1½ lbs. boneless, skinless white fish fillet
3⅓ cups rice flour
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
One 12-oz. bottle lager-style beer, cold
2½ quarts (10 cups) vegetable oil, for frying
Kosher salt, as needed
¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ head of green cabbage, shredded
4 radishes, sliced into thin rounds
½ medium white onion, minced
60 cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
2 limes, each cut into 6 wedges
Corn or flour tortillas
To prepare the fish and batter: Portion the fish into 12 even pieces, each about 3 inches long. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. In a large bowl, mix 1⅓ cups of the rice flour with the all-purpose flour and baking powder. Pour the beer into the bowl and whisk gently. Don’t overwork the batter; a few lumps are okay. Place the batter in the refrigerator until ready to use. Place a 5½-quart Dutch oven fitted with a candy thermometer over medium heat and add the vegetable oil, leaving at least 3 inches of space between the surface of the oil and the lip of the pot. Heat until the thermometer registers 350°F.
To fry the fish: Line a plate with paper towels and sprinkle the remaining 2 cups rice flour on a separate plate. Remove the fish pieces from the refrigerator and season all over with salt. Remove the tempura batter from the refrigerator. Dredge the fish in the rice flour and then dip the pieces into the batter, one by one. Carefully add each piece of fish to the hot oil. Work in small batches so as to not crowd the Dutch oven. Fry the fish until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the prepared plate and season immediately with more salt.
To assemble the tacos: Lay out warm tortillas on serving plates. Place 1 Tbsp. of mayonnaise on each tortilla and spread using the back of a spoon. Add a small mound of the cabbage, along with some radish slices, minced onion, chopped cilantro, and a spoonful of Roasted Salsa Verde. Place one piece of fried fish on each tortilla. Squeeze a couple of the lime wedges over the tacos and serve the rest on the side.
Makes 12 tacos.
Roasted Salsa Verde
3–4 medium tomatillos (about 5 oz. total), husked, rinsed and patted dry
1 garlic clove, skin on
½ medium white onion, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
2 serrano chiles
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 tsp. honey
40 cilantro leaves (from about 10 sprigs), roughly chopped
Preheat the broiler. Roast the tomatillos on a baking sheet under the broiler until blackened in spots, about 7 minutes. Turn them over and continue to blacken, another 7 minutes. Remove from the broiler and set aside to cool at room temperature.
Set a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, onion slices, and chiles and roast, turning them from time to time, until softened slightly and blackened in spots, about 6 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the vegetables from the skillet, and set aside to cool at room temperature. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel the garlic clove and discard the skin. Remove and discard the stems of the chiles. Set aside.
Place the roasted garlic in a molcajete* with 1 tsp. salt and crush to a paste using the tejolote. Roughly chop the roasted onion, add to the molcajete, and continue crushing to a coarse texture.
Dice the roasted tomatillos, add to the molcajete, and continue working the salsa until pulpy. Season with salt and honey and stir with a spoon. Add the chopped cilantro and stir to combine. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use. The finished salsa is best eaten the day it is made; if you want to work ahead, don’t add the cilantro to the salsa until the day you plan to serve it.
*If you don’t have a molcajete, prep all of the ingredients as instructed and add them, minus the cilantro, all at once to the jar of a blender. Pulse to combine and then stir in the cilantro.
Makes 1 cup.
Reprinted with permission from Tacos: Recipes and Provocations by Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.