I’ve never met a fish taco I didn’t like. But I’ve also never met one I could make. Until now.
There are two reasons why I love everything my friend and trainer, Jodie Kofod, cooks. One, I didn’t make it. Two, Jodie’s meals are healthy without tasting healthy. Dress tofu up any way you want, but it’s still a protein sponge. See, my rule is if you have to marinate, deep fry, bread or baste something just to make it edible, it’s most certainly not good (I’m talking to you, fried alligator bites).
So when Publix asked me to share a quick, healthy meal for runners, I knew I had to call on Jodie–who holds certification from AFAA NETA ACE, Johnny G Spin, TRX and kickboxing, as well as nutrition certifications–and my other girlfriend and workout buddy, Alli. In addition to being more fun than a bottle of tequila on a bus with the Rolling Stones (Jodie knows from actual experience), Alli owns a beautiful home that, unlike mine, has “things to cook with.” Things like pans, bowls and salt.
My parameters for the recipe were simple:
- It has to be easy (for obvious reasons)
- It has to be quick
- It has to taste good
- Everything has to be readily available at my Publix
- It has to be gluten-free, not because I have celiac disease, but because gluten sends me dashing into the woods about every two miles, but that’s another post for another time.
“How do fish tacos sound?” Jodie offered.
I love fish tacos. Perfect.
“So, corn tortillas, fish and salsa?” Cool, I can do that.
“Not exactly,” she replied, looking at me like I just blew my nose in her gym towel.
She texted me the grocery list (I’ve added the price points):
- Fresh fish, do not attempt alone—ask woman behind the counter ($18.32, I’ll explain)
- 2 Publix canned black beans ($1.70)
- Sriracha ($2.99)
- Margarita mix ($4.09)
- Publix fresh salsa ($3.49)
- Romaine lettuce ($1.99)
- 2 Limes ($1.00)
- Avocado ($1.00)
- Cilantro ($0.99)
- Corn tortillas ($2.15)
- Plain Greek yogurt, large ($3.00)
- Sauvignon blanc, obviously ($11.99, don’t judge)
Total damage: $52.71, plus whatever the government wants.
The helpful woman behind the Publix fish counter suggested tilapia for fish tacos, but I recently had a bad run-in with the species when I attempted to make it at home without supervision. So I asked what else would work. She recommended “any sturdy white fish,” and pointed to a large fillet of something called “corvina” from Argentina. It was about $10 pricier, but hey, it wasn’t tilapia.
When I got to Alli’s, the cooking lesson commenced. But first thing’s first. Pour the wine.
From there, Jodie instructed us to poach the fish. Since I thought poaching meant killing a protected animal, I just stared at her.
“Put the fish in a microwave-safe bowl and pour in a bunch of the margarita mix,” she explained. Then we salted it, snipped some cilantro on top, covered the dish with plastic wrap and popped it in the microwave. No measuring and, yes, the microwave. Totally my jam.
The cooking time depends on the size of the fillet, so we put it in for a few minutes, checked it and kept blasting it with radiation until it flaked apart—all in all, less than 15 minutes. During that time, we made this crazy-delicious sauce, mixing equal parts plain Greek yogurt and Sriracha and squeezed the juice of two limes. Sounds disgusting, looks like flesh, tastes like Heaven.
We flaked the fish into doubled-up corn tortillas, topped with rinsed black beans, slices of avocado, more cilantro, Sriracha, romaine, the pre-made salsa and a dollop of the not-so-secret-now sauce. I think I ate five. But this recipe could easily feed four to six normal human beings.
Then Jodie started to riff on the recipe. “You can actually make them three ways,” she said. “You can wrap them in tortillas, like we did here, or you can put them in lettuce wraps or little baked corn-tortilla cups.”
We pulled long leaves from the romaine and assembled the tacos sans tortilla. Then Jodie showed us how to make the “bowls” by flipping over a muffin tin, coating it with cooking spray and tearing and stuffing the tortillas into the negative space between the muffin forms to create bowls. She baked them on low for a few minutes until they were just starting to lightly brown on the edges. I preferred the soft-corn tortillas for no other reason that it was the easiest; but variety is cool, too, if you’re an overachiever.
I am not. But Mom, now I can make a pretty bad-ass fish taco, three ways.
Oh, and there’s video, too. So check back in two days and prepare to be…something. Amazed? Appalled? Embarrassed for us? Probably all of the above.
And here’s the 2-step bonus: (1) Follow “On the Road” on Facebook and (2) find and share this post, and you’ll be entered to win a $25 gift certificate to Publix (and if you buy the tilapia and even cheaper wine, you’re covered). Drawing will be Monday, March 28, just in time for you to whip up this pre- or post-race meal for the Publix Savannah Women’s Half & 5K on April 2nd! See you there!