Fish Tacos with a Golden Friend—and the fabulous Salsas!

Her name’s Lacey. I’m pretty sure I met her in preschool, but those days are fuzzy in my mind. However, it wasn’t until high school that we became best friends. Like, “let’s-spend-the-night-together-the-night-before-the-first-day-of-school”, ride-around-in-our-cars-just-to-listen-to-music-and-sing-along, go-on-beach-vacations-with-her-family best friends. Lacey has many wonderful qualities, but perhaps she’s best described as unique–and in being herself, she gives others the confidence to be themselves. I love her. Anyway, Lacey’s been living in Johnson City for the past six years. We’ve remained friends, inevitably growing apart with distance, but it’s always easy for us to pick up where we left off. At this moment, I am sitting on her couch in JC. I’ve visited her here in East Tennessee several times in the past, and this time’s the last—she’s soon to be a resident of New Mexico! One last Johnson City hoorah and a lazy Saturday together in our pajamas.

Before I left Cookeville I picked some red and green tomatoes and a couple of jalapenos from my parents’ garden—knowing we’d put them to good use over the weekend. Boy, did we ever! Lacey and I had a stupendous 10:00 pm dinner consisting of Baked Halibut-filled tacos garnished with Spicy Honey-Lime Coleslaw, Green Tomato Salsa, Mango Pico de Gallo, White Queso Dip, and avocado slices. It was awesome. It was really awesome. The flavors were bright, and the meal was fresh and light. I’m so excited I had to start blogging right after we cleared the table! And looking at the pictures, I want to eat it all again!

Now for the recipes!

Green Tomato Salsa (this is deliciously fresh-tasting!)

2 green tomatoes, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ a jalapeno pepper, chopped
½ a red onion, chopped
2-3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped (a small handful)
juice from half a lime
salt and pepper to taste

Put it all in a food processor. Pulse until smooth (or a bit chunky if you prefer).

Mango Pico de Gallo

2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
¼ a red onion, chopped
½ a mango, chopped
½ a jalapeno pepper, chopped
chili powder (1-2 teaspoons)
garlic powder (1-2 teaspoons)
juice from half a lime
salt to taste

Just stir everything together, adjusting spices and salt to taste.

Spicy Honey-Lime Coleslaw

Olive oil (about 3 tablespoons)
juice from half a lime
honey (1-2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon chili powder
dash of cayenne pepper (to taste)
salt to taste

2 cups coleslaw mix (we had a cabbage-carrot mix)
small handful cilantro, roughly chopped (about 3 tablespoons)

Mix all ingredients for the dressing together and stir into the coleslaw with cilantro to coat.

Lacey’s Baked Halibut

2 8-oz. halibut filets

2 cups milk
juice from half a lime
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder

Mix everything together for the marinade. Sprinkle halibut filets with salt. Pour marinade over the filets and let it sit at room temperature for a minimum of 15 minutes. Sear the fish in a bit of olive oil (skin side down first!) on both sides in a cast iron skillet, spooning some of the excess marinade over the fish to coat. Transfer the skillet to a 375 degree oven and bake the halibut uncovered for 10-15 minutes (or until fully cooked and flaky).

Lacey’s Enhanced White Queso Dip

6 oz. Mexican Dipping Cheese (the white processed cheese product found in the Mexican cheese section at the grocery store), jalapeno variety
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon chopped red onion
½ teaspoon ground coriander

Cube the cheese and add milk. Microwave until nearly melted. Stir in the onion and coriander and microwave until melted and smooth.

Add a chip and it's heaven!

A Clockwork Orangutan, waiting patiently (and sullenly) for dinner

Lacey has gun-shaped ice cubes. Of course she does.

Colorful taco!

Friendly Dinner...much chip-dipping is about to occur.

P.S. All the components of this meal were great together, but each one could be complimentary to other dishes as well. And the salsa and pico de gallo are wonderful summer appetizers with chips!

P.P.S. Lacey, we’re an awesome cooking team!