Sheet pan dinner: Roasted white fish and cabbage tacos

Roasted white fish, cabbage, and scallion tacos that all cook together on a sheet pan.
Roasting the fish, scallions, and cabbage on a sheet pan make an easy weeknight taco night with almost no clean up.

The dog days of summer are here in the Northeast and it. is. sweaty. I'm hankering for things that are raw or minimally cooked, so a sheet pan dinner may seem counterintuitive. But the cooking here is very quick, requires very few dishes, and the end product leaves us feeling satisfied, but not stupified because being really hot and really full is like entering the third ring of hell.

Taco night, but easier, healthier, and more interesting.

(As always, skip to the next photo to avoid the toddler update.)

Speaking of hell (KIDDING), we're in that annoying place where the things our kid does seem SO AWFUL to us, but when I tell others about his behavior, I'm usually met with, "Yeah, that sounds about right for a 3-year-old." For instance, I just about blacked out with rage (though I think I handled it okay), when M aimed his stream directly at the back of the toilet instead of into the bowl, effectively spraying our entire bathroom with pee. He thought this was HILARIOUS, while I floated out of my body and burst into a million pieces. The first person I told about this replied, "If he ever has a brother, they'll probably do it together."

Don't get me wrong, it's VERY comforting when other people are completely unfazed by M's behavior. But I'm still left wondering if I'm the world's least effective parent. It can be hard to process.

But I also get it. When I tell someone else about M's behavior that's driving me crazy, to them, it's an isolated incident. But when I'm asking him to put on his shoes for the 20th time after struggling to get him to do five other things in the past hour, that shoe battle feels so much more intense and difficult.

Basically what I'm saying is that 3 has been a tough age so far and that on exhausting days, the last thing I want to do is fight with dinner too (what a segue, huh?).

The white fish roasts on a bed of lemons and limes.

This dinner is partly steamed and partly roasted. Roasting the fish with the veggies proved counterproductive because a lot of liquid came out of the fish while it cooked, which led to steamed veggies instead of roasted ones. No thanks. 

Green and red cabbage are perfect for roasting with fish because they cook fast and get both melty and crispy.

Instead, you're going to wrap up the fish on a bed of lemon and lime in parchment bundles and let them steam on top of the cabbage and scallions to achieve the best of both cooking methods while still only using one pan. Because, it's hot. Here is a handy illustration of my favorite folding method:

So! Wrap up the fish and let it steam in the citrus. Chop the cabbage and scallions, toss with some olive oil, and throw the whole mess into the oven. While it's cooking, heat some taco shells, whizz some avocado crema in the blender, and prep any other toppings you might want (cheese, tomatoes, jicama, beans, etc). Tonight's dinner can be ready in about 30 minutes and is a nice departure from the usual taco night.

Wrapping the white fish in parchment packages helps retain their moisture while also letting the cabbage and scallions get roasted and crispy. It also decreases the mess even more.
Parchment contains the moisture so that the fish steams while the veggies roast.

Roasted cabbage fish tacos with avocado chipotle crema  

½ small head of red cabbage, roughly chopped
½ small head of napa cabbage, roughly chopped (about 6 cups total cabbage)
8 scallions, trimmed and cut in half width-wise
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large lemon
3 large limes, divided
1 ¼ lb cod or other firm white fish (four medium fillets)
1 Tbsp mayo
1 large avocado
Juice of 1 lime (about 1-2 Tbsp)
4-6 Tbsp water
1 small clove garlic
1-2 tsp chipotles in adobo or chipotle hot sauce
1/2 tsp kosher salt
12 corn tortillas

Preheat oven to 400.

Toss the cabbage and scallions with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and salt and spread onto a baking sheet. Set aside.

Slice the lemon and one of the limes. Spread out four sheets of parchment paper or tin foil on your countertop. Place 2 or 3 slices of the lemon and lime in the middle of the parchment. Place one fish filet onto the citrus bed and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

To fold the bundles, bring the edges of the two longest sides of the parchment together and fold over three or four times until you can’t fold anymore without hitting the fish inside. Next, fold the sides toward the middle until you’ve made a tight rectangle around the fish. Place on top of the veggies, making sure to move the scallions out from beneath the fish and toward the edges of the sheet pan.

Roast until the veggies are wilted and lightly browned and the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 15 minutes. If desired, carefully remove the fish bundles, being aware of steam that might escape, and roast the veggies for another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the chipotle avocado crema. Combine the mayo, avocado, lime juice, water, garlic, chipotles or hot sauce, and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If too thick, scrape down the sides and add more water a little bit at a time and blend again until you've reached the right consistency. 

Toast the corn tortillas and prep any other fixings you might want with your tacos (cheese, more avocado, beans, tomatoes, etc). Squeeze some more lime juice over the assembled tortillas and serve.

Yield: 4 servings of three tacos and 1 fish fillet each

Taco night and sheetpan dinner night in one! No mess!
Colorful and healthy family taco night.
Roasted cabbage and scallions are mellow enough for toddlers and picky eaters.

Brussels sprout fritters

Brussels sprouts fritters | Me & The Moose. Get your kids to eat Brussels sprouts by frying them with bacon and cheese in these crispy, crunchy, savory, and gluten-free Brussels spouts fritters. #meandthemoose #dinnerrecipes #sidedishes #glutenfree #glutenfreerecipes #brusselssprouts #brusselssptoutsfritters #fritters #vegetablerecipes

Fritters are a tricky business, in my experience. They aren't burgers, so the ingredients won't form a patty necessarily. You also don't want to use so much flour or binder that you end up with a hush puppy or a funnel cake-like batter with just a hint of veggies. But, if they fall apart, you go from fritter to hash, which is a different animal. The trick seems to be using just enough egg, flour, or cheese (or, as in this case, all three) to get the veggies to stick together without masking the produce that should stand out.

Brussels sprouts fritters | Me & The Moose. Get your kids to eat Brussels sprouts by frying them with bacon and cheese in these crispy, crunchy, savory, and gluten-free Brussels spouts fritters. #meandthemoose #dinnerrecipes #sidedishes #glutenfree #glutenfreerecipes #brusselssprouts #brusselssptoutsfritters #fritters #vegetablerecipes

Brussels sprouts are my favorite and in season now, so I want M to love them as much as I do. He'll eat them roasted when they're right out of the oven (who wouldn't eat something crispy and salty fresh out of the oven?), but he won't eat them as leftovers. I tried fritterizing them instead and have had more luck. I also added some bacon because, bacon.

Brussels sprouts fritters | Me & The Moose. Get your kids to eat Brussels sprouts by frying them with bacon and cheese in these crispy, crunchy, savory, and gluten-free Brussels spouts fritters. #meandthemoose #dinnerrecipes #sidedishes #glutenfree #glutenfreerecipes #brusselssprouts #brusselssptoutsfritters #fritters #vegetablerecipes

A couple of notes: These guys are still a smidge delicate. Two keys for my fritter success have been making sure that the oil is hot before starting the cooking and letting the first side get a good seer before flipping. I also have to manage my expectations that they'll stick together entirely. And lastly, the smaller the fritter, the more likely you'll flip without breaking. BUT, if this all seems like too much, just throw half or all of the mixture (depending on the size of your pan) into an oven-safe pan and make one or two giant fritters, cooking them like a frittata.

Brussels sprouts fritters | Me & The Moose. Get your kids to eat Brussels sprouts by frying them with bacon and cheese in these crispy, crunchy, savory, and gluten-free Brussels spouts fritters. #meandthemoose #dinnerrecipes #sidedishes #glutenfree #glutenfreerecipes #brusselssprouts #brusselssptoutsfritters #fritters #vegetablerecipes

Brussels sprout fritters

12 oz brussels sprouts, shredded
8 oz purple cabbage, shredded
5 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
4 eggs, lightly whisked
½ cup + 2 Tbsp garbanzo flour*
½ cup + 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
2 large cloves garlic, minced
S/P
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided (more, if needed)

*I used garbanzo flour because I had it and it has more protein, iron, and fiber than white flour and is gluten-free. But swap in whatever flour you have on hand.

Heat a large pan over a medium flame and add the bacon when hot. In the meantime, shred the brussels sprouts and cabbage with your food processor or by hand, pausing a few times to check the bacon and flip it over. (Or, if you’re smarter than me, and you bought your veggies pre-shredded, dump them in a large bowl and gather your other ingredients.) When the bacon is crisped, let it cool on a paper towel for a few minutes and crumble it into the veggies.  Pour off the bacon grease and wipe down the pan.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Dump them onto the veggies and stir to combine. In that same small bowl that’s now empty, add the eggs and lightly whisk with a fork to break up the yolks. Add to the veggie, flour, and cheese mixture, and stir again to combine, making sure that everything is well distributed.

Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil over a medium flame until very hot. Test with a bit of the veggie mixture to see if it starts bubbling immediately. If yes, your pan is ready. Using a large spoon or your hands, add mounds of about 1/3 cup of the veggies into the oil (our large pan accommodated 4 fritters at a time). Fry for 5-6 minutes until there’s a good seer on one side. Carefully flip (I use a silicone spatula and a fork) and repeat on the other side. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel.

Yield: 16-18 fritters

Brussels sprouts fritters | Me & The Moose. Get your kids to eat Brussels sprouts by frying them with bacon and cheese in these crispy, crunchy, savory, and gluten-free Brussels spouts fritters. #meandthemoose #dinnerrecipes #sidedishes #glutenfree #glutenfreerecipes #brusselssprouts #brusselssptoutsfritters #fritters #vegetablerecipes