Recipes: 'Tacos' In case you were wondering when would be the best time to get beyond the fast-food tacos you grew up with, that time is now.

Recipes: 'Tacos'

Baja Fish Tacos
Ten Speed Press

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These recipes appear in Tacos by Mark Miller, Ten Speed Press, 2009.

Baja-Style Tempura Fish
(makes 10 tacos)

Chile-Lime Marinade
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
10 cloves garlic, sliced
2 serrano chiles, stemmed and sliced
2 teaspoons dried oregano, ground
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
2 pounds firm white fish like tilapia, mahi-mahi or catfish, cut into 4-inch x 3/4-inch strips

Baja Tempura Batter
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice water
2 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1 cup bleached all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
10 (5 1/2-inch) soft white corn tortillas, for serving

Garnish: cabbage slaw, lime wedges, and pickled jalapeno rings .
1. To make the marinade, in a large bowl, combine the 1 1/2 cups water, lime juice, garlic, chiles, oregano, and salt. Add the fish strips and let marinate for at least 20 minutes.

2. To make the tempura batter, in a separate bowl, whisk together the ice water and mustard. Gently stir in the flour, but don't overmix; a few small lumps are OK. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Drain the fish pieces and pat them dry with a paper towel. Have a plate lined with paper towels ready. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat at least 2 to 3 inches of oil over medium heat until it reaches 360 degrees F on a deep-fat (optional) thermometer. Remove the batter from the refrigerator and stir once more. Dredge the fish pieces in the batter, a few at a time, to evenly coat. Drop them in the hot fat, 2 pieces at a time, adding 2 more pieces every 30 seconds (fry no more than 4 pieces at a time). Monitor the temperature of the hot oil throughout frying, letting the oil return to proper temperature between batches, if necessary — to ensure crispness, it must remain a constant 360 degrees F to 380 degrees F. If too low, the fish will be oily; if too hot, the pieces will burn.

4. Fry them until crisp, light golden brown, and floating in the oil, about 2 1/2 minutes per batch. With a fine-mesh skimmer, transfer the fish tempura to the paper-towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil. Repeat with the remaining pieces of fish. During frying, be sure to remove any pieces of floating batter, or they will burn and darken the oil, which will transfer a burned flavor to the tempura. Serve immediately.

5. To serve, lay the tortillas side by side, open-face and overlapping on a platter. Divide the slaw and filling equally between the tortillas and top with salsa and garnish. Grab, fold, and eat right away. Or build your own taco: lay a tortilla, open-face, in one hand. Spoon on some slaw, then filling; top with salsa, fold, and eat right away.

Smoky Yukon Potato Hash With Pasilla Chile Rajas
(makes 6 tacos)

2 dried pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded, dry-roasted, and rehydrated
1 dried guajillo chile, stemmed, seeded, dry-roasted, and rehydrated
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small white onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
7 cups water
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 pound small Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice (with skin)
10 cloves garlic, dry-roasted
1 teaspoon chipotle puree
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground
6 (5 1/2-inch) crispy yellow corn tortilla shells
Garnish: bacon bits or toasted pine nuts

1. Cut the prepared pasilla and guajillo chiles into 1/8-inch-thick strips (rajas); set aside. In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until it begins to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

2. In a large pot, add the chile strips, the 7 cups of water, salt, and the potatoes and simmer over medium heat until the potatoes are just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the potato-chile mixture to a strainer and let the liquid drain off. Spoon the mixture into a bowl, add the sauteed onion, garlic, chipotle puree, black pepper, and cumin, and stir to blend. Serve immediately or keep warm in the pan until ready to serve.

3. To serve, divide the filling equally between shells and arrange in a taco holder. Or, lean the filled shells in a row, propped upright. Eat right away. To build your own, spoon some filling into a crispy shell, top with salsa and bacon bits, and eat right away.

75 Authentic and Inspired Recipes
By Mark Miller, Benjamin Hargett, Jane Horn, Ed Anderson

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Mark Miller, Benjamin Hargett, Jane Horn, Ed Anderson

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