“What do you mean you don’t like fish? It’s delicious! I pulled it out of the lake this morning. Just try it, I know you’ll like it.” This is what I heard every summer of my childhood while on vacation in northern Michigan with my family. A family in which the men love to fish. So, with the eyes of my grandfather and my dad on me, I tried the fish. Nope, still don’t like it. Sorry to disappoint you but to be perfectly honest, I don’t know how you people can eat that. “Hmm, well try this smoked whitefish then. It has no “fishy” taste at all.” Once again, I acquiesced. Strike two. The question my ten-year-old brain was deliberating was this: how can a fish NOT taste “fishy”? It is, after all, a fish. Can we all just accept the fact that I don’t like fish and move on, please?
Fast forward 20 years. I was in Utah for my good friend’s wedding. The ceremony was lovely, the cocktail hour divine, the sit-down dinner… slight hiccup. “For the main course, we have grilled halibut with a champagne cream sauce.” My stomach lurched. “I can’t not eat it,” I thought to myself “that would be rude. I’ll just choke down a few bites and fill up on bread.” I need not have worried. It was delicious. Light, flaky, and substantial without making me feel full like a steak does. Not to throw any shade at steak. Steak is delicious, but it doesn’t make me feel like going for a nice long walk after eating it. It makes me feel more like taking a nice long nap. Along with my new found love of fish came the realization that halibut is not the only fish in the sea! There’s tilapia, salmon, tuna, orange roughy the list goes on and on.
When fish tacos came on the scene, I must admit I was skeptical. I was indeed a fish convert by then, but fish in a taco? Sounded a bit fishy to me. (sorry, the fish idioms just keep coming!) Back in Michigan for a vacation, I met up with an old college friend of mine in Traverse City for dinner. The Cook’s House is a quaint little restaurant located about a block from Lake Michigan. This is where I had my first fish taco. It could have been the homemade mini-tortillas. It could have been the whitefish, caught just that morning off Grand Traverse Bay, but whatever it was I was hooked. (last one I promise!). Since then, I’ve been brave enough to try my hand at my own version of fish tacos. I can’t give credit for the recipe to one specific source because I blended the best parts of a few I had researched. The one constant was dill, lots, and lots of fresh dill. Also, the thinnest tortillas you can find either flour or corn, and fry them in a tiny bit of oil to give them a little crisp. Lastly, choose your preferred whitefish. I use halibut fillets either fresh or frozen and grill them. Saves me digging worms in the back yard.
(Thanks to Weber.com for Fish on the Grill.)