Let’s talk. Today’s phenomenon? Food tasting better when someone else cooks it for you. There are exceptions, of course, but as the star Food Captain of my household, there’s something special about enjoying a meal that was crafted with love by hands that were not my own. There are a lot of factors at play, but I contend that one of the biggest draws is the potential for cooking revelations. Basically, I’m a fan of my cooking, but I know all of my own tricks. I experiment with new things, but every move I make is informed by my tastes and experience. When we’re lucky enough to be at another cook’s mercy, we get to experience food through their skills, their preferences, their history.
This recipe comes from a friend who is a Really Good Cook, who made me the best fish burrito of my life thus far. If you know how many burritos I eat, you’ll know how serious this is (hint: this is pretty serious.)
As much as I love the crunchy cabbage slaw and ubiquitous “white sauce” of traditional baja-style SoCal fish tacos, this approach was something else entirely. There was mild fish paired against the similarly sweet, concentrated flavors of sauteed veggies. Never in a million years would I think to include carrot shreds among the other vegetables, but damn if they weren’t perfect. Then juicy tomato, creamy avocado, and the acerbic bite of lime juice? Sold.
After a few bites of blissful awe, I was already furiously analyzing my palate to recreate this dinner myself. And naturally, to share the bounty with you!
Have you had any good revelations lately? I’m interested!
Baja Fish Burritos
- 2 tbsp. olive oil divided
- two 4 oz. fillets of mild white fish
- salt pepper, and smoked paprika to taste
- 1/4 medium onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 small zucchini sliced into thin matchsticks
- 1/2 medium carrot shredded
- 1 cup cooked seasoned rice or other grain
- 1 small tomato chopped
- 1/2 of a ripe avocado chopped
- 1 tbsp. chopped cilantro optional
- juice from 1/2 lime
- 2 large flour tortillas
- Heat 1 tbsp. of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the fish fillets and season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Cook the fish until firm and opaque, about 4-5 minutes on each side, and transfer the fillets to a plate to rest.
- Wipe out the skillet, return it to the heat, and add the second tbsp. of olive oil. Add the sliced onion and bell pepper, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften. Add the zucchini and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until just tender. Stir in the carrot shreds and toss for just a few seconds before removing the pan from the heat.
- Assemble the burritos by topping the tortilla with rice, fish, vegetables, tomato, avocado, cilantro, and a generous squeeze of lime juice. Wrap the filling tightly and serve immediately.