Recipe for California Fish Tacos

California Fish Tacos
California Fish Taco with Cabbage and Red Pepper Slaw (Recipe and Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

California Olive Ranch

Grilling on the West Coast: Q&A with Food Blogger Maria Desiderata Montana

Blogger and food writer Maria Desiderata Montana of San Diego Food Finds, chatted with California Olive Ranch about her love for cooking and grilling.

COR: What’s your mission behind your blog and your cookbook series?

MDM: As an experienced journalist, I created my San Diego Food Finds website to serve as a comprehensive, dining-related resource to both residents and visitors.  It includes an insider’s look at all of the best culinary offerings, highlighted by my professional food photography to help readers visualize the food served at the dining destinations of my choice.  I also include a regularly updated calendar of events, recipes, chef interviews and much more. My first book, the ‘Food Lovers’ Guide to San Diego’, is a perfect extension to my website, and serves as an excellent reference to everything in San Diego. My second book, the ‘San Diego Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes From America’s Finest City’ is really the icing on the cake!

COR: Tell me a little about your recipe? How’d you come up with the concept?

MDM: As an experienced cook, I wanted to provide readers with an example of a tasty dish that is not only simple and easy to prepare, but also remains healthy and light.  Most of my recipe concepts are born from a deeply traditional Italian upbringing, where my mother was truly passionate about utilizing all of the fresh ingredients available in our backyard garden.

COR: What’s the best aspect of grilling in Southern California? Any special rubs? Olive-oil based marinades?

MDM: Although I was born and raised in the Northwest, I’ve spent the past 20 years in sunny San Diego.  Surprisingly, the grilling techniques are much the same.  Most of my rubs are limited to what is seasonal in my garden, taking full advantage of fresh herbs and spices.  My favorite marinades frequently contain a few sprigs of rosemary that grows wild everywhere in southern California, including my backyard. The aroma is unmistakable, and works for veggies, fish and meats.

COR: What was the first recipe you ever cooked on the grill?

MDM: Where I grew up, salmon and trout were the most common catch of the day.  As a child, I would eagerly wait by the smoking grill, knowing a tender fish was only minutes away.  It was especially common during the warm summer months by the lake.

COR: Do you have any notable grilling disasters?

MDM: My first attempt to grill a halibut steak without the proper mesh screen.  Once the fish was nearly ready, I had flaky chunks dropping everywhere in the grill, as I frantically tried to scrape-up the filet with a spatula.

COR: What do you love the most about grilling—the flavor, the tradition?

MDM: Grilling provides such a wonderful, smoky flavor to everything.  It seems to beckon the fond memories of childhood.  Indeed, there is something special about a tradition that spans thousands of years, defying modern technology.

COR: How do you think olive oil enhances grilled recipes?

MDM: If you use the RIGHT olive oil, it adds that unmistakable flavor and texture to the food, penetrating your senses unlike any other ingredient.  Common oils will only make the food taste oily.

COR: What’s the craziest thing you ever cooked on a grill?

MDM: Octopus.  My first attempt resulted in a very chewy dish, but then I learned the art of marinating (from my chef friends), which makes a world of difference.

COR: What’s the most iconic grilling recipe in Southern California?

MDM: Definitely a grilled fish taco topped with a creamy coleslaw of some sort. However, I have been known to opt for a grass-fed beef burger on many occasions.

COR: Any special grilling tips?

MDM: Know when your recipe calls for slower, indirect heat versus the more traditional direct searing.  Each technique is important, but a disaster when used incorrectly.

Recipe and photo by Maria Desiderata Montana, publisher of the award-winning food blog San Diego Food Finds and author of Food Lovers’ Guide to San Diego, the San Diego Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes From America’s Finest City and The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe Cookbook.

California Fish Tacos with Cabbage and Red Pepper Slaw


  • 4 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and julienned
  • 4 tablespoons California Olive Ranch Miller’s Blend Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra for coating the grill
  • 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4-6 ounce Alaskan White Cod fillets
  • 8 corn tortillas


Step 1: In a large bowl combine cabbage and peppers. Add olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, oregano and salt and pepper. Lightly toss and set aside.

Step 2: Preheat grill or stovetop grill pan to medium-high heat and brush grill rack with olive oil. Grill fish until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes on each side, more or less, depending on thickness. Remove fillets from grill and cut into small sections. (Each 6-ounce fillet will make 2 tacos)

Step 3: Place corn tortilla on a plate and fill with a spoon of the green cabbage and red pepper slaw. Top with fish. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

 Serves 4
Level: Easy

Italian Grilled Amaretto Peaches

Italian Grilled Amaretto Peaches
Recipe and photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

I have a peach tree in my backyard and I can’t wait until the fruit ripens. From plain old, fresh peaches to peach pie to peach cobbler to peach preserves, I can’t seem to get enough. This simple recipe of peaches grilled with butter is one of my favorites. It doesn’t get any easier or more delicious than this!

Grilled Amaretto Peaches

Serves 4

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon amaretto flavoring
  • 4 ripe peaches, pitted and halved
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar

In a mixing bowl, combine cream, sugar and amaretto flavoring; whip until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate mixture. Heat grill to high. Brush peaches with butter and grill until slightly soft and just cooked through. Sprinkle peaches with some of the nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar. Top peaches with a dollop of whipped cream.

JUICE Saves San Diego



CH Projects Introduces New Cold-Pressed Juice Bar to San Diego’s East Village Neighborhood

In partnership with beverage hospitality veteran Lindsay Nader, San Diego’s powerhouse hospitality collective, CH Projects (Ironside Fish & Oyster, UnderBelly, Soda & Swine) is proud to open doors to their newest concept, JUICE. A contemporary take on the conventional juice bar experience, the 1,100 square-foot shop is located in the heart of the East Village neighborhood at 871 G Street and introduces a ninth concept to CH’s growing repertoire.

Juice Saves San Diego

JUICE’s cold-pressed blends are extracted through a state-of-the-art, California manufactured hydraulic press that administers 14 tons of pressure, first crushing and then pressing fruit and vegetables for the highest juice yield. Blended for balance and nutrition, Operating Partner Lindsay Nader’s creations are cold-pressed daily to preserve essential vitamins, nutrients and enzymes, while producing a nutritionally sound, raw, unpasteurized product. Fueling CH Projects’ hyper-local credo, the juice bar’s offerings are 100% natural, with fruits and vegetables sourced from local purveyors who share in their sustainable practices. Fresh, all natural citrus juices are the foundation for CH’s nationally respected cocktail programs at Polite Provisions, Craft & Commerce and Noble Experiment—in addition to providing cold-pressed juice to the public, the shop will serve as a commissary of sorts, providing fresh product daily to CH’s restaurants and bars.

The cold-press juicery is natural progression for Lindsay Nader, a Southern California native who was raised on a macrobiotic diet. Racking up an impressive roster of industry experience at an early age, the foundation of Nader’s career began behind the bar at New York City’s P.D.T., one of the most respected cocktail establishments in the world. Here, she sharpened her appreciation and skill for preparing craft cocktails under bartending behemoth Jim Meehan. In 2010 Lindsay returned to Southern California where she collaborated with James Beard nominated duo Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook of Animal restaurant in Los Angeles, designing a classic drink program for the opening of their second high profile endeavor, Son Of A Gun. Nader spent nine months working at LA’s Harvard & Stone, the sophomore collaboration by nightlife impresarios Mark and Jonnie Houston aka “The Houston Brothers,” and was on the opening team of their French champagne salon concept bar Pour Vous. Parlaying her expertise into work as a freelance cocktail consultant, Nader’s contributions to cocktail menus span the country from NYC to LA. She served as the Deputy Cocktail Editor for Food & Wine Magazine’s 2011 Cocktail Book, has experience as a contributor to and penned the monthly column “Hey Barkeep” for Los Angeles Magazine. Most recently, Nader was featured on Bravo Network’s “Eat Drink Love” and has worked as a Brand Ambassador for the spirits portfolio Remy Cointreau in addition to Absolut Vodka. She has traveled nationally and internationally through her ambassador role, identifying bar and cocktail trends, visiting distilleries, learning about the history of spirits and conducting educational seminars for the trade.

WORTH THE SQUEEZE | JUICE: Lindsay applies her innate culinary sensibility and extensive knowledge from the realm of cocktails into cold-pressed juice, utilizing many of the same flavor and balance combining techniques to produce citrus, root and fruit blends, leafy green juices, house-made nut milks, protein-packed dairy-less shakes and more. Excited to experiment with more adventurous combinations, Nader’s thirst quenching ‘Fermented Slushie’ is her twist on kombucha with strawberry, apple cider vinegar, purified water, ginger, raw sugar & crushed ice, and her ‘Bad Decisions Package’ offers a duo of hangover helping hydration.

JUICE offers two different cleanses (‘Rookie’ or ‘Pro’) for those looking to repair, replenish or refuel for up to one, three or five days. Nader worked with Georgia Van Teil of Fix Consultancy, a New York based health and wellness company, on many of the recipes to ensure they are nutritionally sound and the cleanse packages are balanced. In partnership is Coffee & Tea Collective, the shop offers cold brew coffee on draft, and a variety of hearty options like the ‘Kale Caesar’, ‘Baby Lettuce Salad’ or ‘Morning Bowl’ with hemp granola, berries, raw honey & coconut atop your choice of yogurt, frozen avocado/mango/pineapple, or frozen banana/almond base are available as well.

IN THE DETAILS | DESIGN: JUICE’s one-of-a-kind vision comes to life through CH Co-Founder Arsalun Tafazoli’s keen eye for design. A 12-foot black and white art installation by JUICE’s East Village neighbors, Product Etc., was commissioned with the lyrics of Notorious B.I.G.’s classic hit, “Juicy”. Crisp, clean lines, white subway tile walls and an expansive, marble walk-up service counter offers a comforting contrast to more organic elements like live edge walnut benches, a wooden drink rail, and plenty of hanging greenery.

JUICE | open seven days a week from 7a.m. to 7p.m. | 871 G Street in the East Village | 619.255.COLD(2653)

About CH Projects:
 California’s southern-most city, San Diego, has for decades been known as a casual, sleepy coastal getaway with a culinary scene to match—fish tacos and Mexican lager epitomized an attitude not unlike that of an adolescent sibling to that of its mature, celebrity chef-embellished neighbor-to-the-north. Enter CH Projects, the visionary restaurateurs-come-social engineering duo that is pioneering the city’s now burgeoning cultural progression with eight ambitious concepts (Ironside Fish & Oyster, Craft & Commerce, Neighborhood, UnderBelly, Noble Experiment, El Dorado, Polite Provisions and Soda & Swine). Co-founders Arsalun Tafazoli and Nathan Stanton have cultivated an intrinsic core philosophy—that a space should inspire, its design aesthetic and culinary /cocktail paradigm allowing for the seemingly lost art of conversation to thrive in an environment that fosters charisma, thoughtful dialogue, and the resurgence of real human interaction. In stark contrast to the overwhelming neon lights and volatile drone that emanates from plasma screens-as-art in less calculated restaurant and bar settings, CH Projects’ establishments eschew trendy, stagnant décor and menus in favor of an eclectic, contemporary quality borne out of the collaborative efforts of like-minded individuals with a hunger (and thirst) for innovation.

Courtesy information

Juice Saves Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato