NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

March 14, 2012

Turn to tacos to liven up Lenten Fridays

As many Christians observe Lent, they may discover that going meatless on Fridays — an act of penance — can get a little boring. Coming up with different takes on fish isn't always easy. And there are a half-dozen more Fridays to go.

For something different, try fish tacos. They're easy and fun for kids, too.

Fish tacos are simply floured, battered and pan-fried pieces of fish nestled in a warm tortilla.

They're seasoned with a little kick of spicy cayenne pepper and chili powder. The batter is thin and doesn't puff up when fried. (If that's what you prefer, mix the batter with club soda or beer.)

You can fry these in a skillet instead of deep-frying. Pan-frying eliminates the need for heating up a mess of oil and having that deep-fried smell hanging around.

Once pan-fried, keep them warm in the oven where they will stay crisp. They also can be made in advance and recrisped in the oven.

These are even great as a leftover. I find it best to reheat them in a toaster oven.

The cabbage adds a nice crunch when you bite into these. You can doctor up the cabbage, too, with a splash of vinegar and some salt and black pepper. And if you don't like cabbage, try some chopped romaine.

The cilantro tartar is a different take on traditional tartar sauce that gets some heat from minced jalapeno peppers. If you chop the jalapeno with the ribs and seeds, be prepared — that's where most of the heat lies.

This recipe uses smallish flour tortillas, but you can use corn tortillas if you like. With either one, a good way to heat them is to microwave them. Place several on a microwave-safe dish, cover with paper towel and wrap with plastic wrap. Microwave 1-11/2 minutes. Remove from the microwave and let sit a minute before removing the plastic. When you do remove the plastic, do it so the steam escapes away from you.

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