Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Y is for: Yellowfin Tacos and Yam Chips {guest post}

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I'm taking off for a few days to celebrate my friend Kim and her upcoming nuptials. I was feeling a little guilty about only posting two recipes this week until one of my faithful Twitter followers, Jullie Anne Caparas, was so kind as to volunteer to share not one, but TWO of her delicious (and beautiful) recipes.  

She grew up in a large Filipino family, so she's always loved cooking (and EATING!) After 2 years as a Business major, she made the switch to culinary student a and never looked back. (Following her it! What an inspiration). As you might imagine, she is always posting yummy food photos on Twitter and Instagram, so I knew they would be fabulous. I can't wait to try her tasty (and healthy!) version of "fish and chips."
When Jaymee asked me if I had any “Y” recipes in mind, I instantly thought of Yellowfin Tuna…also known as AHI Tuna! I love Yellowfin. I love it in sushi, I love it as a seared steak, and I especially love it in Poke (a traditional Hawaiian dish). Recently, I was able to try Yellowfin in the form of fish tacos. I went to Hawai’i for the NFL Pro Bowl, and I had the opportunity to stay at the Aulani Resort in Ko’ Olina. Aulani has a unique, open-air restaurant that overlooks the lagoon, called Ama Ama (named after a local fish!)

My first time there, I ordered the “Catch of the Day Tacos” for lunch (pictured above). Fresh, local fish with a sweet slaw and served with thick-cut sweet potato fries. I’m sure most of you have had fish tacos at some point. But these? These were awe-some. (Or maybe it was just the sunshine and all the shirtless surf instructors walking by…just kidding). But, personally, I love to take dishes I try at restaurants and put my own spin on them. This is exactly what I did with these tacos once I got home. So, now, I find myself pulling out that Fish Taco recipe, and sharing it with all of you for E is For Eat’s “Y” week. I give you: Grilled Yellowfin Tacos with Yam Chips!

Once you’ve gathered all of your ingredients, start by marinating the fish because it will need the most amount of time. Make sure to flip the fish over half way through the marinating process for even flavoring. Plus, spoon some of the marinade over the fish again after you’ve flipped it. Let the fish do its thing while you prepare everything else.

Prepare the slaw next. Again, marinating will take some time. You want all the flavors of the ginger, honey, and pineapple to really soak into the vegetables. Keeping in tune with the Hawaiian flare of this dish, the honey that I used is actually an organic Lehua Blossom honey that I’ve absolutely LOVED using in marinades and vinaigrettes. I bought it in Hawai’i, but you can find more info and shop online here. Also, this slaw recipe only uses half of a jicama. So what exactly are you supposed to do with the rest? Jicama, when diced, adds great crunch to salads and salsas! 

A little side note: While I was at the grocery store, I saw these beautiful golden tomatoes and couldn’t help myself…so I bought them (Hey, if the produce speaks to you, the more fresh veggies the merrier!). I just quartered the tomatoes and added them into the slaw mix!

The Cilantro Cream is pretty simple and straightforward. Just make sure to really pat the cilantro dry after you’ve washed it, avoiding watering down the sour cream. You can also make your Yam Chips at this time. This is a pretty simple recipe to prepare, as well. It’s best to use garnet or jewel yams because they have that bright orange hue, a nice pop of color on your plate. I also prefer to forego the salt on these chips. I really love the naturally sweet, hearty flavor of the yams.

When you grill the tuna, it’s merely to sear the outside and get those nice grill marks. You want the inside to still be pink. And as much as you want to, DON’T MOVE THE FISH BEFORE YOU’RE READY TO FLIP. Scraping away at it to check it constantly will only make it stick and/or fall apart on you. You’ll also make it difficult to get those grill marks, so be patient guys!

Now that all of your components are ready, you can assemble your tacos and ENJOY! For me, I love dishes with contrast, and these tacos have plenty of it. The sweet, tropical slaw pairs really well with the tart citrus of the marinated Yellowfin, and the crunchy vegetables balance out the tender, seared fish. The cool, creamy cilantro sauce also plays nicely off of the bright, fresh flavors of this dish.

This is one of those things that’s great for a small group, but the recipe can be adjusted to feed many. Slice the fish and serve it on a platter, along with the bowl of slaw and the cilantro cream, for your very own taco bar! Include garnishes, like fresh lime wedges and cilantro. (Great to keep in mind for any future spring/summer gatherings!) 

Yellowfin Tacos

by Jullie Anne Caparas
Keywords: grill entree tuna tacos

  • 3-4 Yellowfin Tuna Steaks (at least 1 lb of fish)
  • 1 8-oz. package Shredded Red Cabbage
  • ½ of 1 medium-sized Jicama, ¼ in julienne
  • 1 20-oz can of Pineapple Chunks (in Juice; reserve 1 tbsp of juice, then drain leftover)
  • Flour Tortillas, small/Fajita size
For the fish marinade:
  • ¼ cup Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
  • ¼ cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Grated Lime Zest
  • 1 tsp Grated Orange Zest
  • 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • ½ tsp Coarse Ground Pepper
For the slaw marinade:
  • 1 tbsp Grated Ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp Honey
  • 1 tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Pineapple Juice (use liquid from Pineapple Chunks)
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • ¼ tsp Coarse Ground Pepper
For the cilantro cream:
  • 1 cup Cilantro
  • 1 cup Sour Cream (8 oz. container)
  1. Marinate Fish: In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the Fish Marinade, and set aside. Cut the Tuna Steaks into 1 ½ in-wide strips, and place into shallow Pyrex. Evenly pour the marinade over the fish, and allow to soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Marinate Slaw: In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the Slaw Marinade. Add the Shredded Red Cabbage, julienned Jicama, and Pineapple Chunks to the bowl. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Prepare Cilantro Cream: In a food processor, combine the Sour Cream and Cilantro leaves. Puree until the cilantro is evenly blended into the sour cream, and the sauce is a pale green color. Pour the sauce into a squeeze bottle, and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Grill Fish/Tortillas: Place the fish over a medium-high flame, and grill for 1-1 ½ minutes per side (depending on the thickness of your tuna steaks). While the fish is grilling, warm the Flour Tortillas by placing them on the grill.
  5. Serve & Enjoy! Assemble your tacos individually OR serve a platter of grilled fish, the bowl of slaw, tortillas, and the sauce for your very own taco bar! Garnish the tacos with fresh cilantro and/or lime wedges.
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Yam Chips

by Jullie Anne Caparas
Keywords: fry side snack gluten-free vegan vegetarian yam

  • 2 large Sweet Potatoes (Use Garnet or Jewel Yams for the bright orange color)
  • Vegetable Oil, for frying
  • Kosher salt (optional)
  • Black Pepper (optional)
  1. Use a vegetable peeler or mandoline to make thin, round slices of Sweet Potato.
  2. In a large pot, heat Vegetable Oil to 375 degrees F.
  3. Fry the slices of sweet potato in batches. Do not overcrowd the oil. Each batch takes 1-2 minutes. Remove when chips are slightly browned and crispy.
  4. Drain the chips on a paper towel-lined platter, and season with salt & pepper while still hot. Serve & enjoy!
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  1. this sounds great. Just found you off twitter. We were in a group for Follow friday from @foodiechat. You need to see my 400 Best Sandwich Book

    1. Would love to see that Alison! I think I follow you too! :)


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