Summer cooking for runners: Fish Taco Dinner

A monkfish in it's natural element.

A monkfish in it’s natural element.

Summer is going fast.  Here we are, already in August, and it seems the autumn races will be on us in no time.  But while it is still here, summer is the time to enjoy cooking on the grill, and eating the fresh produce available locally.  Certainly there is an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits now.  This report will focus on a nice way to enjoy grilled fish.

The fish taco has a great many variations, and there are those who would argue for one over another, one being more “authentic”.  Paying no attention to purists, this is my version of this dish, along with an accompanying vegetable medley.

Menu:  Fish Tacos (or fish fajitas)

Bean, Corn and Pepper medley

The main attraction of this dish is the grilled fish.  Two of my favorites for making fish tacos are Mahi Mahi, otherwise known as dolphin fish:

Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi

and monkfish, a really bizarre bottom dweller known as the “poor man’s lobster.”  It is also known as having all head and tail and no body, and the tail, cheeks and liver are the parts that people eat:

Monkfish in the market

Monkfish in the market

In most markets, one won’t see the whole monkfish, just the tail portion.  Both of these fish are generally available, and are not considered endangered.  There is a tagging program for monkfish run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the US government, and the website has some very interesting information on this fish, as well as great photos.

The mahi mahi is a tender, tasty fish which is very lean.  It can be cooked directly on the grill, but I prefer to grill it on foil, to protect it.

Mahi mahi filet prepared for grilling.

Mahi mahi filet prepared for grilling.

I used a mango chipotle marinade on the top half, for the fish tacos, and a sesame soy marinade on the bottom half, for another dinner.  On the grill, the cooking time varies depending on the intensity of the heat and the thickness of the fish.  It is done when it is flaky and cooked white all the way through.

Mahi mahi sharing the grill with some bison burgers and sliced yams.

Mahi mahi sharing the grill with some bison burgers and sliced yams.

I cook the monkfish the same way, on foil to protect it.  Monkfish is a lot denser than mahi mahi, yet it is still very lean.

Shredded cabbage

Shredded cabbage

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Black Bean and Corn Salsa



Assembling the tacos requires the following ingredients:

tortillas (of your choice, corn or flour, but they should be the large ones)

grilled fish

shredded cabbage

Muir Glen Organic Black Bean & Corn Salsa, medium hot

ripe avocado

light pepper ranch salad dressing

The fish can be used right off the grill, fresh and hot.  It can also be refrigerated once it is cooked and it is still good for a few days.

Tortilla with monkfish.  This was grilled with a fajita marinade.

Tortilla with monkfish. This was grilled with a fajita marinade.

Next comes the fresh, shredded cabbage.

Next comes the fresh, shredded cabbage.

Spoon some of the salsa over the fish and cabbage.

Spoon some of the salsa over the fish and cabbage.

Add some avocado slices to top it off.

Add some avocado slices to top it off.

Add a drizzle of light pepper ranch salad dressing on top.  This adds a little creamy sweetness to counter the heat of the salsa.  Then, wrap it up!


Black and White Bean, Black Eyed Peas, Corn and Pepper side dish:

This is my wife’s recipe, and she is the cook for this cold dish.


grilled corn on the cob, four ears

two ripe Jersey tomatoes, chopped small

one large can of black beans, 1lb. 13oz., rinsed

one can of small white beans, 15.5oz., rinsed

one can of black eyed peas, 15.5oz., rinsed

two bell peppers, one green, one red, chopped in small pieces

six green onions, diced

one quarter cup of chopped cilantro

Ken’s Light Caesar dressing or red wine and vinegar dressing

We start by grilling the corn shucked and straight on the grill, to give it a nice char.  This enhances the flavor of the corn.  The corn is cut off the cob and placed in a large bowl.  The other ingredients are added.  Finally, we add a dressing of Ken’s Light Caesar dressing, or some other such as red wine vinegar dressing, to give it some zing.  Mix it all up and serve.

For a beverage to go with this meal, here are some suggestions:

Kona Brewing Company Longboard Lager, a malty lager which complements fish tacos, if only because of it’s Hawaiian heritage.  The Kona one buys on the mainland is brewed here, not in Hawai’i, but according to the Kona recipe.

Iced tea, can’t go wrong with this.

Milagro Farm Estate Grown Rosé of Sangiovese, a dry rosé which matches well with the spicy fish.  If you happen to live in San Diego, seek this one out.  If not, you’ll probably need to find another rosé, preferably dry and medium bodied.

Today was an “almost too good to be true” day.  No rain, blue sky with an artists display of cumulus clouds, and dry, moderate temperatures.  I had a good fourteen mile run today, at a very decent pace.  It was such a relief not to run in murderous heat and humidity.  I’m looking forward to enjoying a couple of these tacos for dinner this evening.

¡Buen Provecho! and happy running.

Leave a comment


  1. Ed

     /  August 4, 2013

    What time is dinner? 😉

  2. Brandon

     /  August 5, 2013

    When are you coming over to make these? I’ll provide the beer and the grill.


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