During the summer months I am definitely all about Tequila, but specifically a good margarita. In my opinion, the following conditions must be met to qualify as a certified margarita:
- decent tequila, preferably añejo (or aged)
- lime juice
- on the rocks
- salted rim
After that, it’s just a matter of preference and how much fun you want to have with this classic beverage. If you have a juicer, I might recommend juicing a watermelon with a few jalapeños. This adds just the right amount of sweet & heat, without the burden of heavy sugars that I think too often unnecessarily dominates the essence of a margarita–tequila and lime.
In a pinch, you may be able to find cold pressed watermelon juice at your local market–just don’t use anything with added sugars, grape juice concentrate, or other concentrated fruit juices.
Another variation I like to bestow upon my margarita is to soak the rim of the glass in something sweet and sticky, like Grand Marnier, and then to dip the glass into a chili-salt mixture. Recently, my father-in-law mailed me a jar of homemade jalapeño simple syrup–pretty amazing.
Monkfish, or the poor man’s lobster, makes for a pretty solid fish taco. Monkfish has the same buttery, mellow flavor and texture you would expect from lobster, without the hassle of dealing with lobster. The market in our neighborhood sells monkfish for about $9/lb, significantly cheaper than lobster. When ordering at the seafood counter, make sure to ask the fish monger to clean it, which is to say to remove the membrane. While not impossible or difficult to accomplish one’s self, it requires a very sharp knife and some knowledge of exactly what part of the fish to remove before preparing.
I’ve found the best way to cook monkfish is in a searing hot cast iron skillet with butter and a squeeze of lemon. Like most fish, monkfish will cook in 2-3 minutes, i.e. the fish can be cooked very close to serving time.
I prefer corn tortillas and then pickled red cabbage (red cabbage, rice wine, salt & pepper), chili marinated mangoes (apple vinegar, chili powder, mangoes), greek yogurt mixed with dried chilies, avocado smashed with red onion and tequila and of course a modicum of cheese.
Add some micro greens and a dollop of crushed red peppers… and don’t forget the margarita, and you have a pretty amazing little Summer evening dinner.