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Video: Head south of the border with fish tacos

  1. Closed captioning of: Head south of the border with fish tacos

    >> one! the power of the "name your price" tool.

    >>> this morning in "today's" kitchen, melting pot sizzling fish tacos. he's known for his judging skills on the food network shows like "chopped" and "chopped all stars," he's here sharing a lighter spin. welcome.

    >> thank you for having me. i'm delighted to be here and i want to enlighten everyone on a traditional dish.

    >> you're making grouper fish tacos, right?

    >> well, it's a firm fish and we have one here that's a whole filet. you want to make sure it's firm, no smell, it has to sort of smell of the ocean. and i think it takes flavors really well. in this case we'll use a little chipotle down the road. and we're going to cook it in such a way and skewer it so it's easy to eat.

    >> in there like that.

    >> exactly.

    >> and then you're going to put it on a hot griddle.

    >> and this has a little oil on it. and a little salt.

    >> okay.

    >> and just season it like that.

    >> you're making a great chipotle.

    >> exactly. just a little bit of salt to bring out the inherent flavor. and then you can put some on the top. look at you go.

    >> i've got a future on "chopped." the first one chopped.

    >> exactly. what we have to use is a glaze. a little bit of chipotle, a wonderful dry smoked jalapeno.

    >> not all that spicy, right?

    >> no. it's about a four on the scale of ten. lime zest. here's a wonderful honey substitute, a sugar agave nectar and a little bit of cilantro. and some residual oil from the roasted garlic and the cloves. nothing better and sweeter in the world than roasted garlic. and once we have that, we're going to zap it up.

    >> okay.

    >> you're a pro at this.

    >> yeah.

    >> you get the idea.

    >> make that glaze, right? so these are still going.

    >> exactly.

    >> how long does it take to cook through? because you want it to be not rubber.

    >> yes, you can always tell because it's going to be firm to the touch. and before, big mistake people make at home, as well, they put on their barbecue sauce too soon. just glaze a little bit like that. and once we have that nice and seasoned, what we're going to do, take this over here to the plates and we're going to start to assemble some tacos, okay.

    >> all right. easy enough.

    >> no big deal . we'll turn that off. and this is a real important part, natalie, when you're making tacos is how they're assembled and all the different layers of flavors. we're going to take a couple tortill tortillas. always corn. it's better for you. the only time you use flour -- these are hot. a little bit of that, the glaze is already there. and if you could be so kind as a nice spoonful.

    >> all right.

    >> and i used the skewers for this reason. when you can remove it like that, it's super easy to eat.

    >> that, the mango, little arugula.

    >> cilantro, radish, a couple here i've done. sometimes you can go with an avocado.

    >> love avocados. yep.

    >> and i'll catch up because i'm behind the game a little bit.

    >> pickled onions.

    >> that sounds delicious.

    >> and this is one of those recipes really user friendly, use them whole.

    >> grouper is such a mild flavored fish. now, you also have over here, what is that?

    >> a little zucchini apple salad dressed with a little bit of peruvian chiles. all great stuff.

    >> before we take a bite, i'll say thank you. a call out, by the way, to all the chefs out there. we are starting a new feature on our website where we are displaying the dishes you cook at home. if you make these tacos or any recipe you see on "today," take a photo, tell us what it is and tweet it with the hash tag cooking with today or go to today.com and your picture will be featured on our website.

TODAY recipes
updated 3/20/2013 6:35:55 PM ET 2013-03-20T22:35:55

Recipe: Grilled grouper tacos

  • For the tacos:
  • 6 ounces grouper, divided into three 2-ounce pieces
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 ounces chipotle agave glaze (see recipe below)
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 3 each baby arugula sprigs
  • 3 each avocado slices, sliced 1/8th-inch thick
  • Mango salsa, to taste (see recipe below)
  • Radish, julienned, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, as garnish
  • Cilantro, as garnish
  • Pickled onions, served on side (see recipe below)
  • For the pickled onions:
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 large red onions, thinly sliced
  • For the mango salsa:
  • 4 mango halves, 1/8 diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 4 ounces red bell pepper, 1/8 diced
  • 2 ounces red onion, 1/8 diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 cup mango puree
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • For the chipotle agave glaze:
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Grated zest of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon salt

To prepare the tacos:
1. Season three skewers of grouper with salt and pepper on both sides. Place on a flat top to cook. Turn in order to brown both sides of the fish. Once cooked, take off the flat top and brush both sides with the chipotle agave glaze.

2. Heat corn tortillas on a flattop to soften and warm.

3. Lay fish skewer into each tortilla (two tortillas per taco). Place baby arugula and avocado slices on top of fish. Top with mango salsa and garnish with cilantro, radish and lime wedge.

4. Serve with pickled onions on the side (see below).

To make the pickled onions:
1. Combine all ingredients except the onions in a heavy medium saucepan and set it over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the onion slices, separating them into individual rings. Let the mixture come back to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook until onions soften and wilt, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Remove the saucepan from the heat, cover, and let the mixture cool completely. Transfer the onions and their pickling liquid to a quart-size glass jar or divide among Tupperware. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Makes about 2 cups.

To make the mango salsa:
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Makes 6 cups.

To prepare the chipotle agave glaze:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Pour the oil into a heavy ovenproof medium saucepan and add the garlic. Cover the pot with foil, put it in the oven, and cook until the garlic turns a nutty brown and is really soft (think cream cheese), about 45 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven and let the garlic and oil cool to room temperature. Put the garlic and the now garlic-infused oil in a food processor or blender. Add the chipotles and sauce, agave nectar, cilantro, lime zest and salt and puree until the mixture is very smooth. Makes 1 1/4 cup.

Serving Size

Makes three tacos.

Recipe: Zucchini, jicama and apple salad

  • For the salad:
  • 1/2 cup mango-aji amarillo puree (see recipe below)
  • Juice of 2 limes (3 to 4 tablespoons)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 4 tender young zucchini, about 11/2 pounds
  • 1 medium jicama
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • Salt
  • For the mango-aji amarillo puree:
  • 1 cup mango puree
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons aji amarillo paste (preferably the Doña Isabel brand)
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
  • Grated zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

To prepare the salad:
1. In a large bowl, whisk the mango-aji amarillo puree with the lime juice, olive oil and cilantro.

2. Cut the ends off the zucchini and slice them, skin on, into 2-inch-long matchsticks. Add them to the dressing.

3. Peel the jicama. Slice it and cut into 2-inch-long matchstick and add them to the zucchini.

4. Scrub and quarter the apples, discarding the seeds and tough cores, and slice the apple into 2-inch-long matchsticks. Add them to the salad and toss gently. Taste and season with salt, if necessary. Divide among plate or bowls and serve.

To make the mango-aji amarillo puree:
Put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and whisk well until the mixture is smooth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Makes 1 1/4 cups.

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