Fish Tacos

The fish tacos and salad were a big hit last week at CPS. We took Maureen’s suggestion and got the cod that was on sale at Shoprite.  This week we split up the tasks – Nicholas and Annette were in charge of chopping the veggies, Jalia and Aniya made the dressings, and Lucas manned the fish. We had extra help too. Katherine’s mom was visiting, so she helped supervise too.

Sometimes mixing with clean hands is easier

The girls did a great job emulsifying the dressing – Jalia spun the whisk between her hands while Aniya slowly added the olive oil. That is an easier way to do it when you a doing it in a beaker instead of a bowl and there is a small amount of dressing. We tasted it and thought it could use a bit more salt and vinegar. Katherine suggested they add a pinch and a splash. “I’ve always wanted to add a pinch of salt, just like they do on the shows!” Aniya said. The kids are getting more sure of their own tastes and not worrying about following the recipes exactly.
This is what I try to instill with my adult students and these young people are catching on fast.
2013-11-08 16.10.32Since there were a couple complaints about too spicy, we didn’t add the cayenne to the breading, but added paprika instead.  Lucas carefully coated each piece with crumbs.
 Annette remembered how to chop the cilantro from her practice last week and was excited to do it again. Nicholas, in his precise way, thinly shredded the cabbage. The tomatoes didn’t look like summer anymore so I picked up an apple, an avocado and a sweet onion for the salad. Everyone was happy to have more stuff to cut up .
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Our chefs were really excited about the pomegranate. I bravely held the pomegranate half while everyone took turns whacking it to remove the juicy seeds or arils.   I showed Anyia how to use a 1/2 tsp measuring spoon like a melon baller to core the apple after she halved it.
Lucas and I checked the fish after 7 minutes and saw how it was still squishy when I touched it.  As the fish cooked it would get firmer and start to look a bit flaky.  After about 15 minutes altogether, Lucas pulled the fish out of the oven, prodding it with his finger to make sure it was fully cooked and did a perfect job.
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With everything ready, each chef assembled their own taco with a few chunks of fish, slaw, a drizzle of lime-mayo, and a sprinkle of cilantro.  We used the whole wheat tortillas again and no one even noticed. They folded them quesadilla style and filled the other half of their plates with the impeccably dressed salad.  By the time the tacos made it to the table some of them wound up open on the plates and a few of the kids took the fish out and ate it with the salad. Deconstructed tacos are

very in.

We all wished the fish was a bit more seasoned. Goldilocks syndrome. Maybe next week well get it just right. That didn’t stop anyone from eating though. Although Annette didn’t think she like fish tacos, she asked for more after finishing her first!  Three kids wanted to take the leftover salad home. The tacos were all gone except for Anyia’s who was the only one who still didn’t like the fish, but she did try it and that is all we ask.  Nicholas, who said he didn’t like fish was caught eating it so we think we made a convert.

We were also excited to hear that the kids are definitely taking some of their new skills home. When Jalia’s dad came to pick her up he told us how much she was enjoying the class.
“Now, I’m the chef in my house, and the other night guess what Jalia said? …I think this could use a little more paprika. She’s definitely bringing this stuff home with her, and now she wants to be in the kitchen with me more.”
Families and food – isn’t that what it is all about?
Adrian Seltzer and Katherine Rapin


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