I like to think that I handle stressful situations well. In my head, when faced with a challenge, I tackle it rationally, come up with a plan of attack and keep my cool throughout. In reality, I look a little bit more like this, running around like a crazy person until finally, I explode in a burst of anger and frustration, usually at my parents (but they have to talk to me anyway).
Things have been rough around here: in addition to the day-to-day busy-ness of work, two breaking news stories in the span of a few hours made for a crazy week. On top of that, my roommate and I are moving on July 31, and have yet to find a place to live (#notideal) so we traversed Manhattan looking at multiple “meh” apartments night after night. And you know, I leave for Chicago in a few days and need to get ready for that …
Because it’s been so crazy, I haven’t spent a ton of time cooking. And when I am in the kitchen, it’s mostly been to throw random fridge items together haphazardly and label it “salad,” a thoroughly uninteresting, unappetizing meal.
The lone exception? These blackened fish tacos. Though they take no time to make (seriously, the longest part of the recipe is waiting for the fish to marinate), they’re incredibly delicious, the kind of “zero work + immense reward” situation that is ideal for busy weeks. Topped with my favorite no-mayo slaw (also super easy and ridiculously good), avocado, red onion, cilantro and a hefty squeeze of lime, they’re perfect for summer, a light dinner that leaves you with plenty of time to enjoy the evening. (Or in my case, see yet another apartment.)
Blackened Fish Tacos
Adapted from Cooking Light
– juice of 2 limes
– 4 6-ounce tilapia fillets, halved
– 1-1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
– 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
– 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1 teaspoon ground cumin
– 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
– 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1 tablespoon canola oil
– 8 6-inch corn tortillas
– 8 cups coleslaw (per the usual [since I put it on everything], I made my no-mayo version)
– 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
– 1 ripe peeled avocado, thinly sliced
– 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onions (soaked in a small bowl of water for 15 minutes if you’d like to take the edge off of them)
– 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
– 4 lime wedges
1) Toss the lime juice with the tilapia filets in a plastic container. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
2) While the fish is marinating, combine the paprika, oregano, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne, chipotle powder, salt and pepper. Once the fish is ready, pat the fish dry with a paper towel (if your fish is too wet, the spice mixture will clump up and won’t stick to the fish). Rub the spice mix liberally over the fish, coating both sides.
3) In a large skillet, heat the oil. Cook the fish on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 3, until the fish has turned opaque and cooked all the way through.
4) While the fish is cooking, warm up the tortillas according to package directions. Place one small piece of fish in each tortilla, then top with the slaw and serve, with the minced jalapeño, sliced avocado, red onions, cilantro and limes in separate small bowls, so that guests can top their tortillas to their choosing.