"Just think 'fish tacos.' " The man pouring at Cor Winery had me had hello. The estate was unassuming, but I had a feeling we had stumbled upon a gem when we walked in the door. ALL of their wine was fabulous, but their white blend began our afternoon love affair with their complex and sophisticated wine.
So we came home with the Pinot Gris/Gewurztraminer (there's a good word for "words with friends"- scrabble anyone?) blend with 'fish tacos' on the brain.
Oh Laurie, my BBF (blog best friend, she just doesn't know it yet). If people have comfort food, Simply Scratch is my comfort blog. So dependably good.
I had been eyeing her slaw for a while now. I experimented with my fruit slaw, and now it was time for something for traditional, but still fresh. Perfect for fish tacos!
Red Cabbage and Fennel Slaw (adapted from SimplyScratch.com)
1 fennel bulb, core removed, cut in half, and sliced very thinly, (save fronds for dressing)
2 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
3 green onions chopped
3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup good mayonnaise
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds
1 teaspoon honey
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
to complete the taco:
flour or corn tortillas
fish filet (whatever is fresh, I used snapper)
lime for garnish and end squeeze just before eating
2 tlbs flour, salt and pepper for dredging
Let's start with the dressing. Combine the mayo, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Please use real mayo. None of this chemical induced fat free, salt free, guilt free stuff. Read the ingredients. You should be able to identify what's in it, calories are not as scary as the 13 letter words followed by numbers. Mayo should be like a man... not that complicated.
Moving off my soap box.
You'll want to add your fennel fronds next. They are so soft. Just a rough chop off the top of the bulb. Whisk them in.
Oh and the bacon! Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Your bacon will cook for about 20 min. Perfectly crisp and no mess.
While your dressing sits and evolves, it's time for more chopping. PS: is your wine chilling?
Dear fennel friend, why have I waited so long for you? You do smell like licorice, but are so different, so much more lovely! So elegant. So fragrant. I'm sorry I never gave you a chance. Let's make up for lost time.
Fondly Frondly, Noelle.
Chop off ends. Then slice like an onion.
Then the cabbage. LOOK AT THAT DETAIL! There is a God. So amazing. And like a fingerprint, all of them totally different. Chaotic and squiggly. Like a brain- but instead of thoughts and intelligence, it's flavor and crunch.
Cut out the core and the end. Remove outer leaves. Then chop thinly.
Add your green onions and dressing.
When your bacon is crisp and cooled. Chop and add to the mix.
This is so good. Go ahead and sneak a bite. WOW! Flavor! Forget the taco, you really can eat just the slaw like a salad.
But since we're building a meal here...
Unwrap your filet. You'll want to remove the spine. Pulling against the grain, it should come right out, with all the little bones as well.
Cut them into little pieces.
Toss in flour, salt and pepper. Be generous with the salt and pepper. Bland fish is never a good thing.
Into hot oil until crisp and golden on each side, just a few minutes on each side.
Combine with slaw on the taco. Add a few slices of avocado if you'd like. The slaw is the star.
You'll be making this again and again. AND, it's even better the next day!
Now if you'll excuse me. It's time to eat.