My mother told me long ago to travel while “you can still climb the stairs.” She was talking about Europe’s cathedrals and Rome, but I heed her words. Spiraling up Costa Rica’s Guanacaste tree to the zip-line platform over the rain forest, Torrey Pines Beach State Park”s trail traversing to the ocean, the surfer steps carved into the cliffs of Del Mar, or the ocean weathered planks on the Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach, I walk and climb grateful for her dictum.
Southern California holds for me… family, friends, memories and Roberto’s Tacos! For our first meal on a recent visit in San Diego Melodie, Veronica and I stopped at Roberto’s Tacos In Mission Beach. And my memories lived up to the promise.
Aldo our server, gracious, smiling and fun added to our experience. Aldo suggested radishes spritzed with lime wedges and sprinkled with salt, pineapple coolers, and marinated carrot slices while we wait under the street side umbrella tables. Our fish tacos arrive on a flowered paper plate— a flavor fusion of oceanic complexity and initial taste, creamy, crisp and tangy. A virtual tide-pool of interactive undertones anchored in a corn tortilla. (Couldn’t resist!)
Veronica, Kristin, Victoria and I tried to recreate the recipe with the help of a California Pinot Noir. The results are here, and we weren’t disappointed. Ask Bob and Ryan!
Crispy California Fish Tacos Inspired by Roberto’s in Mission Beach.
1 pound tilapia, cut into 4-by-1½ inch pieces (Makes about 12 Fish Tacos)
12 corn tortillas warmed
2 cups Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil for frying
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Veronica’s Fish Taco Sauce*
3 tablespoons mayonnaise or Vegenaise (egg and dairy free)
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon cilantro finely chopped
2 dashes hot sauce
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
In a bowl whisk together.
Veronica’s Fish Taco Sauce*
1 white onion chopped
2 limes cut into small wedges
Fresh tomato salsa
Iceberg lettuce shredded
Guacamole your favorite or Victoria’s Guacamole recipe next week if she sends it.
Rinse tilapia, pat dry with paper towels and cut into 4 inch pieces
In a shallow bowl whisk, flour, paprika, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper
Beat eggs in a shallow bowl for egg wash.In another shallow bowl put Panko bread crumbs
Dip tilapia pieces into egg wash.Dredge in flour mixture.
Dip floured tilapia in egg wash again and then into Panko breadcrumbs.Transfer fish to a waxed paper lined platter.
In a large skillet heat the oil to 350°. Add as many fish as you can without crowding and fry over moderate heat, turning once, until golden, about 3 minutes. Repeat with remaining fish.
Keep fried fish warm and crisp on baking sheet rack in 300F. oven until ready to serve.
Serve fish in the tortillas and start piling on the toppings.