8-10 speckled trout fillets, cut into 4 x ¾ inch strips*
Kosher or sea salt as desired for seasoning the fish strips
Cayenne pepper as desired (the fish is best when done spicy)
1 cup all purpose flour + 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 cup dark or amber Mexican beer, room temperature
2 egg whites beaten to soft peaks
2 quarts Canola oil for frying
The Tartar Sauce
1 cup real New Orleans mayonnaise
3/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons dill pickle relish|
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Mix all of the ingredients in a small to medium-size glass bowl. Then refrigerate it, tightly covered for up to 5 days, Note: You can thin out the sauce if you’d like with extra lime juice.
The Pico de Gallo
1/4 cup coarsely chopped white onion
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
3 fresh Serrano (or jalapeno) peppers, seeded and chopped
2 ripe medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Kosher or sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
Put the onions, cilantro, and peppers into a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped. Then transfer the blend into a large glass bowl and thoroughly stir in the tomatoes. Finish up by seasoning the mix with about a half-teaspoon of kosher or sea salt and a quarter-teaspoon of black pepper,. Serve either chilled or at room temperature. Note: This salsa is best if served within an hour of making it.
18 soft corn tortillas, 5- to 6-inch size
2 cups green cabbage, finely shredded
2 cups purple cabbage, finely shredded
4 cups shredded Mexican “Four Cheese” Mix
4 fresh limes, quartered
Start off by filling a 12-inch, deep-sided, non-stick skillet with Canola oil to about 1-1/4 inches deep.
Then slowly heat the oil until it reaches 350 degrees on a deep fry thermometer.
Next, prepare the fish batter. To do this you mix together the flour and the teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl then gradually stir in the beer until the resultant batter turns smooth.
When that’s done, gently fold in the beaten egg whites. Be careful not to deflate the whites—you want the coating on the fish to be light yet crusty.
At this point, liberally season the fish with salt and cayenne pepper.
Then, when you’re ready to cook it, fry it in batches of about 3 or 4 pieces at a time.
Using your kitchen tongs, dip each piece in the batter, allow time for any excess batter to drip off, carefully submerge the battered fish in the hot oil, and fry it until it becomes golden brown and is cooked all the way through (which should take about 5 to 6 minutes per batch).
When you remove the pieces from the skillet, transfer them either to a baking sheet or a fryer rack and hold ‘em in a warming oven (200 degrees) until you’re ready to eat.
When you’re ready to serve arrange the pieces on a heated dish in the center of the table. Then next to the dish, set the tartar sauce, th hot tortillas (which you should first heat in a 10-inch, cast iron skillet set over a medium flame), the shredded cabbages, the lime quarters, and the pico de gallo. Finally, in true Mexican tradition, let each of your guests make his or her own tacos.
If you don’t have any speckled trout fillets, you can substitute bass, drum, sheep head, redfish or catfish in its place.
Be sure to select a cheese that includes a complex combination of both Cheddar and Monterey Jack (maybe even pepper jack, if you want the spice).
A heavy, black, pre-seasoned, 10-inch cast iron fry pan—ungreased—is best for heating the tortillas.
With the pan over a medium to medium-high heat, drop in the tortillas one at a time.
Then with kitchen tongs, flip them in the skillet once or twice until they are lightly browned.
Keep them warm on a serving plate in a 150-degree oven.
Oh, by the way. . .just in case you were wondering who Pancho is, “Pancho” is Mexican for “Frank.” Cool, huh?