Fish Tacos are hardly unique to the Florida keys, but you can be sure that they are a frequent player in the diet down here. I love to make fish tacos because it is an easy, artful way to feed a crowd – which is exactly what I’m doing here this week. My mother is still in town and so are a gaggle of teenagers keeping my sister company. Then there is Mr. FL Keys Foodie who has a substantial appetite. So last night I decided to do my tilapia again, but this time in the oven. It is similar to the foil packets on the grill, but easier because it is all one dish. I covered it with the usual suspects: chopped garlic, onion rings, pats of butter, salt and pepper, and fresh lemon juice. Sometimes I substitute white wine for the lemon juice especially if I have one on hand and not the other. The basic rule is you want some kind of acid (lemon juice or wine), some kind of fat (butter or olive oil – both are great on this fish), seasoning, and (if you have it) the fresh onion/garlic to make the fish as tasty as it is aromatic.
I made stovetop rice, spiced pinto beans, and some other options for the taco fixings. I also wanted to use the rest of the fresh salad items in the fridge, so I made a cucumber, tomato, feta salad and used the rest of the Greek salad dressing. If I don’t have a store-bought dressing (and sometimes even if I do), I make my own. The recipe for this is similar to flavoring the fish – you need your fat (oil), your acid (lemon/lime juice or vinegar), seasoning, and something fresh like chopped garlic or red onion. I have a handy plastic cup with a lid and handle that I use to shake it up (emulsify as the chefs say) and I always get compliments for it.
We also had fresh cut and chilled watermelon slices. It was the perfect, light, but satisfying dinner after a long day of boating, floating, and sunshine.