Southwest Fish Tacos

Menu Part: 
Cuisine Type: 

This taco featuring beer-battered fish and pickled red onions is served for retail customers at this large 700-bed hospital in New Jersey. What makes the taco standout: It’s texture and flavor, according to Executive Chef Timothy Gee. “You have that soft shell-style taco with the nice crunch from the tortilla chips. It’s also kicked up with the pickled onions and queso sauce instead of a traditional shredded cheese. I developed the recipe after having a burger that had the picked onions and tortilla chips and I loved the combination.”


Ancho Queso Sauce:
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
12 oz. Monterey jack cheese, coarsely grated
¼ cup grated Parmesan
1 tbsp. ancho chili Powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pickled Red Onions:
1 ½ cups red wine vinegar
¼ cup water
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 medium red onion, peeled, halved, thinly sliced

Beer-battered Cod:
1 12-oz. bottle beer
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 ¼ pounds cod fillets, cut into strips

8 6-in. soft flour tacos
12 yellow corn tortilla chips, coarsely crushed
2 cups shredded cabbage


For Ancho Queso Sauce:

  1. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add milk, increase heat to high and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and whisk in Monterey jack cheese until melted; add Parmesan, ancho chili powder, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Keep warm.

For Pickled Red Onions:

  1. Bring vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Put onions in medium bowl, and pour vinegar over, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours before serving.

For Beer-battered Cod:

  1. In large bowl, pour in bottle of beer. Sift 1 ½ cups flour into bowl until just combined. Stir in salt and pepper.
  2. Pat fish dry and coat in beer batter. Dredge pieces of fish in ½ cup of remaining flour and place into oil for frying as coated. Fry fish, turning over frequently, until deep golden and cooked through (145°F), about 4 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined hotel pan and keep warm. Fry remaining fish in batches, returning oil to 350°F between batches.

To assemble:

  1. Place Beer-battered Cod on flour tortillas and top each with few tablespoons of Ancho Queso Sauce, Pickled Red Onions, chips and sprinkle of cabbage. Serve two tacos per order.

Recipe by Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

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