Today is National Tartar Sauce Day and the first Friday of the Lenten Season – how convenient. Let’s face it, you don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate a good Tartar Sauce, right?
Once upon a time, Catholic dietary restrictions ruled. Restaurants created dishes featuring fish and seafood for their “Friday Specials”, public schools featured Tuna Sandwiches for lunch. Of course, that was back in the day before Vatican Two, when every Friday was a day of abstinence. Now that most Catholics limit this to Lenten Fridays, non-Catholics in America get to take advantage of the specials in restaurants and markets at this time of the year. Take a stroll through the seafood section of any grocery store, and just feast your eyes on all the specials. There are great deals to be had on farm-raised fish and wild-caught seafood. Just last week, Hubby and I noticed a massive amount of Salmon for sale. Yeah, we’ll be stocking up, not only for the Lenten Season but for all those meatless Fridays to follow.
My guys are big, big fans of Mexican foods. The more heat the better. So having a Baja Fist Fry for the first Friday of lent was perfect for us. Making my own Tartar sauce made it even better. So simple, yet so delicious. So, would you like one or two pieces of fish in your basket?
Baja Fish Fry with Spicy Tartar Sauce
Jalepeño Tartar Sauce
2 Tablespoons Pickled Jalepeños
1 Tablespoon Cornichons
3 Tablespoons Red Onion
2 Tablespoons Cilantro
2 cups Mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoons dry mustard
Dash of Tabasco
Finely mince the Jalepeños and Cornichons. Place in a small mixing bowl. Grate the red onion, add to the bowl including the juices that have accumulated. Finely mince the Cilantro, sprinkle into the bowl. Add the mayonnaise and dry mustard. Stir to combine well. Taste, adjust heat with a bit of Tabasco Sauce.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Baja Fish Fry
1 lb Tilapia Fillets
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
3 tablespoons Flour
2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
1 teaspoon Coriander
1 teaspoon Cumin
3/4 cup Mexican Beer
Oil for frying
If necessary, cut the Tilapia into 4 equal serving pieces. Pat dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, flour, cayenne, coriander and cumin. Set aside.
In a small, shallow bowl whisk together the eggs and beer. Set aside.
Dip fish into the egg mixture, allowing excess to drip back into the bowl. Dredge in the breadcrumb mixture, then allow fish to rest on a wire cooling rack for the breading to adhere to the filet. Repeat until all the fish is coated.
In a large skillet or deep fryer, heat oil to 350 degrees. Fry the fish in hot oil about 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Serve with tarter sauce. Great with tortilla chips and a couple of beers.