Since discovering a quick and foolproof way to cook tilapia to perfection a couple of months ago, I’ve been fairly obsessed with making fish tacos topped with fruity salsa. So it seemed a no brainer to add them to the menu for my mom’s recent weekend visit. As I mentioned in a recent post, her diet is almost the exact opposite of mine, favoring protein and fats over carbs, and so I was looking for recipes that would fit into that little area of overlap. Fish tacos seemed like a good answer, as I could have them in the traditional way (tortilla and all), whereas mom could just have the fish topped with salsa.
We hit the farmer’s market that morning with a rough idea of a recipe for a fruity salsa, but with an open mind as to exactly what fruits and veggies would go into it. Mom quickly declared that the Seascape strawberries from one of the local growers were the best she’s ever had and given that berries were one of the few fruits permitted on her diet, we decided to boldly try a strawberry salsa. I convinced her to let me sneak a little bit of orange in to give it a citrus kick (even though citrus is technically verboten to her) and she was more than happy to include fresh California avocado as the final main ingredient. Using this recipe from Epicurious as the base, I whipped up the tacos that night (and the next) to great acclaim. I’ve never been a huge seafood person, but I could eat these again and again. I’m looking forward to trying variations on this salsa with all of the wonderful fruit that’s now coming into season.
Tilapia with strawberry-citrus-avocado salsa (serves 4)
2 cups finely diced fruit such as strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, mango, or papaya
2 California avocados, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 fresh serrano or jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
4 mild fish filets (like tilapia)
sprinkle of kosher salt
1-2 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup flour (or as needed)
8 soft taco-size flour torillas (if you want to make tacos)
1. To make the salsa, simply combine all ingredients in a medium size bowl and toss gently until well combined. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Pat fish dry and season both sides generously with salt. Let fish stand for about 5 minutes, until it glistens with moisture.
3. Place the flour in a pie plate and dredge fish in flour. Shake off any excess.
4. Heat 1-2 tbsp oil in skillet over high heat. Add 1-2 tbsp butter and heat until foaming subsides. Reduce heat to medium and add fish to pan. When bottom of fish is golden brown, use two spatulas to gently flip fish. Continue to cook to desired doneness.
5. If you want to make tacos, while the fish is cooking, warm soft taco-size tortillas in the oven at ~250 degrees, being sure not to burn them. When fish is done, cut into large bite-size pieces (about 6 per tilapia filet) and divide among tortillas. Top with a generous helping of salsa and fold in half. Garnish with additional cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!