dear readers, i’m past the point of caring who chooses to defend this statement – but overall, the mexican food in nashville is Not. Good. it is the subject of many a local conversation and frankly, i am OVER the topic and am currently inconvincible of anything otherwise. for the most part, i’ve just given up. unless of course i decide to go it on my own – which i did – but not really. because hey, i have new foodie friends. and they not only love to cook, but they’re extraordinarily agreeable and easy to get on with which totally helps this fledgling relationship because the older i get the more ADD i become which can often make hanging out with me a bit of a chore.
so brad is the ‘true cook’ of the couple, but that joanna… she is very well versed in the art of the knife. and any woman that can happily slice and dice while making interesting conversation in my kitchen? total keeper. there are those that cook in solitude, and i do this most often. no tv, no music. the time goes by quickly and i am more than content. but if you were to offer to help? i’d put a knife into your hands before you could ask ‘what’s for dinner?’ i love to "direct" in the kitchen. and when i win the lottery i’m not hiring a personal chef, i’m hiring a personal sous chef.
we decided to do a saturday night dinner thing, and i had fish tacos on my mind because i just happened to be in the room when martha’s show was on and emeril had just signed his life away, jumping onboard the ‘martha-god’ mothership. so the BAM-man was nervously smiling and kissing martha’s golden ass – while subserviantly making a poblano and avocado salsa to put over his halibut tacos with a grilled corn salad on the side… and well, despite the whole media love-fest freak show happening before my eyes – i was carefully paying attention. because i love me some fish tacos. truly, deeply and with feeling.
grilled fish tacos with roasted chile and avocado salsa
very adapted from emeril via martha (because i can)
2 poblano peppers
1/2 haas avocado
2 T olive oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
juice of 1 lime
1/2 t salt
1 t cayenne powder – or to taste
1 halibut fillet (about 1 lb)
white pepper and salt
olive oil for your cooking surface of choice
8 corn tortillas
cilantro and avocado as toppings
blacken the skin of the peppers directly on your stove top or grill personally, i use a butane torch which works surprisingly well cool, remove skin and the seeds (i let them sweat in a covered bowl and use a tea towel to rub off the skin) add to blender peppers, avocado, oil, water, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and cayenne blend till smooth season the fish and grill however works best for you heat the tortillas then you put it all together and you turn yourself around cause that’s what it’s all about…
grilled corn salad
adapted from emeril via martha
we opted to omit the tomatoes and if i had it to do over i would leave them out again as i think they would detract from the dish.
4 ears of corn, in their husks
2 jalapeno chiles
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 T very finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
2 T mint, roughly chopped
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
submerge the corn under water while in their husks and soak for an hour, then grill the corn over a low to medium heat for about 25 minutes until the husks are blackened. do the same with the jalepenos for about 6 minutes or so. remove husks and silk from corn, remove kernels from cob and place in a large bowl. stem, seed, and finely chop the jalapenos and add to bowl with corn along with the onion, garlic, cilantro, mint, lime juice, olive oil, and salt. stir to combine and serve
brad suggested a side of beans to round it all out and after days of (i am so very sure) relentless hand wringing and agonizing over how he might seriously impress me with a killer dish – he decided upon a red mole which i then strongly insisted be paired with not just any bean, but with my vaquero ‘rancho gordo’ beans and brad happily obliged – not that he had much of a choice after my 10 minute non-stop dissertation on the many and varied attributes of those beautiful heirloom beans of which i have become so fond. i soaked, cooked and lightly salted the beans and brad arrived with a bowl of the mole from rick bayless’s book, ‘mexican kitchen‘ – and quite honestly the dish was phenomenol if not the best thing we ate all night. today, when i glanced at the recipe in the book i saw precisely why that was – as well as why i instinctively winced. it’s a total major production – if not reminiscent of my all too recent and never to be repeated mole making experience. joanna remarked how the mole would be even better the next day and i told her it was too bad that she would never know, and then refused to let them bring any of the leftover beans home – because i am like that. i’ll tell you about the exploding dessert when i am able, recovered and ready to talk about it.
which is like so not now…