Today was my last day of university for the semester!
I can’t decide whether that is a good or a bad thing. On the negative side, it signals that exams are just a short week of studying away, said week of studying is hardly ever a fun place to be, and I have a WHOLE lot of material to cover in that timeframe. It feels like the end of the year is rushing upon us like a tsunami that you can’t escape from – end of year functions are starting, schools and universities are winding down, and Christmas decorations are already appearing in shops (I’m sure every year they seem to arrive earlier!). It is one of the times that I would appreciate a ‘pause’ button on life. A chance to not feel like a hamster on a treadmill of increasing speed for a few days, to regather my thoughts and senses. I guess that is what our mid-semester break last month was for – but it already seems like the distant past.
But there are also a whole lot of reasons for it to be a good thing. The portend of summer is one: those long, stretched out, warm days filled with beach trips and, knowing me, being supremely busy but not actually having many responsibilities or things that have to be done (though I do need to find a job. ASAP.). Moving out of college (for the final time!) and having a kitchen again is another reason – I am already dreaming of ice cream concoctions (thoughts on vanilla bean ice cream with raspberries, passionfruit curd swirl and meringue shards?) and layer cake combinations (lemon, coconut & berries need to find themselves together somehow).
These spicy fish tacos with grilled corn slaw & avocado-coriander-lime sauce remind me of those lazy summer days, though they would be perfect for a busy weeknight too. Flaking white fish is coated in a warm spice mix, full of paprika, garlic, a hint of chili and brown sugar, and paired with a grilled corn slaw – crunchy and fresh, the slightly charred and caramelized sweetcorn kernels hold up against the sharp coriander and lime dressing. On top goes a vibrantly green avocado sauce, creamy and tangy with lime, a smidge of buttermilk (seriously, it works), coriander and garlic. The hands-on aspect of tacos is the best part – all the fillings are piled inside fresh corn or flour tortillas and everyone can get messy!
I made them for the first time on holiday, which is probably why they aren’t as complex as some recipes that appear on here. With an ingredient list that isn’t too tricky, the tacos are easy to throw together in the half hour before dinner, or double or triple for an outdoor barbecue. I can’t imagine the fresh, zingy flavours and the crunchy slaw contrast with smooth avocado sauce without getting visuals of summer, freshly caught fish and lengthly day-light savings evenings – those warm memories that make me smile stupidly at the computer screen as I type this.
AND they are one of the rare fish recipes (the only other is these Vietnamese Cha Ca bowls) that my youngest brother will consume without a second thought – which means they must be pretty freaking good. He is not a fish person, so anything that gets it eaten is an achievement in our house. The mahi mahi was bought at the markets in Noosa, almost as fresh as it gets, but any other white fish would work well too. I couldn’t help but break out the camera to capture the colourful stalls of fresh produce, which were our source of avocados and corn for this recipe.
Whether you are in the northern hemisphere heading into winter and need a final reminder of summer, or are getting ready to welcome it with open arms and need recipe ideas, you need to give these tacos a try! PLUS they are healthy, so #noregrets when you eat them all, I swear.
- corn or flour tortillas/soft tacos (link to blog), heated for serving
- 800g mahi mahi or other white fish
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1.5 teaspoons oregano
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped or ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cobs of corn
- 4 cups green cabbage, finely sliced
- 1 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- ½ small red onion, finely diced
- finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 medium avocado
- ½ cup coriander, roughly chopped
- zest and juice of 1 lime
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup buttermilk (you could also use plain yogurt)
- 2 tablespoons water
- In a small bowl, combine the paprika, oregano, garlic, chilli, brown sugar, a generous grind of salt and pepper and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, stirring to roughly combine. Add the fish and rub the marinade in, coating the fish thoroughly
- Combine all of the ingredients for the avocado sauce in a food processor or blender, and pulse until well combined and smooth. Set aside.
- Cut the kernels off the corn cobs with a sharp knife. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the corn kernels, season with salt and pepper and sauté until golden and charred at the edges, about 5-10 minutes.
- Tip the cooked corn into a large bowl. Add the finely sliced cabbage, coriander, red onion, lime zest and juice, and olive oil. Toss to thoroughly combine. Taste to adjust seasoning.
- Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the marinated mahi mahi (or other white fish) and cook for a 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Remove from the pan and cut into chunks.
- Meanwhile, heat your tortillas in the microwave or one at a time in a hot pan.
- Fill with fish, corn slaw and avocado sauce. Devour!