Mexican food is hard to find in Ireland, although there are a few places popping up in Dublin. Still, the quality is pretty mediocre and the fare is your basic burritos and tacos.
Here in the west of Ireland you won’t find any Mexican restaurants. Also, you don’t just run to the market and pick up ingredients like corn tortillas or ancho chile powder.
Consequently, we’ve had to learn to make things like corn and flour tortillas at home. And we’ve had chiles, tomatillos, chipotles, and other specialty items sent to us from a place in London, carried back from Madrid, and brought over by friends from the U.S. (thanks, Sally and Pam!).
For the bank holiday weekend, our plan was to do traditional fish tacos and Mexican–style street corn on the barbeque. But as happens in Ireland, the weather did not cooperate, so on to plan B.
Linda had already made pinto beans sous vide to accompany the tacos, so we decided to try cooking the fish and corn sous vide as well. Great results! The fish was perfectly done, and dressed with the onions, crema (actually crème fraîche), and radishes, it tasted fabulous.
Most fish taco recipes use cabbage but we prefer sliced radishes instead — they’re crunchy and more flavorful. We garnished the tacos with some fresh parsley (cilantro is more traditional), a big squeeze of fresh lime juice, and Tom’s homemade habañero hot sauce (coming soon to the U.S.!).
Note the pinto beans take some time, but they can be prepared in advance, quick-chilled, and refrigerated until ready to use. Reheat the beans in a saucepan on the stove top while you cook the fish, or follow our simple instructions for turning them into frijoles refritos (refried beans).
Serves 2 (doubles easily)
- Preheat water bath to 132°F (56°C).
- Cover onion slices with boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes. They will soften slightly but still have some crunch. Drain the onions and combine with 1 teaspoon of salt, the lime juice, and black pepper to taste. Allow to marinate for 1 hour.
- Cut the fish into 1- to 1½-inch chunks. In a medium bowl, combine the chile powders, garlic, oregano, achiote, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper. Add the fish and stir well, making sure all the pieces are coated.
- Transfer the fish to a food bag and vacuum seal. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel or damp clean dish towel and heat in a covered container in a 300°F oven for about 15 or 20 minutes.
- Place fish on tortillas and garnish with the marinated onions, radishes, crema, cilantro or parsley, lime wedges, and hot sauce. Serve with Mexican corn and frijoles. Enjoy a well-earned Margarita.
This recipe was inspired by the corn you get on the street in Mexico, where it is grilled and served with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of chile powder and some hard, grating-style Mexican cheese. Our approximation of the original is very good and so easy when prepared sous vide. Mexican cheese is not available in Ireland so we substitute Parmesan.
- Preheat water oven to 183°F (84°C).
- Husk corn and remove kernels from the cob using a sharp knife.
- Place all ingredients except the cheese in a large food bag and vacuum seal.
- Cook for 40 minutes.
- Sprinkle the corn with grated cheese before serving.
These beans are great as is, but you can also refry the beans after they’ve been cooked. To do so, heat 1 tablespoon of lard in a frying pan. When hot, add the beans and start smashing them with a spatula, a large spoon, or a potato masher. Continue to heat for a few more minutes, then serve topped with grated cheddar cheese.
Note the recipe calls for frozen stock, so plan accordingly. You can substitute ice cubes, but the flavor will not be the same.
- Preheat water bath to 195°F (91°C).
- Mash cumin, oregano, and salt together in a mortar and pestle or on a cutting board using the flat side of a large knife.
- Place beans, onion, garlic, mashed spices, and frozen stock in a large food bag and vacuum seal.
- Cook for 6 hours.
- Test the beans for doneness by carefully squeezing the bag. Before serving, season to taste with salt and hot sauce.