Written by Kon-Tiki Taco
Should you grill, broil or batter a fish taco? Either can make an event go swimmingly. Smart taco caterers know the advantages of each preparation method.
According to Food & Wine magazine, almost any kind of seafood works in a taco. That isn’t surprising to taco caterers who handle all kinds of special requests – and are able to meet most of them. The fact is that tacos are exceptionally versatile food, where the main ingredient can be complemented by a broad variety of toppings.
So popular are seafood or fish tacos – so in demand by those seeking catering from everything to private parties, business events and even weddings – that this demand is given rise to its own subcategory term: “Fish taco catering”.
As the magazine emphasizes, the milder fish tastes go better with milder toppings and those with a stronger seafood flavor will stand up better with spicier ingredients. For example, the white fish (snapper, tilapia, cod, etc.) go well with raw shredded cabbage while salmon, a bit stronger in taste, can do better with hot chili sauces, rubs and a little bit of charring on the grill. Farm-raised catfish or tilapia, valued for their sustainability, are particularly popular because they meld well with a broad variety of toppings and tastes.
But beyond taste there is texture. If hiring a taco cart catering company, insist on having a conversation about grilled, broiled and battered fish because the chef should know what event guests seem to prefer.
Grilling – Grilled fish will always win fans because, if done correctly, it will have the slight crispiness of the grill on the outside with the juices still inside. This happens when the taco catering chef will initially place the fish on the grill at high heat, which essentially singes the skin and effectively seals in the juices.
Broiling – Another preparation method is to broil the fish. Health advocates, which include many mobile taco catering company chefs, contend that broiling tends to be the most healthful way of getting the proteins and good fats of fish without adding unnecessary calories.
Battered – Yeah yeah yeah, we all know this adds some calories to the fish (or whichever ingredient one chooses to cover with flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt, and sometimes beer). But it’s really hard to argue with the taste and texture of a crunchy outside combined with the tasty inside of battered fish. With salsa of some sort added and wrapped in a corn tortilla it’s a tasty taco without comparison.
Tilapia is among the more popular types of fish used in gourmet tacos, despite some negative social media chatter about the genus. While it’s true that farm-raised tilapia in many foreign countries are raised in unsavory conditions, American farm-raised tilapia is much more desirable because those conditions are monitored and better managed. The venerated Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program and the Environmental Defense Fund’s Seafood Selector both deem tilapia farmed in the U.S., Canada and Ecuador as “best choices.” To be responsible to your guests, ask your taco caterers about the sources of all their foods.
Fish tacos are like that – there are many varieties, many methods of preparation, an infinite variety of toppings are available, and yet it makes sense to ask questions to make sure yours are made right for your crowd. You’ll probably provide alternatives – carne asada, jerk chicken and perhaps vegetarian soy/tofu selections. But the fish taco can be the star of the show when your guests discover how tasty this menu option can be.