Beer Battered Fish Tacos with Pomegranate Guacamole
The first time I had fish tacos I was somewhere off the coast of Mexico. I was 17, sunburned and a little confused. After a few crumbled pesos changed hands I was hastily pushed onto a boat, clung to an orange vest for about twenty minutes and gratefully exited the floating death trap onto the beach of what looked like an uninhabited country.
A small woman with sun-leathered featured stood watch near a metal grate set over a hole in the ground. From the beach I could see the flames jumping up to lick the shrimp she was tending. I didn’t say a word, hunger pushing towards the wooden bench in the designated eating area. The other castaways that had ended up on the boat with me followed suit.
The “tour” guide shoved a Corona into one of my hands, not bothering to inquire if I wanted it, and motioned to a bowl of pickled radishes and carrots on the table. A few minutes later a wooden plated piled high with grilled shrimp was set in the middle of the rickety plastic table, along with a stack of homemade corn tortillas, a bowl of diced onions, a bit of cilantro and modified ketchup bottled that had been reused as a homemade hot sauce dispenser.
I didn’t care that the health department in the US would have had a heart attack looking at this place, I didn’t care that there was clearly no running water, gloves or hand washing options. I didn’t care that I had no idea where the shrimp came from. I was starving.
I chugged my sub-par beer, and ate my weight in beer battered fish tacos.. They were amazing. The hot sauce was the best I’ve ever had, and the tortillas were perfect. Since then, I want my tacos simple. Homemade tortillas, some diced onions, maybe some hot sauce or guacamole. No lettuce. No cheese. No sour cream. No ground beef.
But I’ll put pomegranate on anything and beer, beer is always a must.
- 2 cup masa harina (corn flour)
- ½ tsp salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 cup room temperature beer
- 2 large avocados
- juice from one lime
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped (plus additional for tacos)
- ¼ cup red onion, chopped (plus additional for tacos)
- 1 cup flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup pale ale
- Oil for frying
- 1 pound cod, cut into 3 inch strips
- In a large bowl, add the masa and the salt, stir to combine.
- Add the beer and oil, stir to combine. If the dough is too dry to hold together, add additional beer or water. If it is too wet, add more Masa. (It should be the consistency of soft Play-Doh)
- Form into balls a bit larger than golf balls.
- Prepare a tortillas press by wrapping in plastic wrap or covering with parchment paper (you can place tortilla ball between two sheets of parchment and use a rolling pin). Place one ball in the center.
- Press, rotate and press again until thin.
- Heat a griddle (or cast iron skillet) to a medium high heat (about 350 for electric griddles).
- Cook until slightly brown on the bottom (about 30 seconds to a minute) flip and cook on the other side. Don’t overcook.
- Add the flesh of the avocado, lime juice, garlic powder, chili powder and salt to a bowl, smash until well combined. Stir in the pomegranate seeds, cilantro and red onions.
- In a medium bowl add the flour and salt. Make a well in the center, add the egg and beer. Stir with a fork until just combined.
- Heat about 2 to 3inches of oil in a pot over medium high heat. Bring to 350 degrees using a deep fry thermometer, adjust heat to maintain that temperature.
- One at a time dip the fish strips into the batter until well coated. Add to the oil, fry until golden brown on all sides.
- Fill the tortillas with fish, guacamole and sprinkle with onions and cilantro.