Cooking with booze. Tequila!!!!

Most people have very serious opinions regarding tequila. There are those who 30 years after college still remember the aftermath of a tequila binge on a cold Saturday night in Syracuse, NY. The same thing has been known to happen with Jack Daniels and Jaggermeister. The memory is so wretched, visceral and vivid (even 30 years later) that these people can’t even utter the word ‘tequila’ without throwing up in their mouth just a little bit. And the smell…forget about it! This recipe is not for these individuals.
Just step away from the blog post and think good thoughts.
Then there are those who really love tequila.
Often times they love it in the form of a margarita. Here in PDX I’ve discovered two drinks involving tequila (and beer. yes beer.) that I would happily drink every day. The latter wouldn’t be prudent of course. Both were devised by the ever so talented, creative and fabulous bartending geniuses at Bunk Bar. One is called ‘The Iceberg.’ A cold, frosty glass of Mt. Rainer beer topped with a big plop of frozen margarita mix. You won’t believe how good it is. I often have two. Three essentially puts me out for the remainder of the day. Don’t let the concept of beer and the plop of margarita mix deter you.
Typhoon Shandy
The other drink is equally as lovely and refreshing. I think Bunk calls it a Typhoon Shandy. I call it a Turbo Shandy for obvious reasons.  Get a glass. Fill it half way with PBR (it must be PBR) then add equal shots of tequila and grapefruit juice. I think the actual bartenders do something especially magical when they make this drink, but this is how I do it at home. Once you’ve tried this you will wonder why waited so long mix beer with tequila.  I highly recommend this as the official cocktail of this year’s Super Bowl if you happen to be hosting. 
I wouldn’t pair margaritas or shots of tequila  with this dish. That would definitely be overkill and could lead to serious regrets the next day. Although having a margarita or doing shots while making the dish makes perfect sense. Make an avocado salad and rice to serve on the side. You’ll want to add this to your weekly repertoire.
Cherry Tomato Tequila Butter Salsa with Fried Fish
I really take exception with the term ‘fried’ when it comes to this recipe. The fish is pan-seared. Not given the Kentucky Fried treatment.Marinade and coating for fish

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 2 fillets of catfish (or any other meaty white fish will do)
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper
Tequila Butter Salsa

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped cilantro stems (I actually know people who have only the stems in a bag in the freezer. These people are proper cooks. If you don’t happen to have just stems it doesn’t mean that you’re a sub-par cook by any means. Just strip the leaves off and use them as a garnish.)
  • 1teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • water or chicken stock
  • 1-2 shot tequila (one for the salsa. one for you. one for the salsa. and so on.)
  • lime juice and/or zest to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons soft butter
  • 2 chopped green onions for garnish
  1. Mix the olive oil, lime juice, and garlic with the fish (or chicken) in a non-reactive bowl and let rest for 1 hour.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, garlic, cilantro stems, and lime zest and begin cooking it down, stirring occasionally. It should be well cooked down and bright red, and the juices should be a bit reduced. Add stock or water to the salsa if needed to keep it from sticking. Add tequila; I go for 2 shots of tequila (not sure if she meant for the dish or herself or both?) and add a bit more lime zest and lime juice for mine. Cook some more until the juices are reduced.
  3. Heat a thin layer of butter and/or oil in another large saute pan over medium high heat. Season the corn meal with salt and pepper, dredge the fish and fry in the olive oil or butter until golden brown on both sides, flipping once, about 1-2 minutes. Remove to a warm oven while you finish the sauce.
  4. To finish: Stir in a few tablespoons of softened butter off heat. Do this off the heat as you want the butter to make a creamy sauce. Serve over the fish. Garnish with chopped green onions and serve with lime wedges. Note: A nice crunchy finishing salt as an option for guests can be served along side the dish.

Recipe and image courtesy of, yet again the amazing people at food52 who I love and adore!

Enjoy. Until next time…Moose out.

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2 thoughts on “Cooking with booze. Tequila!!!!

  1. Are we thinking of the same cold Tequila filled night in Syracuse? Love this recipe, though! And ask me about the night I spent with Don Julio….

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