So what do you do when you're out for the day with your husband and four kids (ages 13, 11, 8 and 5), and it's getting late and the kids are hungry and verging on really cranky? Do you go to the nicest restaurant you can find? The one filled with people that are out to have a quiet dinner with drinks, and then linger over dessert and coffee?
You find the restaurants that cater to parents out with their kids. Not my favorite places for sure, but what can you do? I won't torture those above mentioned quiet diners with my loud and rambunctious (not to mention hungry) herd.
This is how we ended up at TGI Friday's last weekend. The kids were happy, so who was I to complain? They have the standard kid's menu stuff--mini pizza, mac and cheese, spaghetti, etc. Kids were taken care of, but what were my husband and I going to get? I figured we'd end up with a burger or sandwich, but we both chose the fish tacos. They were actually pretty good! Really good, in fact. They consist of panko covered tilapia, corn salsa, lemon dill remoulade, and lettuce, wrapped in a flour tortilla.
My husband and I decided we could make them better, and more importantly, fresher at home. So I set out to find the recipes for the corn salsa and remoulade sauce. The fish was easy enough. Any white fish, sprinkled with taco seasoning (that I'll also include the recipe for) and dipped in egg and panko, then fried to a crispy golden brown.
The Lemon Dill Remoulade Sauce can be found here. I ended up adding a couple more tablespoons of mayo to the sauce, along with a pinch of sugar to mellow out the very tangy lemon. And I left out the capers. No offense to all of you caper lovers, but little balls of briney yuckiness have no place in my heart. Ick. The sauce is so good, and really mellows out while you make the rest of the taco stuff, so make this first and stick it in the fridge while you wait.
The corn salsa is very fresh tasting and a nice, sweet contrast to the tangy lemon dill sauce. You can find the recipe for that here. I didn't change anything in this recipe. Adjust the heat by leaving in or taking out the seeds and ribs of the jalapeno.
The taco seasoning is so much better homemade. I don't buy it anymore because who knows what preservatives they put in those envelopes? And I'll bet you most likely have all of these spices at home already. I like to quadruple this recipe so I have some made up to store away.
The fish we used was some Striper that we had in the freezer, but you could use any white fish. Just cut it in strips about 4 inches long, sprinkle both sides with taco seasoning, dip them in a bowl with two beaten eggs, and then dredge them in panko bread crumbs. Heat some oil, about 3 inches worth, in a pan to about 350° on a thermometer. Drop a few pieces at a time into the oil, and fry until they come to the surface, 2-3 minutes. The thinner pieces took about 2, and the thicker ones were 3 minutes. Drain on brown paper or paper towels. And make sure you let the oil come back up to 350° between batches. You don't want to fry in cooler oil, or it all seeps into the food instead of searing the outside.
To make your tortillas warm and pliable, dip them in cool water for a few seconds, then put them in a warm skillet for a few seconds on each side--just until the water evaporates, which happens quickly. Put them on a flat surface, and in the center, put a piece or two of fish, some corn salsa, lettuce and some remoulade.
No, that's not brown lettuce. :P It's a red leaf lettuce from a salad blend.
Place each one seam-side down in the warm pan to seal the edge shut.
So, the moral of the story is...well, there is no moral, is there? These were delicious, and we're definitely going to make them again. I suppose you could saute the fish in a pan instead if frying it (which I'll most likely do next time), but my knight in shining armor, my husband, said he'd fry them for me. I hate deep frying--it makes me nervous.
The kids had fun at Friday's, and it's fun for them to go out for dinner once in a while. As far as family places go, it was pretty good. Nice server, everyone enjoyed their food, and the kids got to have cups of dirt for dessert--with gummy worms, even! hehe.