Michelle Tam, creator of the blog Nom Nom Paleo and author of two cookbooks (Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans and Ready or Not!) makes this recipe whenever she's on vacation with her family in Hawaii. The tacos are made with butter lettuce leaves instead of tortillas, so they're very light and refreshing.
Our suggested wine pairing: Wine by Joe 2015 Pinot Blanc (Willamette Valley; $14).
3/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced (reserve remaining 1/4 for the salsa)
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt*
1/2 teaspoon Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
1 1/2 pounds boned, skinned, firm white fish such as mahimahi, lingcod, California (white) sea bass, or rockfish (aka Pacific snapper)*, cut into approximately 1- by 5-in. strips
About 1 tsp. kosher salt*
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated, rinsed, and dried
1 firm-ripe Hass avocado, peeled and sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
PINEAPPLE CILANTRO SALSA
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1/4 medium red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Juice from 1 lime (about 2 1/2 tsp.), plus more to taste
1 cup loosely packed cilantro (leaves and tender stems), chopped
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
About 1/2 tsp. kosher salt*
About 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
How to Make It
Make pickled onions: Put onion slices in a pint-size jar. In a liquid measuring cup, combine remaining pickled-onion ingredients, stir to mix, and pour over onion slices. Push slices down with a fork until submerged in the liquid. Seal jar and chill at least 30 minutes (4 hours is ideal) and up to 1 week.
Marinate fish: Whisk together 1/4 cup oil, the oregano, and lime zest in a bowl (it will be thick, like pesto). Pat fish dry with paper towels, then add to bowl and turn to coat thoroughly with marinade. Chill at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.
Make salsa: Put pineapple in blender, followed by remaining salsa ingredients, and blitz until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, or more lime juice to taste.
When you're ready to cook the fish, heat a grill to medium-high (450°) with a large cast-iron frying pan or griddle set on cooking grate. Meanwhile, toss fish with salt and pepper.
When pan is hot enough that it evaporates a drop of water instantly, swirl remaining 1 tbsp. oil into hot pan, add fish in a single layer, and cook undisturbed, grill covered, until browned underneath, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully flip pieces over with a fish spatula or other thin spatula. Cook 2 to 3 minutes more, covered, or until fish is cooked through.
Arrange lettuce leaves on a platter (if any are torn, top with a second leaf). Arrange fish on lettuce, tearing pieces to fit, and season with salt if you like. Add sliced avocado, a drizzle of salsa, and pickled onions. Serve with lime wedges and remaining salsa on the side.
*Avoid cod; it's too soft and will flake apart here. Tam uses Diamond Crystal kosher salt, which has bigger crystals than Morton--so if you're using Morton, cut the amount by a third.
Make ahead: Pickled onions, up to 1 week, chilled; salsa, up to 4 days, chilled.
Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans.
Ready or Not!
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