When the weather turns hot it’s the time to think of cool foods. Coleslaw, known simply as slaw, is among those. Cabbage salad is from the Dutch term “koolsla.” This side dish consists primarily of finely shredded raw cabbage with a salad dressing, usually vinaigrette or mayonnaise. But what we’re going to do is use this cool food to carry some heat.
Our tacos with slaw recipe calls for chipotles packed in adobo sauce. Chipotle chilies are dried, smoked jalapeños, whereas, adobo is a tangy, slightly sweet red sauce. Put them together in a can and they become a versatile pantry staple. Use just chipotles for an intense smoky chili heat or just the adobo sauce for a sweet-sour flavor and a slightly less fiery smoky heat.
I frequently use Lawry’s Adobo dry seasoning of salt, garlic, black pepper, oregano, turmeric for fish and other dishes. There are a number of commercial dry adobo seasonings but the original adobo sauce from the 1500s acted like a preservative before refrigeration. I think of it as the BBQ sauce of the day; spicy, sweet, sour and so forth. Adobo is the immersion of raw food in a stock composed variously of paprika, oregano, salt, garlic and vinegar to preserve and enhance its flavor. You may want to prepare your slaw first because it needs to marinate for a time before serving.
- 1/2 small head green cabbage, cored
- 1/4 red onion
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 chipotle, packed in adobo, finely chopped
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Kosher salt to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
Using your food processor with the grater attachment sporting the large holes or do it the old-fashioned way by hand or the quick-n-easy-way by buying bag already shredded, shred your cabbage and red onion. Add them to a large serving bowl with the chopped cilantro. Mix the sour cream, chipotle, lime juice, honey, salt and pepper in a separate bowl. Add dressing to the grated cabbage and mix. Allow the mixture to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours before dolloping it in taco shells.
- 1 1/2 pounds crappie fillets, skinless
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 jalapeño sliced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 lime juice divided
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper, freshly ground
- Olive or canola oil for greasing grates
- 12 6-inch corn tortillas
- Lime wedges, for serving
- Fresh cilantro leaves for topping
Add buttermilk, jalapeño, smoked paprika, 1/2 of lime juice, salt and pepper to a large resealable zip-top bag. Add crappie and let marinate for 30 minutes in the ’fridge. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Once hot, brush the clean grill grate with oil. Remove the fish from the marinade and grill for 4 minutes per side. Remove fillets to a plate and break into chunks. Sprinkle with lime juice and a smidgen or two more salt to taste. Grill corn tortillas until warm and soft, plus a few charred marks if desired. To assemble the tacos, place a spoonful of the fish onto the center of a warmed tortilla. Top with slaw and garnish with lime wedges and cilantro leaves.
Crappie Plus Jalapeño Halves, Garlic and Sage
Keeping in the spicy groove of exploiting jalapeño’s tonsil-tickling properties, let’s fry some crappie fillets plus adding a couple of not so kickshaw herbs.
- 4 crappie fillets
- Fine sea salt, to taste
- Black pepper, freshly ground to taste
- All-purpose flour for dusting
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 jalapeño chili halved
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 10 sage leaves
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
Heat a large skillet over high heat to about 360-degree F. Sprinkle both sides of the fish with salt and pepper, and then dust one side of the fillets with a thin layer of flour. Add canola oil to the hot skillet, then add the fish, flour-side down and cook until the underside is done. Add the halved jalapeño, cut-side-down. When the fish is nearly done, add garlic and sage leaves to the skillet and flip the fish. Add butter and immediately begin basting the fillets with a large serving spoon, tilting the pan slightly and spooning the hot butter over the fish until they begin to flake. The exterior should be evenly golden and the butter browned. Transfer the fillets to plates and dine.