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Spice up guest meals with grouper tacos

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From tongue to cheek, hoof to butt, traditional to out-of-the-box, even savory to sweet, the filling possibilities for tacos are unparalleled.

It took me a while to get onto the taco train for no other reason other than ignorance. Mexican cooking was not very popular where I grew up, nor was it in our household. But having tasted, traveled and chartered in Mexico extensively over the years, and with Mexican cuisine becoming so popular, I feel like I was robbed.

Grouper tacos by Mark Godbeer.

Grouper tacos by Mark Godbeer.

The ability to serve as a delicious vessel to an array of flavors, whilst being both glamorous or street food ready, make tacos a go-to meal option for every charter — especially when fresh and healthy are on the preference sheet.

This month, I stuck with a more traditional version of a fish taco with a few subtle twists to make it my own. 

Feeds 10 – 12 (depending on portion

For the corn and zucchini salsa:

  • 2 large zucchini, diced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 bunch dill, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 stick butter
  • 2 can corn, rinsed, drained
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper.
  • 2 large tomatoes, deseeded, chopped
  • salt, pepper
  •  

In a large glass bowl, place the zucchini, lime juice, dill and vinegar. Mix and set aside.
In a heavy bottomed frying pan, set at med-high heat, add the cumin powder and stir for 1 minute, releasing the oils in the spice.
Add the butter and cook 30 seconds more.
Add the corn and cook on high for 7-10 minutes, stirring constantly.
Once the corn starts to take on a char, add the onions and garlic and reduce heat to low.
Continuously stirring the pan as to not allow burning, add the cayenne pepper and tomatoes to the pan and cook 1 minute more.
Add the contents of the pan to the glass bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix.
Once all the ingredients are cooled, cover and refrigerate until needed for plating. 

For the spicy guacamole:

  • 3 tsp EVOO
  • 1 tsp chipotle
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 habanero chili, deseeded, finely diced
  • 3 ripe avocados, deseeded, peeled
  • 5 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt, pepper 

In a glass bowl, add the oil, chipotle, paprika, lemon juice and chili. Whisk for 30 seconds.
Add remaining ingredients. Using a fork, incorporate the flavors evenly.
Cover bowl and refrigerate till plating. 

For the yogurt:

  • 1 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 1 grapefruit, zest and juice
  • 1 small tub Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup capers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili
  • salt, pepper
  •  

In a heavy bottomed frying pan set on med-high, dry fry the fenugreek for 1 minute to release the spice’s oils.
Add the juice and zest from both citrus fruits, remove from the heat and pour into a glass mixing bowl.
Once the citrus mixture has cooled, add the remaining ingredients and whisk for a minute. Cover and refrigerate till plating.

 For the tacos:

  • Olive oil for frying
  • 2 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 3 Tbsp Old Bay spice
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 6 10 oz. grouper, cut into strips
  • salt, pepper
  • Small flour tortillas
  • Quartered limes and cilantro leaves for garnish
  •  

Drizzle a large frying pan with olive oil and heat to med-high.
In a mixing bowl, add spices and flour and mix.
In another mixing bowl, add mustard and lemon juice and whisk.
Dunk grouper pieces in the mustard mix and evenly coat.
One by one, add a grouper piece to the spice bowl and dust generously, fry in the pan until golden brown.
Whilst frying the fish, have another pan set to high and grill the tortillas on each side giving them color and texture. 

Plating:

Spread half the tortilla with guacamole, the other with yogurt.
Place the fish where the sauces meet. Top with the salsa and garnish with cilantro and spritz of lime.

C6 GALLEY MESS Salbute03Mark Godbeer, a culinary-trained chef from South Africa, has been professionally cooking for more than 11 years, 9 of which have been on yachts (chefmarkgodbeer.com). Comments on this recipe are welcome at editorial@the-triton.com.

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