I discovered the simple joy of tacos when I was living in California a few years ago. In San Francisco there was Don Pistos in North Beach, Tacolicious in The Mission and then Comal in Berkeley. I know tacos are a thing over here in Britain too, but the Californians execute them oh so well – likely due to their proximity to Mexico, and abundance of fresh creamy avocados.
The tacos I enjoyed in California were always made from 100% corn tortillas , so naturally gluten free (here they are often wheat based). They were also usually bite sized and shared tapas style (rather than a gargantuan burrito for 1) – maybe so you can justifiably eat more of them. The tacos were always piled high with meat, fish or beans and then topped with guacamole / salsa / coleslaw /pico de gallo /sour cream. Best enjoyed with a group of friends and a margarita to hand.
When House of Fraser asked me to develop a recipe to showcase one of their beautiful platter boards, I decided this would be a great opportunity to take a trip down memory lane and create a taco platter.
Rather than try and recreate one of the taco combinations I’d tried in California (alas a fading memory), I decided to start afresh and build my tacos from my resources here in the UK. First I tracked down Cool Chile Co. who make small 10cm (and 15cm) 100% corn tortillas here in London. I went swiftly off to my local stockist to buy them and then somehow in a spell of stupidity didn’t manage to put them into my shopping bag (yes seriously – I’m that stupid), many thanks to Cool Chile Co who came to the rescue via twitter and sent me some as a gift in the post.
Then what to fill them with? With a lack of patience for slow cooked pulled meat, and a desire to get more fish recipes on the blog I was drawn to the fish counter and a loin of MSC certified haddock. Not usually a fish I would go for, but choosing a lean white fish over staple salmon or mackerel made a welcome change. I opted to cook the fish very simply in a parcel with some cajun spices and lime juice, this allows the fish to steam in its own juices and remains very moist.
Then for the toppings I decided to keep it relatively simple and practical for a week night dinner, adding a simple salsa, some tangy yoghurt and some quick pickled onions. Instead of going mango tropical I opted for just in season Spanish peaches to pair with my chopped tomatoes, avocado, chili and lime. Simply delicious!
Maybe not an authentic Californian-Mexican taco, but this is what I love about cooking. Taking inspiration from somewhere and turning it into something new!
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- 200g haddock loin, chopped into 2 servings
- 1 tsp cajun spice
- ½ tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 lime
- 1 peach, finely diced
- 2 x tomato, small dice
- 1 avocado, small dice
- 1 small red or green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
- 2 lime, juiced (or approx. 2 Tbs)
- ½ tsp salt
- A pinch of ground black pepper
- ~8 corn tacos 10cm diameter (I used Cool Chile Co)
- Gem lettuce leaves (for a grain free option)
- 100g natural yoghurt
- Quick pickled red onions (see note)
- Pre-heat your oven to 180C, and prepare your papillote parcels (see video).
- Marinate your fish with the spice, oregano, salt and and a squeeze of lime juice, place in the papillote parcel with a few slices of lime and then seal the parcel. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile make up your salsa by combining all of the ingredients and setting it aside.
- The fish should turn opaque when done, and if you're not confident at just assuming it will be done after 12 minutes, do open the parcel to take a look. It should flake easily. If ready, remove from the oven open the parcel fully, then flake the fish with a fork.
- Warm your tortillas in a dry frying pan, then wrap in a tea towel to keep warm.
- Create your sharing platter by piling all the separate parts onto the platter and allowing your guests to make up their own tacos at the table; a bit of flaked fish, a dollop of salsa, cooling yoghurt and a sweet tang of onion to top is just perfect!
*Disclaimer: This post was commissioned by House of Fraser, who also sent me the wooden platter. I was sent the Cool Chile Co. tortillas as a gift. All opinions are my own