My housemate Jono makes excellent food. Here’s the approximate outline of a dinner he put together at our place as a thank-you for a friend. Tangy lemon and garlic flavors predominate, offset by the the mild buttery flavor of the fish & its beurre blanc; the sweet, mildly rich flavors of the salad; and the denser texture of the Mexcian black beans. This has “a lot going on” and takes a bit of prep time, but each step is easy and the result is fantastic.
Feeds 5 or 6. No “do-or-die measurements here because Jono does stuff by instinct, so just go with the flow. Start an hour and a half ahead of time if you don’t have help, & if you’re doing a shopping list here, don’t forget to get the stuff hidden under the links to the Mexican Beans recipe and the salad recipe.
Important: Do the beets (see salad) and the beans 1 day ahead.
A. The Tacos:
→ Item 1: Fish – Wild Cod in Lemon-Pepper “Beurre Blanc”
Sharp & mellow flavors in the marinade make a beurre-blanc-esque sauce for the cod.
- 2 1-lb packages frozen wild Alaskan cod, thawed
- up to 1 tsp reshly ground black pepper
- up to 1 tsp Hungarian smoked paprika (we used Szeged, which has a mildly bitter flavor, but McCormick is fine)
- 5-8 cloves garlic, smashed and minced (or just sliced ultra-thin)
- ~1/8 to 1/4 c lemon juice
- 1 stick butter
Lay the fish out flat (not stacked) in a glass baking dish and rub with pepper and paprika, then cover with the garlic. Sprinkle liberally with lemon juice until soaked. Set aside to soak in the flavors while you do the kale, then the salad (below). Chop the cilantro & onion (below).
Heat olive oil or peanut oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, then lay marinaded fish in it to sautee. Turn over twice, cooking evenly. Remove from pan, put fish in a shallow bowl, and pour marinade into butter gradually, whisking, and allowing sauce to reduce by half. Pour into a small cup or bowl for drizzling.
Assemble: On a corn tortilla, add kale and fish, top with cilantro & onion, and drizzle a bit of the sauce over it all.
→ Item 2: Kale
- 5 c purple kale
Douse liberally with up to 1/3 c lemon juice (just until visibly soaked), then sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Rub between your fingers — kale is normally bitter and thick, but this process helps break down the fibers, softening the texture and flavor both.
→ Item 3: Cilantro & Onion
- 1 yellow onion, chopped finely
- ~1/4 c to 1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped
Mix, to your preference
→ Item 4: Corn Tortillas
- 2 packages organic corn tortillas
B. The Mexican Beans:
Jono makes his own brand of Mexican black beans that involve a bay leaf, fresh ginger, onion and garlic, but this simple version is fine.
C. The Salad: