lime-poached fish tacos with salsa verde and pico de gallo: food for fireworks fiestas.

I always look for something to inspire my culinary pursuits for any given night - whether it is a colour, event, person or even request. Last night, it was fireworks.

There is a competition concerning fireworks here in our lovely city. Yesterday, it was Mexico taking center stage and, inspired by that great country's cuisine, I decided to make soft tacos. But they weren't just any tacos, they were wrapped up pockets of tender goodness, supplimented by the spicy charred taste of  salsa verde.
I'd never created this lovely salsa before - I liked to stay inside the proverbial salsa box, filled with ripe tomatoes, lime, avocados, and onions. But I'd partaken of salsa verde many times at many different restaurants and thoroughly enjoyed it. So, stepping out of my comfort zone, I decided to unwrap some tomatillos, give my hands a little burn from a jalapeno, and make my eyes water from cut onions.
It was a sauce to complement a perfectly poached basa. It created the smokey spice, the basa created the fluffy softness, the standard salsa gave the crunchy, and the corn the sweet. Man, it was good. Except for the fact I burnt the arroz rojo (red rice) - I can seriously cook anything, anything, except for rice. Thank God for rice cookers - literally. It's my Achilles heel of cooking. Sad eh?
With the spice in our stomachs spurring us on, we walked across the Granville street bridge. With the sun setting, creating silhouettes of uniform buildings, we let the wind caress our faces and bring excitement for the night to come.
I've love fireworks. I have ever since I was young. One of my favorite childhood memories is from when I was ten(ish). We had a houseboat and on one particular Sunday, every summer, we would cruise out not too far from the shore, situate ourselves perfectly, and watch the Sea Fair fireworks in my hometown. I would sit on the roof, curled up warm under a duvet, with the dew collecting on my eyebrows, and marvel at the lights bursting over my head. Just pure flashes of beauty.

Luckily, once during the summer I get to relive these fond moments with the Celebration of Light here in Vancouver (though these are on a much greater scale than our piddly little trying-to-be-spectacle in Powell River).

One nice man behind me complained they use too much gold and not enough other colours. I thought the gold suited the night sky's majesty while the others were too garish.Well done, Mexico. Painting the night sky in colours it more than deserves, draping it in a million specks of gold. Well done.
Pico de Gallo (regular ol' salsa)

3 c. roma tomatoes, diced and seeded
3/4 c. white onion, finely diced
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 avocado, chopped (optional)

1. Combine all ingredients. Mix gently.

2. Serve with following fish recipe, or with taco chips.

Salsa Verde

8 tomatillos, peeled (covering leaves off) and quartered
1/2 c. white onion, coarsely chopped
2 JalapeƱo peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1/2 c. fresh cilantro
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
salt, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Place tomatillos, onion, jalepeno, and garlic in the oven and let roast until brown (about 10 minutes). Turn occasionally, and cook for another 10 if not brown enough. Remove and let cool until you can handle them.

2. Throw all ingredients in a blender. Blend until desired consistency is reached. Add more spices if needed/you-want-to-burn-your-face-off.

3. Serve with the following fish, or just taco chips.
Lime-Poached Fish Tacos

1 lime, juiced and zested
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/4 c. cilantro, chopped

salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 fillets of white fish (we used basa)

1/2 head lettuce, shredded
1 cob o' corn, slightly cooked, kernels removed
Pico de Gallo (see above)
Salsa Verde (see above)
soft tortillas

1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Pour over the fish. Marinade for no more than 30 mins.

2. Place in a saucepan on the stove on medium. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes on one side, then 5 minutes on the other.

3. Serve with corn kernels, lettuce, pico de gallo, salsa verde, and soft tortillas. Revel in the deliciousness of the mix of flavors.

4. Pray. Eat. Enjoy. Become a child again, in awe of the beauty of fireworks.