CultureCast – What’s Cooking With Iowa Restaurants – George Formaro

Chef Partner at Orchestrate Hospitality

George Formaro is the chef and restaurateur behind some of Des Moines’ most successful eateries – Centro, Django, Malo, South Union Bread Café, Gateway Market & Café and Zombie Burger. He is also the founder of the first artisan bakery in Iowa, South Union Bakery. Today, he’ll be showing us how to make a dish served at Gateway Market & Café – the fish corn tacos.

To donate to the Iowa Restaurant Association Employee Relief Fund, visit

Gateway Market Fish Corn Tacos 

Six 2-3 oz fish fillets (tilapia or salmon work well)
1/4 cup George’s blackened spice
2 tbs oil or clarified butter (used 1 tbs at a time)
6 flour or corn tortillas
6 to 8 tbs diced tomato
chipotle slaw (recipe below)
1 avocado, sliced
2 green onions, diced

Chipotle Slaw Ingredients
2 c shredded cabbage
1 carrot, shredded
3 green onions, thinly sliced
½ tsp minced garlic
½ serrano pepper, finely chopped
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
¼ c mayo
½ c sour cream
½ lime, juiced
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt

Chipotle Slaw Preparation
In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrot, green onion, garlic, serrano and chipotle peppers.

In a medium bowl, combine mayo, sour cream, lime juice, salt & pepper. Pour over cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate until serving.

Taco Preparation
Season the fish fillets with the blackening spice. Set aside.

Heat a large non stick skillet. When the pan is sufficiently heated, add 1 tbs oil or clarified butter.

Add half the seasoned fillets to the pan. When the fillets brown, they are ready to turn over (I prefer to get a nice darker color, and even high heat blacken them for more flavor).

Flip the fillets and cook on the other side. When done to your liking, carefully remove the fillets using a spatula wide enough to hold the fillets without breaking them. Place on a flat pan or plate.

Repeat the process with the rest of the fillets.

Heat your tortillas and place them on a platter. Place 1 fillet on each tortilla. Add the coleslaw, sliced green onions and diced tomatoes. Garnish with avocado and serve with your favorite salsa.