Grilled Tuna Tacos & Salsa Verde

Tacos are fun. They’re eat-while-standing-up food. They’re perfect-with-alcohol food…they’re party food.

I’ve always loved tacos—tacos (or spareribs) were my favorite dinner as a child, and they remain so to this day. I don’t, however, make tacos often. I’m not sure why, since they are easy as pie (much easier actually). I think it may be some deep-seated masochistic self-hatred—or maybe I just like to keep my favorite things special. Whatever the reason, it needs to stop.

Tacos should be eaten regularly. There’s so many different approaches to a taco that you could eat tacos everyday for months without getting bored (though you may put on a few pounds!). You have your pork, beef, or chicken tacos, your fish tacos, bean tacos—I’ve even heard of chocolate tacos. The possibilities of different cheeses, sauces, vegetables, and even fruit that can go into your tacos is endless. Then you can pick from soft tacos, or puffy tacos, or hard, crackly ones. There’s no reason that one shouldn’t have tons of tacos. The more tacos, the better, and the more people that you share them with, the merrier. Tacos are perfect party food—everyone loves them, and they leave the hostess free to party it up with her friends. There’s something wonderfully fun and inviting about setting out a bunch of bowls and accouterments for your guests and letting them put their plates together. It makes dinner a bit of a game.

But, I feel like I’ve become a bit of a Taco PR-girl, so I’ll end this post shortly—after recommending, of course, these tacos. They may be a bit more difficult than pie—since you make the salsa verde and the cabbage slaw from scratch—but they are absolutely worth the effort, making themselves my favorite tacos ever (and that’s an accomplishment!).

The salsa verde is bright, tangy and able to cut right through the creamy lime mayonnaise slaw. The onions, which I used to marinate the (very fresh) tuna and then used to top the grilled tuna tacos, are softened through the marinating—they retain a bit of onion-bite but aren’t offensive. If you’re unsure about eating onions that touched raw fish, reserve some of them for serving before you add to the raw tuna.

I suggest you taste the salsa verde before adding the sugar and the chicken broth—I found I didn’t need much sugar (I used 1/4 tsp) because my tomatillos were sweet, and I didn’t use as much chicken broth as the recipe called for (I used 1/2 cup) because I didn’t want to dilute the bold, punchy flavor.

Finally, I urge you to fry your tortillas. It’s a celebration, right? Screw your diet!

Grilled Fish Tacos

serves 4//from Bon Appetit May 08

  • 2 cups chopped white onion, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 1 pound tilapia, striped bass, or sturgeon fillets*
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Corn tortillas
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, sliced
  • 1/2 small head of cabbage, cored, thinly slice
  • Salsa Verde
  • Lime wedges

Stir 1 cup onion, 1/4 cup cilantro, oil, 3 tablespoons lime juice, orange juice, garlic, and oregano in medium bowl**. Sprinkle fish with coarse salt and pepper. Spread half of onion mixture over bottom of 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange fish atop onion mixture. Spoon remaining onion mixture over fish. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Turn fish; cover and chill 30 minutes longer. Whisk mayonnaise, milk, and remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice in small bowl.***

Brush grill grate with oil; prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill fish with some marinade still clinging until just opaque in center, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Grill tortillas until slightly charred, about 10 seconds per side.

Coarsely chop fish; place on platter. Serve with lime mayonnaise, tortillas, remaining 1 cup chopped onion, remaining 1/2 cup cilantro, avocados, cabbage, Salsa Verde, and lime wedges.

*I used tuna steaks.

**I used all the onions, then marinated the fish and used the marinade for a topping afterwards. Come on, you eat sushi, right?

***Instead of serving the cabbage and lime mayonnaise separately, I combined them and served as a slaw.

Salsa Verde

3 unpeeled garlic cloves
1 pound fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed
1 small onion, quartered through root end
3 to 6 serrano chiles or 2 to 4 jalapeƱo chiles
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon (or more) sugar*
Coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup low-salt chicken broth**
2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lime juice
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat).*** Thread garlic onto skewer. Grill garlic, tomatillos, onion quarters, and chiles until dark brown spots form on all sides, about 9 minutes for onion, 6 minutes for tomatillos and chiles, and 4 minutes for garlic. Cool. Peel garlic. Trim core from onion. Scrape some of burnt skin off chiles; stem. Seed chiles for milder salsa, if desired. Coarsely chop onion, chiles, and garlic. Transfer tomatillos and all vegetables to blender. Add cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon sugar; puree until smooth. Season to taste with coarse salt.

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over high heat. Carefully add tomatillo mixture (juices may splatter). Stir until slightly thickened, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add broth and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until mixture measures 2 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and more sugar and lime juice, if desired. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, then cover and chill.

*I used 1/4 tsp.

**I used 1/2 cup.

***I made everything (successfully I should think) on a cast-iron grill pan.