So yesterday, after much coercing from various readers, I set out to buy some Shake’n’Bake. Only my local store didn’t have it, and I was too stubborn to make a special trip to buy something I knew I probably shouldn’t be buying anyway. So the initiation shall wait. Here’s my version, which is more like Shake’n’Fry.
Recipe for Cornmeal-Crusted Tilapia Tacos with Spicy Avocado Cream
Recipe 129 of 365
Here’s a homemade version of Shake’n’Bake, or Shake’n’Fry, really. This dinner comes together surprisingly quickly – the sauce is just a few ingredients whirled in the food processor.
TIME: 30 minutes
MAKES: 4 servings
For the cream:
1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
15 to 20 sliced jalapenos from a jar (to taste), plus 2 tablespoons liquid
For the tacos:
Corn tortillas or taco shells
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
4 large tilapia filets, about 1 1/2 pounds total, cut into 1” chunks
Vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 small cabbage or 1 large head fennel, very thinly sliced or shaved
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
First, make the cream: place all the cream ingredients in a small food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside.
Wrap the corn tortillas (12 4” tortillas or 8 6” tortillas) in foil and put them in the oven to warm.
Next, place the cornmeal, salt, pepper, and cumin in a large zip-top bag. Seal the bag and shake to mix. Add the fish pieces, close the bag, and shake to coat all the fish evenly.
Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom with about 1/4” of oil. When a small piece of fish sizzles when placed in the pan, the oil is ready. Carefully place about a third of the fish pieces into the oil. Fry for 2 minutes per side, or until browned and crisp, and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining fish (you’ll probably need to do 3 batches), keeping the cooked fish covered with foil while the remaining batches cook.
While the fish cooks, place the avocado cream, tortillas, and shaved cabbage or fennel on a serving platter, and when the fish is done, serve ‘em up.