Take a look at restaurant menus these days, and you’ll notice that fish tacos are all the rage. It’s no surprise — heart-healthy fish provides a light, flaky alternative to chicken, pork, or beef in Mexican-inspired wraps.
Recently, Todd Marsee, Michigan Sea Grant’s graphic designer and intrepid chef, whipped up a batch of tacos — and burritos — with a fillet of Great Lakes lake whitefish. Here’s how you can follow his footsteps in the kitchen:
“When I go to the fish market (usually the seafood counter at the Whole Foods near my house), I look for fillets that are:
- Appealing (bruise-free, not dried out)
- On sale
On a recent trip to the market, I snapped up some luscious-looking whitefish. A single fillet was the perfect size for making grilled whitefish tacos for our family of four. I went for a wheaty soft-shelled wrap, while my family opted for the crunchy version. Here’s my process:
- Grill the whitefish fillet; I let the meaty side grill for about a minute, then flip to the skin side. I cook the skin side for 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness and size of the fillet. My rule of thumb is to take the fillet off the grill just as it’s starting to flake apart. If you’re new to grilling fish and want some more specific advice, here’s a useful link.
- In a pan or skillet, heat a can of white northern beans seasoned with finely chopped white onion, thinly sliced red cabbage, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder.
- Roughly chop and flake the fillet into bite-sized chunks.
- Spread the fish and beans along the center of a hard- or soft-shelled tortilla.
- Decorate the taco or burrito with chopped fresh cilantro, diced onion, sharp cheddar, chopped tomato, romaine lettuce or spinach, and sliced red pepper.
- Finally, top with some tasty tomato salsa, salsa verde, guacamole, or sour cream.
At Michigan Sea Grant, we love whitefish’s mild, versatile flavor so much that we whipped up an entire cookbook dedicated to whitefish-based recipes. Do you have a favorite way to cook and eat lake whitefish? Let us know in the comments!