Summer Days: Grilled Halibut Tacos with Mango Avocado Salsa

Halibut tacos.TheCubanReuben.comFor many of us, Labor Day weekend marks the end of the summer months. I’m happy to report that Kenny and I made the absolute best of summer this year. For us, summer really began in May, when Kenny graduated from business school after three long years of working during the day and studying at night.

KennysGraduation

I definitely earned this post-graduation moment right here.

We started by visiting Kenny’s parents in his hometown of Columbus, OH, where we ate our weight in Graeter’s ice cream, and experienced a true Midwestern fourth of July celebration. From there, we ventured to Indianapolis, IN to welcome our family’s newest addition to the tribe, baby Esther Rose Stempel. Kenny and I soaked up the time with our nephews and niece as best we could, because we don’t get to see them very often.

Uncle Ken shows Eli how to make the trains run. There may be another engineer in the family, soon!

Uncle Ken shows Eli how to make the trains run. There may be another engineer in the family, soon!

We enjoyed pizza parties, pasta-making parties, bachelor parties, and more parties than I think our geriatric selves have experienced in our lifetime. A particular highlight was “Pizza and Path” at the Saly Cortile Cucina, hosted by Matt and Dana Saly. They invited a fabulous group of their friends to enjoy a night of fresh pizza and fine tunes by an old favorite of mine, Joshua Path (aka, Josh Bloomberg). We shared memories of old camp days and even sang some of the songs we remembered, while Josh introduced me to some of his newer melodies.

Dena Zelig and I huddle up with our fave rocker, Joshua Path. He's even better than I remembered!

Dena Zelig and I huddle up with our fave rocker, Joshua Path. He’s even better than I remembered!

And what’s a summer with Kenny Stempel without a little fishing? In early August, Kenny and I joined our extended family for a memorable fishing trip in Mammoth Lakes, CA. We hit up June Lake and Convict Lake, and had a wonderful time relaxing on the pontoon while we caught some trout.

He doesn't get more relaxed than this!

He doesn’t get more relaxed than this!

One of Summer’s greatest highlights for Kenny was the fishing trip he took with my dad to Alaska. Similarly to the trip that Kenny and my dad took a couple years ago, this year’s trip produced a freezer full of fish I barely know what to do with. This time around, in addition to the loads of salmon, Kenny gifted me with another prized catch, as well: fresh Alaskan halibut. Despite my disdain for all things fishy fish, this is actually good news, as halibut really does have a relatively mild flavor, which of course, makes it easier for me to enjoy my intake of omega-3’s.

Halibut tacos aerial.TheCubanReuben.com

The colorful display of tacos.

The moment Kenny walked through the door with loads of this freshly caught fish, I went to work dreaming up a recipe that aims to please. I created a citrus-heavy marinade for the fish that is balanced perfectly with the sweet and savory mango avocado salsa that decorates the top of the taco, and makes for one ridiculous bite-ful of goodness.   I can’t think of a better way to keep the summer going than by whipping up this recipe that, simply put, tasted like summer. No matter the time of year, one bite from these babies, and you’ll be right back smack in the middle of your own favorite summer memory, too.

 

Grilled Halibut Tacos with Mango Avocado Salsa
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 3-4
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
The savory flavors of this grilled fish pair perfectly with the sweet fruit salsa.
Ingredients
For the fish
  • 12 oz Alaskan Halibut fillets
  • 2 tsp lime zest
  • 1 whole lime, juiced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ⅛ tsp paprika
  • ⅛ tsp chili powder
  • ⅛ tsp cumin
  • pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
For the salsa
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped minced red onion
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the tacos
  • 6 taco-sized tortillas (I used whole wheat)
  • Lime wedges
Instructions
  1. In a plastic bag, add fish, lime zest, lime juice, garlic, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Tightly seal bag, and massage the fish until all ingredients are combined. Store in the refrigerator, and marinate for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, gently fold together mango, avocado, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno, tomatoes, lime zest, lime juice, salt and pepper, and set aside.
  3. Heat an indoor grill pan to medium high heat, and drizzle with olive oil. Cook halibut 3-5 minutes per side, or until flaky.
  4. Warm tortillas according to package instructions.
  5. Fill each tortilla with flakes of fish, top with salsa, garnish with lime wedges, and serve immediately.

 

A New Passover Tradition: Mango and Pineapple Charoset Balls

Cuban Charoset ballsRecently, I was approached by my friend and luminary, Rabbi Ruth, of Be’chol Lashon and  Jewish&, as she was putting together a multi-cultural blog post about charoset.  I considered submitting my family’s classic apple charoset recipe, as I make heaps of it to rave reviews every year. As I was wracking my brain for just the right recipe I realized that while many of my family’s Passover traditions stem from my father’s Ashkenazi roots, so much of my Jewish identity stems from my mother’s Cuban heritage.

charosetballs1

My mango and pineapple charoset balls, ready to be chilled in the refrigerator.

This year, for my new charoset recipe, I found inspiration from the Sephardic tradition of forming the charoset paste into bite-sized balls, and used the flavors that I remember so well from my visits to the family in Cuba. Now, I know how my family reacts to change, so I won’t be pulling a bait and switch with their beloved spiced-apple charoset. For my family members who are reading this post, fear not. I promise that this recipe will certainly not replace our favorite charoset on the seder table, but perhaps I’ll serve it alongside the classic dish as a second option. Isn’t that how new traditions start? Also, since it is naturally quite sweet, it could even double as an acceptable dessert. That’s what we like to call a double-whammy!

For more charoset inspiration, check out the 7 different  recipes Rabbi Ruth collected from around the world, by clicking here.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Mango Pineapple Charoset Balls
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Cuban
Serves: 6-8
Prep time:
Total time:
 
This Cuban-style Charoset is inspired by the island flavors that influence so much of my cooking. While most Charoset is served as a paste, I drew on the Sephardic tradition of making Charoset into small balls for this unique take on a classic dish.
Ingredients
  • 5oz dried unsweetened mango, coarsely chopped
  • 8oz dried unsweetened pineapple, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup almond slivers, toasted
  • 2 cups shredded coconut, toasted and separated
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, soak the mango in hot water for ½ hour.
  2. Drain well, and add to a food processor. Add pineapple, almonds, and 1 cup of the coconut to the mango in the food processor, and pulse only until the mixture starts to form a ball. There should still be some visible chunks.
  3. Form the mixture into bite-sized balls, and set atop a pan lined with wax paper.
  4. In a small bowl, add the last cup of shredded coconut. Roll the balls in the coconut until they are lightly coated, and return them to the wax paper.
  5. Refrigerate the balls for 1 hour or until set.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta