Grilled fish tacos with Cucumber Slaw,
Basil Salsa, & Watermelon Granitas
Words by Kayla & Justin Butts of Four String Farm
Photos By Rachel Benavides of Rachel Durrent Photography
Fish tacos are the perfect way to blend summer flavors. Pick your produce ripe from the sun-baked land and take your fish fresh from the sun-drenched water.
Select speckled trout, redfish, or flounder for your tacos, or use black drum, which is becoming increasingly popular.
Grilling fish to perfection is easy with a nonstick fish grilling basket. The fish basket folds over the filet on top and bottom, gently holding the filet together. You can also grill shrimp, okra, and other delicate or smaller foods that would otherwise fall apart on the grill, or fall through the grate.
Fish tacos are often served with cabbage, but cabbage does not grow well here in summer months. Cucumbers, however, grow to vine-ripened perfection. Our favorite cucumber is the Marketmore variety—a nearly perfect cucumber. Red and orange bell peppers were picked to give the slaw bright colors and a deep flavor.
Use cherry tomatoes for the pico de gallo. Cherry tomatoes grow better in the brutal heat of August than the larger tomato varieties, and they explode with flavor, a distilled taste of the summer sun. We flavored the pico with basil, which grows into full-flavored bushes in August, rather than cilantro, which does not grow in the summer at all.
Granita is a frozen dessert similar to Italian ice or sorbet, except with granitas the ice crystals are larger and coarser. Granitas are popular in Italy, where every little town has their own unique version. We serve this granita on a Turkish coffee serving platter, but they also look mouth-watering in the hollowed out watermelon rind.
These dishes are perfect for a deck party, or for an easy weeknight meal for the family. We picked the produce for these recipes fresh from the garden, and the fish was caught the same day, purchased from the local fish market. When the ingredients are this fresh, you can keep the recipe very simple, and let the flavor of the garden shine through.
The tacos are delicious and healthy, and the granita may be the best guilt-free dessert you ever taste. Feel free to go back for seconds, and enjoy these flavors of summer while they last.
Grilled Fish Tacos
Yields: 4 servings
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
4 corn and flour blend tortillas
1 lb. fresh black drum, filet
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ c. olive oil
Cucumber Slaw & Basil
Pico de Gallo (see recipes below)
First prepare cucumber slaw and basil pico de gallo to allow flavors to develop while fish cooks. Preheat grill. Brush fish with olive oil and season liberally with sea salt and pepper. Place fish in a grill basket. Grill over low indirect heat for 3-4 minutes per side. Garnish with slaw and pico de gallo.
1 cucumber, grated (Marketmore variety)
¼ sweet bell pepper, grated
1 T. rice vinegar
2 t. sugar
1 large pinch salt
Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Let sit for at least 15 minutes to allow flavors to develop.
Basil Pico de Gallo
1 c. sweet cherry tomatoes, diced
1-2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
½ c. onion, diced (1015 variety)
1 T. lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small bunch basil, chopped
Combine ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Let rest for at least 15 minutes to allow flavors to develop.
Italian Iced Watermelon
Yields: 12 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Inactive prep time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Cook time: 2 minutes
¾ c. water
½ c. sugar
7 c. watermelon, peeled and cubed
4 T. lime juice, or juice of 2 limes
6 large leaves of sweet basil
Place 9×13” glass or metal dish in freezer.
Place water and sugar in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Simmer while stirring with a whisk until all of sugar is dissolved and liquid reaches a syrup consistency, about 2 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
Combine watermelon, simple syrup, lime and basil in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Pour watermelon mixture into cooled pan and place in the freezer. Using a whisk, stir mixture every 20 minutes, until desired consistency is reached. Enjoy immediately after serving.