Eight ingredients. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a weeknight feast for family or friends. That's the philosophy behind our "8 & $20" feature. We hope it adds pleasure to your table.
Can you feel it? Summer is almost here. Almost. (Or, at the very least, spring.) And another way to spell warmer weather is “fish tacos.” They’re good all year round, of course, but totally perfect in the summer, grilled or steamed and topped with a simple pico de gallo or salsa verde (tomatillos, chiles, cilantro and lime juice) and wrapped in a soft corn tortilla.
But here we are in this shoulder season between winter and full-blown spring. So what to do? The answer: Have fish tacos, but roast everything. Get a deep char on the tortillas over an open flame from a gas burner or grill. Make sure the tomatillos and onions get a bit burnt (just a little) in the oven before they hit the blender. Those details will help add a weather-appropriate depth to an otherwise very green and fresh dish.
When looking for a wine to pour with dinner, think citrusy and crisp. You’ll be mostly matching the wine to the sauce and cilantro—everything else is fairly neutral. The good news: Plenty of wines we tried fit the bill, and picking the best was a tough call.
An Albariño from Rias Baixas was terrific, but perhaps would have been better with the superfresh flavors of a non-roasted sauce. Without cilantro on the tacos (a trial for a friend who is not a fan of the herb), a Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio was perfect; this white from Campania, in Italy, was full of lime and lemon notes with a salinity that made sense with the fish. When the garnish was included, however, it overpowered the wine. The favorite from our tasting was a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire region of France: Crisp and citrusy, with enough presence to hang tough with the extreme green notes of fresh cilantro.
Pair with a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire such as Pierre Duret Quincy 2010 (89 points, $15)
Total Time: 45 minutes
Approximate Food Cost: $35
1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Toss the tomatillos and jalapeños with cooking oil and salt, then place on an ungreased baking sheet. Place the onion wedges on the baking sheet and drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast the vegetables on the baking sheet for 20 minutes, then flip them over and continue roasting until they are browned. Take the tray out of the oven and put the tomatillos, onion and one of the jalapeños in a food processor and blend until smooth. Taste the sauce and if you want more heat, add the other jalapeño and blend until smooth. Reserve the sauce in a bowl, season with salt and add lime juice to taste.
2. Place the fish on a greased baking sheet. Season the fish on one side with salt and the juice of 1 lime. Place the fish in the oven to roast (still at 400° F) and cook until done, around 10 minutes.
3. Toast the tortillas over a high flame from the gas stove burner or on a heated grill pan. (Alternatively, wrap them in a damp cloth or paper towel and steam them in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, or until soft.) Cut the remaining 2 limes into wedges. Assemble the tacos with the tortilla holding the fish, avocado slices, cilantro and a generous helping of the sauce and leave wedges of lime for squeezing over the tacos on the table. Serves 4.
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