midnight sun halibut & crab tacos
crispy rice paper wrapped alaskan halibut with leek and dijon mustard
king crab/ meyer lemon garlic mayonnaise
grilled meyer lemon wheel/ shaved fennel/ fresh dill
Alaska Seafood is holding The 1st Ever Wild Alaska Fish Taco Recipe Contest. And since I am a fan of (1) Alaska, (2) the hosts, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, (3) fish tacos, (4) recipe contests, (5) sustainable fishing practices, and last but not least (6) food trucks – this challenge had my name all over it!
Living in Southern California we periodically venture south of the border, so we’ve been enjoying Baja fish tacos for decades. My original Wild Alaska Fish Taco, however, was to be quite different from its southern cousin. When creating the recipe, my first decision was to determine what ingredients NOT to use:
- no cabbage
- no cilantro
- no white onion
- no lime
- no salsa
- no avocado
The second decision was to choose which Alaska seafood to include – salmon, crab, cod, pollack, halibut, sole, black cod, spot prawns, weathervane scallops, or rockfish? I chose the mighty halibut from the halibut fishing capital of the world and the king of all shellfish – king crab.
The next step was to create a flavor profile with ingredients that complement the halibut and crabmeat:
halibut + dill + leek + dijon + fennel + meyer lemon + king crab + mayonnaise + garlic
The last step was to decide how to incorporate all these fabulous flavors and textures in one glorious tortilla while still being recognizable as distant relative of the famous Baja fish taco. To get a light crispy crust the halibut is wrapped in rice paper then fried. The rice paper wrapper also marries the leek and dijon to the piece of fish. This hot crispy “fish stick” contrasts with the cool sweet crabmeat, the fresh crunchy fennel, and the smokey citrus notes from the grilled meyer lemon. The rich garlicky lemon mayonnaise and bright fresh dill are the finishing touches. Just slice, mix, grill, sauté, and assemble – no special technique required to create the one-of-a-kind halibut & crab taco, a tribute to the land of the midnight sun!
midnight sun halibut & crab taco recipe
Slice Alaskan halibut filet into “fish sticks.”
Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and meyer lemon juice.
Set aside, letting fish come to room temperature.
Shave one fennel bulb into very thin slices.
Toss shaved fennel with a very small amount of olive oil and meyer lemon juice.
Add toasted fennel seeds, season with salt.
Sauté one chopped leek in olive oil until tender, season to taste with salt and pepper.
Mix 1/2 c. mayonnaise with one minced garlic clove, 2 t. meyer lemon juice,
and the zest from one meyer lemon.
Grill meyer lemon wheels until lightly charred on both sides.
The entire wheel (including the rind) is edible (and delicious).
Soak a rice paper (spring roll wrapper) in warm water for about 10 – 15 seconds, until soft. Place rice paper on a clean dish towel. Shake off any excess moisture from the fish and place it on the wrapper, spread about 1/2 t. dijon mustard on the fish, then top with sautéed leeks.
Fold the ends of the rice paper over the fish, then roll into a bundle.
Fry fish sticks in canola oil over medium high heat until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove to a paper towel, season with salt while hot.
To assemble the tacos: heat white corn tortillas on the grill or on a comal until hot, about 60 seconds. Place some shaved fennel and two meyer lemon wheels on the warm tortilla, top with a fish stick and crabmeat. Dot the fish stick with meyer lemon garlic mayonnaise. Finish with a sprinkle of fresh dill. Serve the extra mayonnaise on the side.
Good luck to all the participants in The 1st Ever Wild Alaska Fish Taco Recipe Contest! I’m looking forward to devouring all the creatively inspired original taco recipes in February!
Fans of gourmet fish sticks and Alaska seafood might also enjoy black cod black truffle in crispy rice paper recipe too.