Chef’s Recipe: Lisa Ahier’s Killer Fish Tacos with Fresh Fruit Salsa
Chef Lisa Ahier was our guest on Anna & Kristina's Grocery Bag and helped us taste test The New Moosewood Cookbook. She also shared this spicy taco recipe with us, with its fabulous and unexpected flavour combinations!
“I developed this recipe while I was attending the Culinary Institute of America. I missed the Mexican flavours of my home state of Texas – in New York, I couldn’t get a good taco to save my life! After a ton of experimentation, I incorporated them into my menus at Cibolo Creek Ranch, and they’ve been my signature dish ever since. This recipe has been published in The Gourmet Cookbook (edited by Ruth Reichl) and in Houghton & Mifflin’s America’s Best Recipes of 2000.” – Lisa Ahier
Makes 8 servings.
16 taco shells
1 pound halibut fillet, medium diced
1 pound wild salmon fillet, medium diced
¼ cup chipotle chiles canned in adobo, puréed
1 cup red onion, small diced
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 cup kiwi fruit, small diced
1 cup pineapple, small diced
1 cup mango, small diced
1 cup papaya, small diced
2 avocados, small diced
½ cup cilantro, chopped
Prepare the fruit salsa by dicing the ingredients small enough to fit into a prepared taco shell (i.e. smaller than a fruit salad, but not so small that the fruit turns to mush). Combine the fruit, avocado and cilantro. Refrigerate until ready to use. Use within 24 hours, before the fruit starts to break down.
The salsa should reflect the season: in the summer I use peaches and blueberries; in autumn, pears and apples; in winter, pineapples. If you intend to prepare the salsa in advance, don’t add the avocado until immediately before serving, as avocado turns brown quickly.
Dice the red onion and purée or finely chop the chipotles.
If your fishmonger hasn’t already done it, skin and de-bone the fish fillets.
I’ve always tweaked this recipe according to what fish is readily available: in New York I used snapper and in Texas I used bass. Here in BC, salmon and halibut have become my all-time favourites. Don’t be a slave to the recipe; buy what’s fresh and nice.
Dice the fish into 1-inch pieces. Pat dry and season with kosher salt.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over moderate-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for one minute, then add the fish and fry for about 3 minutes until just cooked. Add the chipotle chiles, stir for 1 more minute and remove from heat.
Fill taco shells about halfway with fish mixture, then top with fruit salsa. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing on top of taco. Serve immediately.
I love to pair these tacos with a lovely bed of greens with just a little olive oil and lime juice. Serving them with traditional Mexican beans and rice is wonderful as well – or simply in the hand alone is refreshing.