Halibut Tacos with Asparagus Wakame Slaw & Sriracha "Crema"
By Tori Pintar
When a box of frozen fresh seaweed arrived at my door I was elated and a little overwhelmed. I’d never cooked with fresh seaweed before but my mind traveled back to the time I spent in Japan. They use all kinds of seaweed in so many ways and I have a suspicion that we, in the US, are missing out on one of the most flavorful and sustainable plants around. But I wanted to take those influences in a different direction and low and behold, I found fresh halibut and asparagus popping up everywhere - so I let those be my guide. But how could I combine seaweed with them in a fun way? Tacos! Everyone loves tacos so why not do a twist with a seaweed asparagus slaw? After some trial and error, I came up with something that I’d eat again and again.
Now, don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients here! This recipe is more assembly than work and the two sauces come together easily, while the crispy chickpeas are totally optional. So don’t be overwhelmed, because these tacos are worth it and you’ll have left over crema and chickpeas to spare! I transformed my leftover crema into a spicy dressing for a cabbage slaw with more lemon and vinegar and some herbs. Enjoy!
1⁄2 pound fresh halibut
1 tbsp olive oil
1⁄2 tbsp of butter
1⁄2 bunch of asparagus
1⁄4 cup thawed, chopped Blue Evolution Wakame (or Kombu) seaweed
2 red radishes
2 green scallions
Sesame Slaw Dressing (recipe follows)
Sriracha “Crema” (recipe follows)
Lemon wedges, to serve
Extra radish, thinly sliced, to serve
Crispy chickpeas (optional, recipe follows)
Ingredients: Sesame Slaw Dressing
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
Juice of a medium lemon
1⁄2 tsp sugar, superfine if possible
1⁄4 tsp kosher salt
A few shakes of fish sauce
Ingredients: Sriracha “Crema”
Makes 1/2 cup
1⁄2 cup full fat greek yogurt or sour cream
2 tsp Sriracha
1 tsp lemon juice
1 small clove of garlic, finely grated
1⁄4 tsp kosher salt
Ingredients: Crispy Chickpeas
1 - 15oz can of chickpeas, drained
Preheat oven to 400 ̇F. Season halibut with kosher salt and pepper.
Make the sesame slaw dressing (recipe below).
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. The water should taste of salt, but not as salty as the sea.
Prep veggies: Break off woody asparagus ends, then chop into thirds. Slice radishes into matchsticks and place in a medium bowl. Chop scallions. Add white and light green parts to the bowl with your radishes. Blanch asparagus and sugar kelp. Cook until asparagus turns bright green, about 1-2 minutes. Be careful not to overcook as we want it to retain it’s crunchy bite (this happens faster than you think). Drain into a strainer and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Once cool, use your hand to lightly push on the asparagus and kelp to remove the excess water. Add to the bowl with the radishes and scallions.
Add the slaw dressing and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Heat a medium cast iron skillet (or other oven safe frying pan) over medium heat until hot. Add olive oil and butter (or more olive oil). Once the butter has foamed, add the halibut and cook until brown, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and brown other side. Adjust heat as necessary if the fish is burning (remembering every stove top is different, I have an electric stovetop).
Once brown on both sides, remove from heat and place in the oven to cook through. This can take from 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish and how quickly it browned on your stovetop. Check for doneness with a knife to see if it flakes easily in the center. Once cooked through let cool a moment and then flake with a fork into medium chunks.
Warm corn tortillas in another skillet over high heat or directly over the flame of a gas stovetop.
To serve, spoon a good dollop of Sriracha “Crema” (recipe below) into a tortilla, top with the warm slaw, a few pieces of halibut, and finish with a garnish of dark green onions, thinly sliced radishes, sesame seeds, crispy chickpeas (recipe below) and wedges of lemon.
Method: Sesame Slaw Dressing
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust salt as needed, remembering that the seaweed in the slaw will add some natural saltiness.
Method: Sriracha “Crema”
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir with a fork until fully combined. Taste and adjust spice, salt and acidity as needed.
Method: Crispy Chickpeas
Preheat oven to 425 ̇F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Roll the drained chickpeas in a clean dish towel beneath your hands to dry and remove some of the outer skin. For the crispiest chickpea, you can be meticulous and remove all the skins by hand, but typically I find they’re good enough without that extra effort.
Add the chickpeas to your baking sheet with a healthy glug of olive oil and big sprinklings of kosher salt. Use your hand to coat the chickpeas in the oil and salt, adding more as needed.
Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, until brown and crispy, shaking the pan once or twice during cooking. They’ll crisp up more as they cool so take them out when they’re just about there. Let cool and store in an airtight container for about 5 days. Depending on the humidity, these might only stay crispy for the first day, but they’re still more than edible thereafter.