Fish Tacos with Late Summer Salsa

“What grows together goes together.”

It’s a well known saying that we couldn’t agree with more, and it was the first thing that popped into our heads on our most recent trip to Sauvie Island. We had gone to pick peaches, but due to the erratic weather in one of the most uncharacteristic summers we’ve had in recent memory, we unfortunately missed them this year. However, that didn’t stop us from just taking a look around to see what else was in season.

We always knew that the farm we frequented grew a large variety of vegetables, but they always seemed to take a back seat to the fruit that we usually make the trip out for. We ended up finding some gorgeous looking poblano chiles, which was something I never expected find there, and I was practically giddy upon the discovery. Later down the row we reached the corn fields, and the subject of this post simply materialized afterwards. Both of these ingredients being in season was too good to pass up.

Charred corn salsas pop up frequently because, well, they’re really delicious. Most salsas tend to be smoky or tart, but this one is decidedly sweet, which is a nice change. While we tend to not want to veer on things being very sweet, adding some charred poblanos is not only an informed seasonal choice, but their natural and beautiful bitterness fits seamlessly into the salsa like a missing puzzle piece. A little bit of a rarer fresh herb called epazote also gives the salsa a refreshing grassy flavor, speaking directly to corns natural sweetness. Pair this salsa with the simplicity of fish tacos, and you have a light, sweet, and herbaceous ahead of you: a perfect quick dinner for the hot nights of late August and early September.

Late Summer Salsa:

  • 1 ear of sweet corn
  • 1 large poblano chile
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • ½ sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped epazote leaves
    • Note: Look for epazote at your local Mexican market. If you can’t find epazote (it’s not the easiest herb to find), use cilantro instead. It’ll still be super tasty.
  • Juice of one very juicy lime
  • Salt to taste

Char the poblano chile skin with a blow torch, or if you have a gas stove simply put it on the grate with the flame on high. Once all the sides of the chile are black, place the chile in a plastic bag and let it sweat for about 15 minutes. 

While the poblano is sweating, char the corn kernels with the blow torch or on the stove. The ear shouldn’t be completely black; you only want the tops to be charred. Allow the ear to cool a little bit before cutting all the kernels away from the ear, then discard the cob. Place the kernels in a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients for the salsa and set aside.

Remove the chile from the bag and run your fingers over the skin to remove it. Once all the char is rubbed off, remove and discard the stem and the seeds of the chile. Dice the poblano flesh and add it to the bowl with the corn kernels.

Add the jalapeño, diced onion, epazote (or cilantro), and lime juice, then stir until completely incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Fish Tacos with Late Summer Salsa:

  • 1 pound of white fish fillets, such as cod or rockfish, deboned
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • Oil for sautéing 
  • 1 batch of Late Summer Salsa

Mix the cumin, paprika, and salt together in a small bowl and rub it over the fish filets liberally. Set aside on a plate.

Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat with some oil until it shimmers, then place the spiced fish filets in the pan. Fry until the fish is cooked through and can be easily flaked, about three minutes a side. Let the fish rest for around 5 minutes, then serve with warmed corn tortillas, salsa, some queso fresco, and chopped cilantro. Add some refried black beans and rice to the spread if you like.

Serves 3–4.

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