It’s summer in North America. What summer foods come to mind? Watermelon? Popsicles? Burgers? For me it’s tacos. Especially seafood tacos. Fish Tacos. Shrimp Tacos and lately – Crab Tacos! I first recall eating fish tacos in the early-’90s in Baja, Mexico. We were strolling the back streets of Rosarito Beach when we stumbled onto a crowd of happy locals gathered around the back window of a small building. The unmistakeable aroma of fried fish lured us in. After a short wait in line we found ourselves enjoying the catch of the day wrapped in corn tortillas, topped with a bit of lime juice, cilantro and not much more. It’s hard to find fried fish tacos that good anywhere but Baja. Still, I continue my search – in fact I’d call it a passion.
Typically I like my fish tacos fresh fried, topped with cabbage, crema and some handmade salsa (just as hot as I can stand it). Ricky’s Taco Truck comes as close to Baja perfection as I’ve ever found in Los Angeles. They’re so good that I don’t even attempt to make fried fish tacos at home. However, I’m constantly looking for other creative versions and new ways to fuel my desire to have constant access to the taco flavors of my favorite season. I’ve tried Mushroom Tacos, Pan-Fried Catfish Tacos, and even Tempeh Tacos. I’ve topped them with flavorful salsa that runs the gamut from spicy ghost pepper to sweet papaya.
Santola "Crab Wine" Vinho Verde
Pairs well with shellfish, salads, fish, Mexican food, or on it’s own as an aperitif
These are all great ideas, but I recently noticed that all my taco trials focused on what I could pile on top or slip inside a tortilla.
Maybe the next task in my taco tests should be the tortilla itself. In fact why does the wrapper need to be a tortilla at all? I could shake up crab tacos by serving them inside jicama “tortillas”.
Crab Tacos on Jicama “Tortillas”
I was very excited by the idea. Naturally I Googled around and came across several recipes for Crab Tacos that were served inside a jicama tortilla shell.
I soon found problems with most of the recipes for Jicama “Tortillas” that I came across. The thing about jicama is it’s quite crisp. Even when sliced into thin rounds, jicama doesn’t bow in quite the right way. I know because I tried and soon had to clean Crab Tacos off the floor. You see jicama doesn’t bend, it snaps.
So I needed a way to get the jicama pliable enough to be a suitable stand-in for the tortillas in these crab tacos.
The answer is pickling. I quick pickled jicama slices and added a pinch of turmeric to the brine. Which had the additional benefit of coloring these Pickled Jicama “Tortillas” the same golden hue as traditional corn tortillas – win/win! GREG