Taco time: surf ‘n’ turf edition


I’ve had this post as a draft for a little over a week now. Finally done moving! Just some unpacking to do, but we are loving the new apartment. Especially the dogs! Below is the post as written before we finished moving. 

We’re in the middle of the moving process. Right now I’m at our new apartment sitting out in the patio typing this blog post. Life feels good when you have a nice breeze while relaxing outside. We’ll be moving everything officially this weekend with help from family and movers. It can be a headache at times to move and get packing (my husband jokes that the kitchen gear will be the worst to finish packing), but it is always an exciting time for us! I think it was my sister who gave me the good advice to keep Tylenol handy while moving! While cleaning out the fridge, I realized that I have some ingredients to make some tacos, two ways:  fish and steak. Or, as I like to call it, surf ‘n’ turf tacos. By the way, do you spy a hungry doggy waiting in the background?


For the surf:  salmon with tangerine and avocado slaw on a lettuce taco shell


For the turf:  pan-seared tri-tip with pico de gallo and microgreens on a feta, goat cheese & chard-filled pupusa. So maybe this is a pupusa/taco hybrid or perhaps a tacusa? A bit harder to fold up to eat, but it didn’t bother us. You may want to cut the meat a bit smaller and not fill it as much so it is easier to eat.


With these surf ‘n’ turf tacos, we used some unconventional taco shells.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat tortillas and they are #1 choice of taco wrappers, but here at food flavor fascination, we like variety, or rather it is perhaps a bit of resourcefulness. You see, I didn’t have any tortillas and I didn’t want to stock up the kitchen more than it already was. Plus, even though I had some Maseca, I didn’t feel like making corn tortillas from scratch that day and cleaning up more than I had to. It was a hot day too! I do like to make it from scratch sometimes though, for fun and for the flavor. I had some feta, goat cheese, and rainbow chard pupusas (stuffed tortilla “cakes”) leftover, so I decided to use that as the “tortilla” for the turf tacos. The cheese within the pupusa taco shell was a nice new sensation with the steak and toppings. Would do this crazy thing again! You know what? I bet you could use parathas as taco shells for a spicy twist, Indian-fusion style.


I also had some Boston lettuce on hand so I used that for tacos too! Lettuce can make great, refreshing tacos, but maybe they are just lettuce wraps/cups. That’s just semantics and that’s okay with me. I first saw green leafy veggies used as a taco shell on a YouTube show called Gluten Free with Alex T (check it out!). So these shells are gluten free too! J Salmon is on our favorite’s list of fish to eat, so I used wild caught silverbrite salmon, which is a lighter fleshed variety.  Mahi Mahi or other white-type fish are classic fish taco choices that are tasty here too! This Southern California girl loves fish tacos 🙂 If you are a shellfish fan, of shrimp, scallops, lobster, etc.—you could use that instead.

On a side note, while packing and cleaning, it means time for me to pump up the jams. Among Mozart, Stevie Wonder, The Youngbloods, Joni Mitchell, and contemporary music, I have been playing on repeat “Pressure” by Until The Ribbon Breaks (a modern/cinematic/hip-hop, electronic kind of jam) at high volumes. Nice, yet serious lyrics, seriously pumps me up regardless. His music is like listening to a movie. Addictive too.


On a taco note,, you can see one of our dogs Nutter, looking under the table and waiting for some of the tacos to drop. He’s on a special diet from the vet. No tacos, but just Taste of the Wild for him!

Surf ‘n’ Turf Tacos


 Surf Tacos – serves ~4

  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Juice and zest of half a lime or lemon
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage (red cabbage would be lovely too!)
  • pinch of cumin (optional)
  • pinch of chili powder (optional)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1-2 serrano or  chiles, sliced—can also use you’re your favorite chile or even chipotle in adobo (optional)
  • 1-2 tangerines, deseeded and cubed
  • 1 pound fish/shellfish
  • dash of cooking oil, preferably one for high heat cooking
  • 0.5-1 avocado
  • Boston lettuce leaves, washed and dried
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt, mayo, lime juice, lime zest, cabbage, cumin, chili powder, salt & pepper, Serrano chiles, and tangerines. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.
  2. Pat-dry fish/shellfish with a paper towel then rub with oil. Season with salt & pepper. Heat pan to high and add oil. Sear fish and cook about 3-4 minutes per side. For shellfish, about 1.5-2 minutes per side. Break the pan-seared fish into strips to fit your taco shell.
  3. When ready to serve, thinly slice the avocado and cut  into 1 inch pieces.  Mix it into the slaw.
  4. Assemble the tacos: Place a portion of fish onto a lettuce leaf, then top with slaw and onion. Sprinkle with cilantro and enjoy!

Turf Tacos- serves ~4

  • 3-4 tomatoes (I used Roma), diced
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1-2 serrano or jalapeño chiles, finely chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dash cooking oil, preferably one for high-heat cooking
  • 1-1.5 pounds of the highest quality tri-tip that you can get (I got a really nice grass-fed one that’s guaranteed to be juicy… and it was!)
  • Tortilla shells, or pupusas to make tacusas like I did, warmed
  • Microgreens
  • Any other toppings of your choice of course!
  1. Make pico de gallo by mixing  tomatoes, onion, scallions, chiles, limes, lime zest, cilantro, oregano and salt & pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.
  2. Pat dry the steak with a paper towel. Rub with oil and season with salt & pepper. Heat a cast-iron skillet to high and sear steaks, cooking 2-4 minutes per side depending on thickness and desired temperature. Give steak time to rest under a foil tent for about 5 minutes. In the meantime, get your toppings ready.
  3. Assemble the tacos:  Slice the steak into desired size and place on the taco shell. Top with pico de gallo and microgreens or put them under the meat as I did. Serve with your favorite taco accompaniments! Maybe a margarita?


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