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Fresh Shark Tacos With Lime & Red Onion Marinade

We are back from our trip to Scotland and Ireland and slowly catching up on mail, emails and returning calls. Nothing out of the ordinary. We are also catching up on friends' news, family happenings and local news.

I can feel that I am a harder time than him adjusting to being back. Just getting back into the groove of things. The wider roads, driving on the other side, the blistering temperatures and evening thunderstorms.

Leaving this part of Europe made me feel as homesick as when I leave France after visiting. The landscape may be a tad bit different but I know the customs, the differences, the little quirks. I am familiar with green pastures, cattle, small farms and strange weather. It was as close to home as I knew it before I moved to the US.


Local Lemon Lime

I was not prepared to fall in love with Scotland. I was not prepared to feel so at peace in the brutal landscape of some parts of Northern Ireland. I was not ready to go home. Plans are already being formulated for a future visit. Bill and I spent the greater part of the plane ride home mapping out another route to take next year.

We work really well while traveling and this trip was no exception. All our planning worked out perfectly, leaving plenty of space and time for the unscheduled, the unknown, the spontaneous. Finding great little cafes and restaurants with local bon vivants giving us tips on the better roads to take, the good ferries to catch, etc…

I believe everyone we met received an invitation to come visit us here. Might have been the Jameson or the Oban talking. We were just inebriated from the fresh air and lush beauty around us.


Fresh Shark Tacos

We ate well. Local fish, meat and vegetables. Eggs from local hens, milk from nearby dairies and lovely local cheeses and yogurt. Nothing that we don’t already do here but you know how it goes…things always taste a bit different when in a different place than home.

My usual breakfast is a cup of coffee and a cup of coffee. This trip, I had a hot breakfast of tea, toast, jam, eggs and sometimes bacon every morning. I did not feel any different from it but I did enjoy that moment spent with him, mapping out the day ahead and anticipating the surroundings to come.


Fresh Shark Tacos

We live in a sea town where access to fresh fish is akin to taking a breath of fresh air. A natural occurrence. Shark, catfish, pompano, oysters and shrimp are easy to find and fish around here. You can imagine that we were giddy as can be feasting on local salmon, cod, coley, bream, … the list goes on.

Preparations were new, different and always tasty. And if I could have peat smoked anything for the rest of my life, I’d be a happy gal.

We got back yesterday afternoon and I have yet to make a dent in editing pictures from the trip. That’s my plan for the next couple of days. In the meantime, I leave you with a recipe for some tasty Shark Fish Tacos I made before we left.

Super tasty and really easy to make. The garnish can be as varied and different as you wish.


Lime and Cilantro

The marinade for the shark is very much based on the Halibut Tacos recipe written by Becky Selengut in her book "Good Fish". I love that book. I can adapt all the recipes to our local fish and seafood. If you don’t have it in your arsenal…run to get it.


Fresh Shark Tacos

Fresh Shark Tacos, adapted from Becky Selengut’s Good Fish.

Note: please be aware that all shark is not created equal in terms of species, fishing and overall health properties. More information about it and other seafood and fish can be found here.

1 pound fresh shark or other firm fish
2 limes, zested and juiced
1 small onion, cut in half crosswise and sliced thin
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno, membranes and seeds removed, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tequila (or water)
4 tablespoons olive oil
fresh ground pepper
pinch of salt

Remaining ingredients:
fresh flour (regular or gluten free) or corn tortillas
avocado (cubes or slices)
cut tomatoes
arugula and extra cilantro
sour cream or creme fraiche

Cut the fish into 2-inch cubes and place them in a large dish.

In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients for the marinade (from the limes to the salt and pepper). Mix well, and pour over the fish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour, turning the fish occasionally.

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium high heat. Add about 2 teaspoons of olive oil and cook the shark in batches for about 4 minutes on each side. Do not add the marinade ingredients just yet. Adjust the cooking time depending on the thickness of your fish. A thinner fish will not take as long.

You want to work in batches to prevent overcrowding your pan and drop the heat in it significantly which will result in boiled fish and not sauteed.

Remove all the fish pieces to a platter and loosely tend with foil to keep warm. In the meantime, pour all the marinade ingredients in the pan where you cooked the fish and cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and the liquid has evaporated.

To serve: place the fish on large platter with the cooked marinade ingredients around, fresh cilantro, arugula, tomatoes, avocado, etc… so that each guest can fill their own tortilla. Serve sour cream, guacamole, and other sides in bowls long side.

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Averie @ Averie Cooks July 25, 2012 um 10:17 pm

glad your trip was so good that you're already planning another – but sad that it was 'so good' that it almost leaves you homesick – bittesrweet. But hopefully more sweet than bitter ๐Ÿ™‚

Anonymous July 25, 2012 um 10:24 pm

I'm glad you enjoyed our beautiful country. As an Irish transplant (by way of Scotland), I miss it now that I'm here in London!

Ilke July 25, 2012 um 11:19 pm

I have not had shark before but any fish taco captures me.
I just visited Heirloom book store yesterday as we are in Folly Beach this week and loved the idea and how they laid out everything, along with your beautiful pictures. Wish there was one of your classes here so that I could meet you.
I am looking forward to your pictures from Scotland.

Helene July 25, 2012 um 11:25 pm

Ilke: already held a couple here in town this year! Too bad you could not make it then.

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures July 26, 2012 um 1:16 pm

I would love to make these with shrimp! Delicious!!!

Laura July 26, 2012 um 1:52 pm

I have been eating tacos a lot lately, such an easy and quick meal. I need to add some fish to the repertoire.

I have been to both Scotland and Ireland and like you I fell in love with the beauty of the countryside. I remember one glacial valley in particular, filled with heather in bloom, spectacular. What I also fell in love with were the people of both countries, including an old man whose accent was so thick I could not make a word he said.

Can't wait to see pictures of your trip.

Nanasniftynitch July 26, 2012 um 5:31 pm


Would this be good with chicken? It sound wonderful except for the fish, I am deathly allergic to fish. My DH would love it. lol But I can't even cook fish in my home as the smell is enough for me to get sick.

Thank you for all your wonderful recipes and sharing your beautiful travels with us.


Susana July 26, 2012 um 7:35 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.

Helene July 26, 2012 um 7:53 pm

Nana: anything will work instead of fish. Enjoy!

cathy @ Noble Pig July 26, 2012 um 8:14 pm

I haven't had fresh shark in years, it's time to fix that!

Laura July 26, 2012 um 8:15 pm

Welcome home! Yum, the tacos look amazing ๐Ÿ™‚ Makes me miss the fresh fish available in CHS…..

Suzanne Perazzini July 27, 2012 um 7:12 am

Wow, to the anti-shark eating brigade!
On a different note, I visited Scotland a few years ago and love it to bits. I just adore its wild, rugged landscape. I could almost hear the Highlanders marching over the hills to fight at the Battle of Culloden. The Isle of Skye was amazing and we even managed to see it without rain, which apparently is rare. Edinburgh was so pretty and again it didn't rain while we were there. It was a fabulous holiday so I understand how hard it was for you to leave. That's the only problem with holidays – they are over too soon and we yearn for the next one.

Simones Kitchen July 27, 2012 um 1:37 pm

It was so great finally getting to meet you after having read your blog for years Helene. I am still not back, flying today back to Amsterdam. I had a great second part of my trip to Ireland and I too fell in love with the country and it's people. I have so many pics to process once I am back not sure when that will all be done!
I am sure we will meet again!

Jasmine Pahl July 27, 2012 um 4:27 pm

These look wonderful and thanks for the great tip on the fish book. While on the subject of books, I just got a copy of your phototgraphy book. It's AMAZING!! I love your blog even more after reading your words there. Keep up the amazing images, food and teaching!

Rocky Mountain Woman July 27, 2012 um 7:47 pm

I haven't had shark in years, not since I left Florida. I have a freezer full of sea bass from my last fishing expedition to the coast, so I will try and substitute.


kitchen essence July 28, 2012 um 3:15 am

Scotland sounds amazing!

Helen July 29, 2012 um 10:02 am

I've enjoyed reading your blog, but this is probably the last time I'll be looking in. If people cannot write comments like Ally's very unaggressive one without getting a broadside from you, I have no interest reading here any longer. Disagreeing is fine, but there a different way of doing.

I wish you continued success in your endeavours, but I for one, will not be looking in any longer.

Vicky July 29, 2012 um 1:50 pm

Helen: does the phrase "if you can't take it, don't dish it" ring a bell?
I was actually glad to see Helene engage in responding to comments when 1/ when asked, several fish & seafood authorities have confirmed my thought that some species of shark were not on the "avoid" list and, as can be seen, did not descend on this post in flames.
2/ she actually published the negative comments and responded instead of sending them to the trash folder which many other food bloggers do to avoid any kind of controversy on their posts.
Actually, I thought she was pretty level headed in her response. I am not sure I would have avoided certain expletives, had I been in her shoes. Just a matter of perspective.

Helene July 29, 2012 um 2:01 pm

Hmmm… At this point, I really don't want to see this post turn into a back and forth of "you said – she said' "you think – she thinks" "you did – she did".

I believe everyone has spoken their piece and without pretending to be anything else than who they were, human beings with feelings and opinions, right or wrong, good or bad.
So, instead of deleting comments or keeping open a line of discussion that is going no where, I am closing off the comment thread.

Thank you everyone for making this blog exactly what it is supposed to be: reality (which is never coated in sugar or seen through pink colored glasses).

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