What's shakin'? It's bacon. But we're not talking about ordinary bacon here. Instead, it's a recipe for a bold bacon mayonnaise that's Paleo-friendly and designed to fit into a seasonal approach to ancestral health diets. It's just one of the concoctions in a new cookbook called Paleo by Season.
The book also includes recipes for main dishes such as fish tacos. Both recipes are provided below. Read a review of the Paleo By Season cookbook plus information about a new fermented Paleo cookbook by clicking here.
YIELD 1¼ TO 1½ CUPS
- ½ CUP BACON FAT, IN LIQUID FORM AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
- ¾ CUP OLIVE OIL
- 2 LARGE EGG YOLKS
- 1 LARGE WHOLE EGG
- ¾ TEASPOON SALT
- 1 TEASPOON APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Combine the bacon fat and oil in one measuring cup and set aside.
In a small metal bowl, use an immersion blender to blend (or whisk by hand) the egg yolks and whole egg until the mixture becomes milky white and frothy. When you see it change dramatically in color and texture, continue to mix a little longer. (This last bit of whisking is for added insurance, as it’s at this stage that it’s easy to stop blending too soon, and if the eggs aren’t beaten enough, they cannot support the fat and emulsify into mayo.) Once the eggs are the desired consistency, begin to slowly add the oil mixture.
Continue to mix until all the oil is added, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with the salt and vinegar, and add more to taste as desired.
While you can use a blender to make mayonnaise, I would only recommend that if you have a Vitamix or something of similar quality. Do not use a hand mixer— it will just make a huge mess.
Battered Fish Tacos
Serves 2 to 3 • Cook time 6 minutes, plus 1 hour to make the spicy cabbage slaw
I love frying fish, and how people handle themselves on a fry station is a sign of how well they cook. Do they work clean, without getting egg and batter everywhere? Do they get the fish just right, not burning or overcooking it? It’s worth the time and practice to get good at it.
To make this meal come together more quickly, make the slaw the day before.
- 1 POUND HALIBUT OR OTHER WHITE FISH FILLETS, SUCH AS GROUPER, COD, OR POLLOCK, CUT INTO “FINGERS” A LITTLE THICKER THAN YOUR THUMB AND A BIT LONGER THAN YOUR INDEX FINGER (SEE NOTES)
- 1 CUP OLIVE OIL PLUS MORE AS NEEDED (SEE NOTES)
- FOR THE EGG WASH
- 1 LARGE EGG
- 3 TABLESPOONS WATER
- 1 TEASPOON SALT
- FOR THE ALMOND FLOUR COATING
- 2 CUPS FINE ALMOND FLOUR
- 1 TEASPOON SALT
- 1 TEASPOON FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
- SEVERAL BUTTER LETTUCE LEAVES, FOR SERVING
- SEVERAL LIME WEDGES, FOR SERVING
- SPICY CABBAGE SLAW (PAGE 52), FOR SERVING
If you don’t have leftover cabbage slaw, make that first, since it needs to marinate for at least 50 minutes.
Pat the fish completely dry with paper towels.
Pour the olive oil into a heavy sauté pan until it comes approximately ½ inch up the sides of the pan. (You want an amount that will reach halfway up the sides of the fish.) Slowly heat the oil over medium heat.
While the oil is heating, prepare the wash and dry coating: In a shallow bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the egg wash. In another shallow bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the almond flour coating.
Next, set up your assembly line: First comes your well-dried fish. Next is the egg wash, then the almond flour coating, followed by the pan with hot oil, and finally a plate or sheet pan lined with a paper towel, for the fried fish.
When the oil reaches 300°F, it’s ready. If you do not have a deep-fat thermometer, check if the oil has a shimmer and a wave to it; if it does, it’s ready to use. If it begins to smoke, it’s too hot. You can test the heat by dropping a pinch of almond flour in it; if it sizzles, it is hot enough.
It is best to work in batches of two or three fish pieces. Any more than this and things tend to get messy; plus, it lets you get back to the first piece of fish in the pan in time to flip it. It is important to have one wet hand and one dry hand when completing the batter process. To keep the process tidy, I typically wash my hands between batches.
Using your wet hand, place the fish into the egg wash, then, with the same hand, drop the fish into the flour. Use your dry hand to turn and coat the fish in the flour mixture and then carefully place it in the oil.
In 3 minutes the flour coating will start to turn golden-brown. Flip the fish and start coating the next round. Once flipped, the fish should cook another 2 to 3 minutes. It will turn one shade darker once you remove it from the oil, so pull it from the oil before you think it is done. I’m serious about this: when you are sure in every fiber of your being that it needs more time, that’s when it’s time to take it out. Set the fish on the paper towel−lined plate or sheet pan to drain.
Serve in a butter lettuce leaf, topped with cabbage slaw and a wedge of lime.
Always use equal parts egg and liquid in washes. Although a good rule of thumb is that a large egg is about 3 tablespoons in volume, all eggs vary slightly, so adjust the amount of liquid as needed.
Notes: Tilapia work well here, but the environmental impact of some tilapia farms ranges from iffy to downright bad. If you can find a responsible source, however, it’s a good substitute.
In place of olive oil you can use coconut oil or duck fat. I like to use olive oil when frying fish because it smokes when the oil is getting too hot. It’s best to cook fish at a temperature that isn’t too hot, so this visual cue comes in handy.