Some time ago my friend Justin Cummins invited my wife and me over to his house for dinner. I had no idea what was on the menu, but I was in for a real treat!
When we got there, I asked, “What’s for dinner?”
Justin said, “Fish tacos.”
Fish tacos! What?
Having grown up in Idaho, I had never heard of fish tacos. I thought the idea was absurd. Who puts fish in their tacos?
Little did I realize that fish tacos not only pre-date the arrival of Europeans on the American continent but that they are also one of the tastiest exports to come from Baja, Mexico, since Cerveza. 1
So needless to say I was very skeptical! I was a good sport though — I am willing to try anything at least once. And I’m glad I did!
Those tacos — made with fresh caught Steelhead pulled from the Little Salmon River in Riggins Idaho — were delicious! My eyes were opened to new horizons that day, and I owe that to my friend Justin. Now, I look at tacos in a whole new light.
Since then I have worked on perfecting my recipe for this delicacy. And this is what I have created.
1 package of bacon
4 tilapia fillets (for when you don’t have freshly caught fish on hand)
½ cup chives chopped
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
¼ tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic salt
½ tsp. lemon pepper
1 cup shredded lettuce
¼ cup diced tomatoes
1 package tortillas
If you are not able to make it to the lake, you can prepare this delicious meal at home.
Start with the bacon. Grill it over medium heat until you have reached the desired consistency.
Then keep the grease. You will need it later.
I found that if you make crispy bacon, you will only need the grease from half the package.
While the bacon is cooking, season the thawed tilapia with ¼ tsp. garlic powder, 1/8 tsp. ground white pepper, ¼ tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. garlic salt and ½ tsp. lemon pepper.
Then chop ½ cup worth of chives
Once the bacon is ready, use the grease to cook the seasoned tilapia. When the tilapia is halfway cooked, add the chives.
(Note: The USDA states that you must cook fish and shellfish at a minimum temperature of 145*F or 71.1*C for safety).
Once the tilapia is cooking, start shredding the lettuce and dicing the tomatoes. You will want at least ½ cup of lettuce and ¼ cup of diced tomatoes. Then slice the lime into equal wedge pieces.
Place a tortilla on a plate.
Then, add a bed of lettuce and tomatoes. Add fresh lime juice to the bed of veggies. After that, add a scoop of tilapia mix on top. You can add sour cream and salsa if desired. Serve with a smile and enjoy!
If you are going camping here are a few tips.
To conserve on space, prepare ahead of time.
Let’s start with the seasonings. Instead of bringing half of your kitchen cupboard to go camping, you can conserve by pre-portioning your needed spices and putting them in a Ziploc bag.
Also, instead of bringing fresh chives, you can use dried chives. Just be sure to use only 1/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup. You can put that in with the bag of spices.
Next. Dice the tomatoes and shred the lettuce. Once you have made enough, you can mix these together and place into a Ziploc bag as well.
Then, cut a lime into equal wedges going from end to end. You can put these into the bag with the lettuce and tomato.
If you plan on catching your fish, there is no need to pack any. If you are planning on bringing some, make sure it is frozen. Not only will it last longer, but it will also act as an ice pack for the cooler.
Don’t forget the bacon!
(Note: While turkey bacon is a healthy alternative to regular bacon, it does not produce enough grease and will not work with this recipe).
You can make bacon for breakfast the day you set out for camp, after all, you don’t need it for this recipe. Just the grease.
Be sure to collect the grease in a heat safe container.
Once you have arrived and it’s dinner time, start by making the fire. Cooking over hot coals is better than an open flame. Bacon grease can be flammable sometimes. You don’t want your food catching on fire!
While the fire is turning into coals, start thawing the tilapia. If you caught your fish, make sure it is all prepared by the time the coals are ready.
Then add the bacon grease to the frying pan or iron skillet.
Once the smell of bacon is permeating the campground and you can hear the crackling sound of the hot oil over the fire, carefully add the fish.
Now, add the pre-portioned bag of seasoning to the pan.
While the fish is cooking, start warming up the tortillas.
After you cook the fish, add the vegetable mix to the tortillas. You will know that you cooked the fish thoroughly when it is no longer translucent, but an opaque white color throughout.
Then, carefully add the desired portion of fish to each tortilla.
Top this off with the juice of a fresh squeezed lime wedge.
Lastly, enjoy with friends or family.
Do you have a favorite recipe for camping? Be sure to mention that in the comments section below, or if you have any tips when it comes to cooking fish be sure to mention them too.
As always it’s been a pleasure.
And be sure to check our other articles for other helpful tips.
A Certified Sheepdog Man