There is something magical about crispy, beer-battered flakey fish topped with a delicious seaweed salad wrapped in a warm tortilla,” says Jessy Ryan, “co-flounder” of FreshCatch, one of the Bay Area’s forward-thinking community-supported fishery companies. FreshCatch operates as a collective of single-vessel businesses that fish along the West Coast with a vision of making sustainability profitable.
“For years we have been forced to choose between fishing for profit or fishing for our future,” says Ryan. “FreshCatch is our answer to fishing for the future.”
Here’s the company’s popular fish taco recipe, which is much in demand when they are delivering rockfish, halibut, lingcod, or other white-flesh fish. If you want to try your own skinning and deboning, visit tryfreshcatch.com for instructions.
Cooked for You and Served with a Brew
Join FreshCatch on the 4th Friday of each month from 4 to 9pm when they showcase the week’s catch cooked up into fish tacos, fish & chips, and other tasty items at Temescal Brewing, 4115 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. tryfreshcatch.com
FreshCatch Fish Tacos#
For the beer-battered fish:
2 pounds skin-off, boneless fillets (rockfish, halibut, lingcod, or other white-flesh fish)
Vegetable oil for frying (FreshCatch likes to use corn or rice oil)
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup rice flour
¼ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder (helps get a nice golden color on the batter)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 cup ice-cold beer (FreshCatch likes using Dreamer Pils from Temescal Brewing.)
Tortillas, flour or corn
Seaweed Slaw (recipe below)
If you want to go the healthy route, simply season fresh fish with Old Bay and salt and sauté or bake at 375° for 10–15 minutes.
Otherwise, to batter-fry, pour enough vegetable oil into a pot so that you will be able to completely submerge your fish in the oil, but be sure there is enough room in the pot (at least 3 inches) above the oil to prevent a boil over. Heat on medium-high to 325°. If the oil is smoking, it’s too hot!
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients until they are completely combined. Whisk in the ice-cold beer, beating until you have a smooth batter of a consistency that just barely clings to your whisk. Pat dry your fillets, then dredge in the batter, holding the battered fish above the bowl for a few seconds to let the excess batter drip off.
Slowly add fillets into the hot oil one at a time. Fry for 2–4 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets, then flip to make sure that both sides are crisp and golden-brown. Set each fried fillet on a wire rack in a warm place as you fry the rest of the fish.
Warm up the tortillas in a pan on medium heat for about 30 seconds per side. Place crispy fish on a warm tortilla. Top off with a generous serving of SeaSlaw and enjoy!
This recipe comes from Salt Point Seaweed, a three-woman team who work along the California coast to gather and provide local seaweed as a sustainable vegetable choice for a healthy diet. Find them at saltpointseaweed.com
This recipe makes more than enough to top the tacos, so you’ll have a delicious side salad as well.
0.75 ounces dried California Wakame (Alaria marginata)
1 red cabbage, sliced
2 carrots, sliced or julienne
¼ cup chopped scallions
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds or peanuts (optional)
Cilantro to garnish
¼ cup sesame tahini (Miso works nicely if you don’t have tahini.)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
Soak seaweed in warm water for 5–10 minutes to re-hydrate, then blanch by tossing into boiling water for 10–15 seconds. Rinse in ice bath immediately after removing. Drain wakame and squeeze out excess water. Cut into ¼-inch-wide strips.
Stir together dressing ingredients. Then toss wakame, cabbage, carrots, and scallions with dressing and sprinkle salad with sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, or peanuts as desired. Top with cilantro.