsa in the morning and serve it that night at dinner.)