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Snapper Fish Tacos

Don’t worry if the fillets break during grilling; they will be flaked into smaller pieces before serving. If this occurs, transfer them to a sheet of heavy-duty foil and finish grilling over a less hot part of the grill.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 jalapeño chilies, quartered lengthwise and seeded
  • 6 boneless, skinless snapper or other firm white fish fillets, each 4 to 5 oz.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 12 to 16 corn tortillas, each 6 inches in diameter
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh salsa
  • Chopped onions for serving (optional)
  • Chopped tomatoes for serving (optional)
  • Chopped cucumbers for serving (optional)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for serving (optional)
  • Hot-pepper sauce, to taste
  • 1 handful of hardwood chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes

Directions:

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Brush and oil the grill grate.

In a small bowl, stir together the chilies and the 1 Tbs. oil. Brush the fish with oil and season with salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the tortillas until warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes. Wrap in foil or a kitchen towel to keep them warm.

For a charcoal grill: Sprinkle the wood chips over the coals. Place the chilies over the hottest part of the fire. Grill, turning once, until nicely charred, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Grill the fish over the hottest part of the fire until opaque and nicely charred, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a wide spatula, carefully turn the fish and grill until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more.

For a gas grill: Increase 1 burner to high. Heat a smoker box half full of wood chips until smoking, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Place the chilies over the heating elements. Grill, turning once, until nicely charred, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Grill the fish over the heating elements until opaque and nicely charred, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a wide spatula, carefully turn the fish and grill until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more.

Roughly chop the grilled chilies and place them in small bowl. Squeeze 1 or 2 lime wedges over them and stir to coat.

Transfer the fish to a board and flake each fillet into small pieces. To assemble the grilled fish tacos, place several pieces of fish and some grilled chilies atop 2 stacked warm corn tortillas. Top with the lettuce, salsa, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and cilantro. Garnish with a few dashes of hot-pepper sauce and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma On the Grill, by Willie Cooper (Oxmoor House, 2009).