This week I am pairing another GREAT wine from Marri Wood Park Winery in WA, Australia. I have decided to do some delicious spicy grilled fish tacos. Spring is here, and Summer is rolling in FAST. This wine (which you will read more on later) is the quintessential picnic/family get together wine. What's better than an afternoon in the garden with family than a delicious bottle of bubbles and some family-style spicy grilled fish tacos. Read on, trust me - it's a good one 😉
WHAT FISH CAN I USE?
To be honest, most fish works great in a taco, but for these fellas, I recommend using a white fish. Think snapper, cod, halibut, grouper or mahi-mahi style fish. A white fish that has a firmer texture. The last thing you need is the fish falling apart as you try to grill it!!! Thes fish will take on the spice rub nicely and when grilled will still add a little bite to the dish.
JALAPENO PINEAPPLE HOT SAUCE
For these spicy grilled fish tacos, I used a sauce I recently discovered on Instagram! Matt is also a Brisbane local and got into making hot sauces when he grew a chilli plant and whipped up a chilli sauce that family and friends ADORED. My spice levels can't handle too much heat, so that's why I love this jalapeno pineapple one. It has a great balance of spice and sweet fruitiness from the pineapple. Would thoroughly recommend clicking through to the lava chilli website and picking some up!
IF you can't get hold of any or don't want to use a hot sauce on your tacos, I would recommend adding a little cayenne to the spice rub for the fish and finishing the dish with some fresh jalapenos!
HOW DO I STOP THE FISH STICKING TO THE GRILL?
GOOD Q. This can be a big problem when cooking anything on the grill. Follow these few simple steps, and you shouldn't have any issues.
- Make sure the grill is nice and clean.
- Oil the fish - but don't go CRAZY!
- If the fish has skin starts with its skin side down.
- Don't cook on a crazy high heat as you will just burn the fish.
- Allow the fish to sear and seal. This will crisp up the outer layer and make it WAY easier to turn and not stick.
- Don't poke it - give it a good 5 minutes (at least) before flipping.
- If in doubt use a spatula to slide underneath before flipping
Follow these guidelines, and you should survive the dreaded grilled fish test 😉
CAN I USE A GRILL PAN?
Sure can - you may need 2 grill pans. One for the pineapple and one for the fish. Rub the grill pan in a little oil and heat it up nicely. Follow the same steps as the grill EXCEPT you may need to finish the fish in the oven depending upon the thickness of the fish. One trick is to turn the grill pan down to medium heat as if you run it on high you are more than likely going to burn the fish.
PERSONALLY, I would use the BBQ if possible. Nothing meats the extra smokey flavour a BBQ adds to fish, meat & veggies!
WHY GRILL THE PINEAPPLE?
Grilling fruit may seem a little odd initially, but there are actually tons of fruit that work well over the BBQ. Think pineapple, watermelon, mango, peaches, pears & apples. The char on them adds a little smokey bitterness to them whilst the heat helps bring out some of their natural sugars. I like to char the pineapple in large pieces and then cut them into smaller chunks for the tacos. Feel free to cut them small, to begin with, but chances are you will have less when you finish than you had at the start 😉
Bubbles! Everything is better with bubbles. Not your "classical" bubbles this week, something a little different Pet Nat. Pet Nat is short for Petillant Naturel. For those of you not familiar with this wine it's not a grape, like Chardonnay, Sauvignon or Riesling it's a style of wine. It refers to how the wine is made rather than the grape variety. In fact, you can use pretty much any grape variety to make it with the one caveat being the more acid (typically), the better. That's why the guys here at Marri Wood Park are KILLING it with their use of Sauvignon Blanc to make this wine.
Given pet nat is made using natural fermentation in the bottle, the wines can seem a little "funky" at first. These are the natural yeast flavours you are getting. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but I for one am a HUGE fan and find it to be a great food wine (and also just to knock back on its own too!). Ice cold bubbles, deliciously grilled fish tacos and a group of mates is a WINNING combination!
The "Bratty Nat" which although it doesn't mention this I feel is named aptly after Natalie, the daughter of the owner and winemaker Jules. Marri Woods pet nat as I mentioned, is cracking with food and bursts with flavour the moment you pop that crown cap. A little stewed apple, bright pear flavours and "natural" characteristics coming through. There is a touch of chalk, GREAT acidity and cracking bubbles (or mousse if you want to be technical). My advice is to get in their quick as I have been told it sells out fast. Get yourself a wine bucket/esky, a group of friends and grill up these delicious tacos whilst downing some epically good and completely moreish wine!
OTHER TACO RECIPES
Inspired by my spicy grilled fish tacos and just want to eat tacos every day of the week (wouldn't blame you)? Then check out these epic recipes too!
Happy Cooking and Happy Eating Friends!!
- 800 g white fish snapper, cod, halibut, mahi mahi
- 200 g red cabbage
- 1 handful coriander
- 1 handful pork scratchings
- 12 tortillas
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- pineapple three 1cm thick slices
- jalapeno hot sauce optional
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Heat BBQ to 180c
- Mix salt, pepper & paprika together. Rub fish & pineapple in oil and cover with salt mixture
- Chop cabbage finely & pick coriander
- Place pineapple & fish onto clean BBQ and cook for 6 minutes on one side, gently place a spatula under fish, turn and cook for a further 3 minutes on the other side. Turning the pineapple at the same time!
- Rest fish for 2-3 minutes before breaking into pieces.
- Grill tortillas on BBQ until nicely charred
- The beauty of tacos is to place everything on the table and let everyone help themselves
- For me – I place the cabbage on the bottom, followed by pineapple, then fish & pork scratchings, a squeeze of mayo, hot sauce (if using) and coriander/lime to finish
- chef knives
- chopping board
- BBQ or grill pan
- mixing bowl
- if you don’t have a BBQ or can’t BBQ then use a grill pan to get a nice char on the fish. You may need to finish the cooking in the oven depending upon the thickness of the fish
- if you aren’t using a hot sauce on top I recommend adding a little pinch of cayenne to the salt mix and/or using fresh jalapenos on top
- the key to fish not sticking when grilling is using a clean grill, oiling the fish and also allowing the fish to “seal” for sufficient time before flipping. Allow at least 5 minutes before flipping or else it will just stick
- also use a sensible amount of oil – too much oil and it will drip into the BBQ and cause flare-ups which will burn the fish and/or add nasty black soot marks on the fish