Rick Martinez’s new cookbook, “Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico” (Clarkson Potter, $35), includes 100 recipes from seven different regions of Mexico. This recipe for Tacos Capeados features Baja-stye tacos, but with a slightly different mixture than what we usually see in the States—and two great options.
“For the crispy fried fish, I use a batter mix that has a 50/50 ratio mix of wheat flour to cornmeal or masa harina,” Martinez says in the book. “The corn adds extra flavor but also creates a crunchy crust that actually stays crunchy even when cooled to room temperature.”
Don’t over-season the mixture or make it “pull more than its fair share of flavor lift,” he says. “The real art of making tacos is layering in flavor and texture. Each ingredient contributes to a different sensation in your mouth—hot, cold, soft, crunchy, sweet, salty and spicy.”
Taco Filled with Brick Martinez
Serves 4 to 6
1½ pounds skinless halibut, cod, or other white fish fillets, cut crosswise into 16 fillets
Morton’s kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup masa harina or fine or medium-grind cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
Half a teaspoon of baking soda
12 ounces of Mexican pale ale
¼ cup of sparkling mineral water, carbonated water or water
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Vegetable oil for frying (about 3 liters)
Warm corn tortilla
Papaya and raw tomato sauce (see below)
salsa blanca (see below)
Sliced red cabbage
Season the fish with a little salt and pepper. Transfer it to a wire rack fitted inside a tray. Place in the refrigerator, uncovered, for at least an hour or overnight (this surface is air dried, so the mixture sticks to the thickness better).
In a medium bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, masa harina, baking powder, baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt. Add the beer, sparkling water, and vinegar and whisk until completely combined and no lumps left.
Pour 3 inches of oil into a large, heavy saucepan and hook it onto a frying thermometer, heat over medium-high heat until temperature registers 375 degrees. Cover tray with paper towels.
Working in batches, dip the fish into the mixture, allowing excess batter to drip back into the bowl. Carefully lower the fish into the oil and fry, using tongs to turn the fish occasionally, until light golden brown and completely cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the fish to paper towels to drain.
Serve pescado capido with tortilla bread, salsa, lemon and cabbage.
Papaya and Roo tomatillo salsa
Makes 2 cups
3 medium tomatoes, peeled, washed and cut into 2cm pieces
¼ ripe papaya, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ medium white onion, coarsely chopped
3 serranos peppers, seeded and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely grated
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
Morton Kosher Salt
In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, papaya, onion, chili pepper, garlic, lemon juice, and mint together. Season with salt to taste. Cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate for an hour for the flavors to solidify together. Serve chilled or at room temperature. (Note: The salsa cruda can be prepared up to 1 day in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)
Makes 1 1/3 cups
1 anchovy fillet filled with oil
½ teaspoon Morton’s kosher salt, plus more to taste
Half a cup of mayonnaise
¼ cup cream, fresh cream or sour cream
½ cup finely chopped coriander
2 serranos peppers, seeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Place the anchovies on a cutting board and sprinkle with salt. Using the flat side of a knife, mash it up until a paste forms. Scrape the mixture into a medium-sized bowl.
Add mayonnaise, cream, coriander, chile serranos, garlic, lemon peel and lemon juice and whisk to combine. Season with salt to taste. Cover and put in the fridge until ready to serve. (The sauce can be made up to 1 day in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)
– Reprinted with permission from “Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico” by Rick Martínez, Copyright © 2022. Published by Clarkson Potter / Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House.