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Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw and Avocado Crema

Enthusiasts disagree about what makes the ultimate fish taco, but in its simplest form, this iconic dish consists of tender pieces of fish, a little dressed cabbage and a creamy dressing folded into a warm tortilla. Crema is a Mexican-style cultured cream similar to sour cream. Yogurt makes a good substitute, blending with avocado into a creamy sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado 
  • 1 cup crema or plain low-fat or nonfat yogurt  
  • 2 tsp. plus 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice 
  • 1 1/4 tsp. ground cumin 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste 
  • 2 cups shredded savoy cabbage or green leaf lettuce 
  • 1/2 cup diced English cucumber 
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper 
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 serrano chili, seeded and minced 
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro 
  • 2 Tbs. minced onion 
  • 1 lb. halibut or other firm-fleshed white fish fillet, skin removed 
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • 8 corn tortillas 

Directions:

Halve and pit the avocado and scoop the flesh into a food processor. Add the crema, the 2 tsp. lime juice, 3/4 tsp. of the cumin and 1/4 tsp. of the salt. Blend just until smooth. Transfer the crema to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, cucumber, bell pepper, the 2 Tbs. lime juice, 1 Tbs. of the olive oil, the chili, cilantro, onion, the remaining 1/2 tsp. cumin and the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Stir to mix well. Cover the slaw and refrigerate for 1 to 6 hours.

Prepare a hot fire in a grill and oil the grill rack.

Place the fish on a plate and coat lightly with the remaining 1/2 Tbs. olive oil. Season lightly on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill the fish, carefully turning it over once with a wide spatula, until opaque in the center, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer the fish to a platter, break into 8 pieces and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Wrap the tortillas in foil and warm on the grill, about 5 minutes.

To assemble the tacos, place 2 tortillas on a plate and top each with a piece of fish. Stir the cabbage slaw well and top each piece of fish with about 1/4 cup slaw and 2 Tbs. crema. Repeat to assemble the remaining tacos. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Eat Well, by Charity Ferreira (Oxmoor House, 2008).