Fish tacos always resurrect memories of summer days spent working up an appetite alongside the ocean. Some of the best fish tacos I’ve ever eaten are the ones I’ve gotten from boxy beach huts down by the shore. Nothing beats spending a hot afternoon swimming through cool, wavy water, only to finish it off by getting messy with a fresh fish taco.
While I’m unfortunately not down at the beach, I’ve still been enjoying some fantastic warm, sunny weather. To go along with it, I’ve also decided to whip up some light and fresh fish tacos so I can enjoy them too.
I decided to switch up the classic recipes that I’m used to tasting and throw in some of those nutrient-loaded sweet potatoes to compliment the salmon I chose for my base. The naturally creamy sweetness of the potatoes, along with the tender fish and fresh, crunchy cabbage slaw definitely made for a winning combination. Cabbage is coming to its prime, so if it’s not growing in your garden, be on the lookout for it at your local farmer’s market.
You can bet I’ll be making some variation of these again. Hopefully I can make it to the beach by that time for a little extra inspiration!
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Patata, potato. Right here begins the unveiling of the differences that reside within America’s favorite veggie. But I’m not just talking about how the spuds’ given name rolls off your tongue. We all know which option most people would pick on that one. I’m not referring to whether french fries taste better in the deep fryer or the oven either. Or whether to go with sweets vs. yukons, or any other variety preferences.
When I say differences, I’m referring those within the straight up, standard whites. The differences between “new potatoes” vs. old. Come late spring/early summer, and it’s about the only time you’ll find me consistently eating the white spuds. Why? It’s the time for the first harvest of potatoes, known as “new potatoes,” AKA the best friggin’ potatoes you’ll eat all year.
How beautiful are these? So naturally pink!
New potatoes provide a flavor of their own, bringing a slightly sweet earthiness to the table. This is in comparison to plain old potatoes you can get any time of the year that instead act as a rather bland canvas, not generating much flavor except the skin that covers them. While this makes them a good candidate to be dressed up by any number of ingredients, I want to taste the potato too. And the best way to do that is to get your hands on the yields of the early harvests, which as I mentioned before, are referred to as “new potatoes.”
New potatoes are sent to the market directly after being dug. This means there’s not as much time for their sugars to be converted into starches = sweeter potato for you. Their skin also tends to be thinner and more tender, since it was given less time to develop. This too is good for you because the skin is where the majority of the fiber, vitamins and nutrients rest, meaning you should keep that colorful outer outfit on your potatoes when cooking!
While the recipe below keeps it simple, making it ideal for new potatoes, it will work on potatoes purchased at any time of the year. The dill acts to compliment the sweetness drawn out of the spuds from the olive oil. And the garlic will add a boost of flavor too. But if you can, test this one out now while potatoes are at their best!
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This is another one of those fruit-lettuce combinations I really enjoy in the summer. It’s just like the strawberry salad I posed a couple weeks back, only the out-of-season strawberries are swapped with coming-into-season watermelon. I also interchanged the dressing here, and went with a simple oil/balsamic vinaigrette.
A general rule of thumb you can follow when making dressings like this is two parts oil to one part vinegar, and a dash of salt and pepper. I generally like my salad dressings a little more on the acidic side though, so I usually stick with a 1.5:1 ration. The acidity of the balsamic pairs particularly well with the natural sweetness of the watermelon. The melon also adds a nice crispy burst of juiciness to each bite of lettuce. Here, I’ve included chopped mint as well, which keeps the salad even fresher and gives it a cool summer feel.
If you’re looking for an easy dish to contribute to a Fourth of July festivity, fresh salad is always a good one to go with. Rather than bringing a plain old bowl of lettuce with the expected tomato/onion/cucumber toppings, spruce it up with watermelon and mint to make it a side dish worth remembering.
Next to enjoying them straight up, soup is my favorite way to chow down on peas. Sure, it may seem a little counterintuitive with all the hot weather that summer bestows, but pureed peas are delicious. With the sweetness that pea soup yields, I could care less if it means eating hot soup in the summer. I’ve got to cook the peas anyways, right? Unlike some people, raw peas aren’t my thing, so it’s not like I can avoid the heat of the stove. Plus, a little sweat from a summer soup is nothing a cold mint mojito on the side can’t fix.
It seems simple, but this soup creates an incredible flavor. There’s no need to add a ton of herbs or spices. Let the pea flavor shine in this one. Plus, after de-podding all those peas, you’re not going to want to do much more but add some garlic to the pan anyways. Lucky you don’t have to because here, “simple” really proves its worth.
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I’ve dyed my hands and stained my cutting board (and probably my shirt too), but nature’s sweetest veggie is undoubtedly worth all the scrubbing repercussions. Beets have entered their time to shine, and I’ve sent the first batch straight to the oven. Roasting is my method of choice when it comes to the fuchsia-filled veggie. The roasting process helps draw out the sweetness of the beets, while lessening the intenseness off their earthiness.
Since beets are so sweet all on their own, they need little sprucing up. (Fun fact: Beet sugar makes up about 40% of the world’s sugar.) Here, I simply doctored them up with some garlic scapes and a few sprigs of fresh oregano. Just like beets, roasted garlic is always a sweet treat, and herbs always freshen things up. As I’ve said before, if you can’t find garlic scapes at your local farmer’s market, swap them out for regular garlic. Three to six cloves will do the trick in this recipe, depending upon how much you adore garlic. I’d go for the six, but if you’re looking for just a hint of garlicky flavor, stick with a few less.
And just so you know, beets aren’t only made up of sugar. They’re also filled with fiber, vitamin C, magnesium (a mineral that regulates blood sugar, promotes strong bones and a healthy immune system), folate (a B-vitamin needed to make DNA & RNA, the building blocks of our cells), potassium and a handful of other vitamins and minerals. Plus, that naturally bright color has to be an indication of some kind of health booster, right?