Booking the Cooks: Willy Mason’s Fish Tacos with Tomato & Avocado Salsa


So last week we filled you in on a wee food collaboration that we’ve got going on at Body & Soul this weekend. Singer and songwriter extraordinaire Wallis Bird has designed a special Festival food dish called “Hob Nob Surprise” and you’ll be able to sample it at the Dux & Co food stall on Sunday. Well it doesn’t end there folks. We’ve also got the wonderful Willy Mason on board to share some grub in Ballinlough on the same day.

It’s all a big celebration of how great the nosh, craic and indeed the music is at Irish festivals these days. Because, as we all know, it wasn’t always this good – not just in Ireland it would appear. American-born Mason recounts the story of his worst festival experience: “When I was 12, my friend’s dad took us to Woodstock. He spent the drive up smoking a joint and telling us all about the glory of the original. When we got there, they were setting cars on fire and water bottles were going for $8. It didn’t rain but somehow some of the portaloos tipped over, making a muddy field around them. In a bizarre parallel to the stories we’d heard driving up, people started diving in and doing hippy mud dances in the shit and piss. That was pretty weird. I think they were drunk . . .”

It’s a wonder that trauma didn’t put him off festivals for life, but anyhoo . . . having grown up on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Willy is fond of seafood. Fish Tacos are his fave and here’s how he makes them. And he wants you to pop down to the Mexico K Chido Taco Van so that you too can enjoy his ultimate slice of festival cuisine.

1 large tomato, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
½ jalapeno, minced
2 tblsps of fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ avocado, diced
1 fistful of chopped fresh coriander
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Combine tomato, jalapeno, onion, lime juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in the coriander and avocado.

1 cod fillet, cut into goujon-sized pieces
4 small corn tortillas, warmed
3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 bottle of lager beer

Combine the flour, cumin, salt, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Whisk in the lager to make a batter. Coat the fish pieces in the batter. Heat some oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Letting excess batter drip back into the bowl, add the fish to the pan; cook until crispy and golden, two to four minutes per side. Put the fried fish in a taco and the salsa on top.

Willy Mason plays Body & Soul on Sunday. His Fish Tacos with Avocado & Tomato Salsa will be for sale for €2.50 each at Mexico K Chido Taco Van

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