Saturday, March 24, 2012

Oven-Fried Marinated Beer Batter Mushroom Tacos with Mexican Corn

Although fish tacos have been a staple in Southern California for decades (and, in a purer form, in Mexico long before that), it’s only in recent years that they’ve become quite the fashion throughout the U.S. Generally consisting of deep-fried battered fish (cod or similar) with shredded cabbage, a spiced, creamy sauce, and a few other simple toppings wrapped in a tortilla, it’s no wonder fish tacos in the Southern Californian style are so popular; they’re delicious. Unfortunately, that deliciousness comes at a price: deep fried fish topped with creamy sauce will generally be on the fatty side.

But fear not, dear readers. In this week’s recipe we’ll make Oven-Fried Marinated Beer Batter Mushroom Tacos, a fish-taco inspired version that uses marinated portabella mushrooms instead of fish, and that reduces the fat by oven-frying them in a beer batter and topping them with a low-fat creamy sauce.

There’s also a quick, simple Mexican Corn side dish.

As usual, some Cook’s Notes before we begin:
  • Oven frying is very much like breading and baking except it has more crunch. I’ve experimented with many coatings over the years, and crushed cornflakes are the best coating I’ve found, much better than bread crumbs or panko. (Although you can buy crushed cornflakes in the bread crumb aisle, I recommend buying regular corn flakes in the cereal aisle and going over them with a rolling pin as shown below. It costs a lot less to do it that way, and you also get to control the size of the crushed pieces.)
  • Traditional fish tacos include shredded red cabbage. You can do that here too, but since we need only a small amount, and I didn’t want to waste most of a large red cabbage, I used radicchio in its place.
  • The heat in the sauce is mild. If you like it hotter, just increase the amount of hot sauce.

So let’s get started making this reduced-fat take on a Southern California classic that’s, like, totally awesome, dude!

This recipe makes eight soft tacos, which will usually be about four servings.

First, let’s marinate our mushrooms.
Slice 4 portabella mushrooms into strips about 3/4” wide.

Make the marinade by combing ¼ cup cider vinegar; 1 clove garlic, minced; ½ tablespoon of dried basil; ½ tablespoon of dried parsley; ½ tablespoon of dried oregano; ½ teaspoon salt; and ¾ cup olive oil. (Add the olive oil by drizzling it into the other mixed ingredients while whisking to keep a smooth consistency.)

Pour marinade into a gallon-size tight-sealing plastic bag. Place the sliced mushrooms in the bag with the marinade. Let them marinate for about 30 minutes, turning periodically for evenness.

Next, we’ll make our beer batter.

In a bowl, combine the following and mix until a thick, smooth batter forms: 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour; 1 teaspoon salt; ½ teaspoon ground white pepper; 12 ounces beer; and 2 egg-substitute eggs.

While the mushrooms are marinating, prepare the breading station.

Using a rolling pin, make 4 cups of crushed cornflakes in a gallon-size tight-sealing plastic bag.

Place 1-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour in a gallon-size tight-sealing plastic bag. Place the bowl of batter to the right of the flour. Place the crushed cornflakes to the right of the batter.

To bread the mushrooms, working one mushroom slice at a time:

Place the mushroom slice in the flour and toss to coat.

Dip each mushroom slice in batter till coated. Shake off the excess batter.

Place each coated mushroom slice onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicon baking sheet. After all the mushroom slices have been placed on the baking sheet, cover it loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 15 – 20 minutes.

While the mushrooms are in the refrigerator:

Begin pre-heating the oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl, combine the following till well-mixed to form the sauce: 6 ounces fat-free plain yogurt; ½ cup low-fat mayonnaise; juice of ½ lime; ½ teaspoon ground cumin; ½ teaspoon dried basil; ½ teaspoon dried parsley; ½ teaspoon dried oregano; ¼ teaspoon hot sauce (add more for a spicier sauce); ½ teaspoon garlic powder; ½ minced jalapeno (seeds removed); ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro; ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper.
When the mushrooms are ready to bake:

Spray the mushrooms with cooking spray and bake for about 11 minutes. Turn the mushrooms over and reverse the position of the baking tray for even baking. Wrap eight 8” low-fat tortillas in foil and place in the oven. Bake the mushrooms and the tortillas for another 11 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked through and the coating is crisp.

While the mushrooms are baking:

Prepare the Mexican Corn by combining 3-1/3 cups (about 1 pound) corn niblets (fresh or thawed frozen corn drained well); 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped; 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped; and 2 tablespoons chopped scallions in a very lightly oiled non-stick pan. (We want to brown the corn, not fry it.) Cook on the stovetop over medium heat until cooked through and some of the corn is slightly browned. When done, toss in a bowl with salt, pepper, butter substitute, and a squeeze of lime juice.

Prepare the following toppings: 1 radicchio, shredded; 1 bunch scallions, chopped small; chopped cilantro; and sliced fresh lime. (To shred the radicchio, just quarter it, remove the core from each quarter, and cut each quarter into 1/4" strips.)

To serve the tacos:

Along the center of each warmed tortilla, place some radicchio, two or three slices of mushrooms, some scallions, cilantro, and sauce.

Roll the tortilla and wrap in parchment or foil, with some of the taco sticking out.

Seal the roll by twisting the bottom.

Serve on a plate with the corn on the side, as shown in the photo at the top.

You can enjoy these soft tacos for lunch or dinner. (If you have any of the breaded mushroom strips left over, they’re also great heated up the next morning and served alongside some eggs for breakfast!)

To download a cookbook-style copy of this recipe, click here.

See you next week with another tasty recipe! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)


  1. Mushroom tacos?! Yes, please!

  2. Thanks, Linda. :-) I loved how the marinated portabellas really held their own as the main part of the filling.