Florida State fish tostadas and the tailgating challenge

These Florida-state inspired fish tostadas are no-fuss, perfect for a weeknight meal. Pair them with black beans and your favorite salsa.

Laura Edwins/The Christian Science Monitor
These fish tostadas are topped with mushrooms, green pepper, mango salsa, and feta cheese.
'Taste of the Town, a Guided Tour of College Football's Best Places to Eat' by Todd Blackledge and JR Rosenthal (206 pp., Center Street, $20)

I grew up in Southwest Florida, Gator country. There's nary a pickup truck without a University of Florida license plate or bumper sticker. Most kids from my high school spend their junior year focused on getting into UF. The Florida-Florida State game is an event second only to our town's annual parade.

But in my family, Gator hatred runs deep. My parents both grew up in Miami, and are die-hard Canes fans, so in their eyes orange and blue is the most insidious color combination imaginable. I was the loyalist, and attended University of Miami. My sister, the rebel, attended University of Florida. With minimal teeth-grinding my parents made the six-hour drive to Gainesville and moved her into her Swamp-adjacent dorm. They graciously accepted token "Gator Dad" and "Gator Mom" coffee mugs with barely a grimace. Latent football animosity turned on our common rival, Florida State

Through this earth-shattering changing of loyalties did my parents take into consideration the fact that neither my sister nor I ever gave two thoughts to football? The realization that two rabid football fans raised two kids with athletic aversion seems beyond them. Even now that we've both graduated they gleefully report football scores and play highlights for all three schools, as well as the Miami Dolphins, on a weekly basis during football season.

So, it was with only a little guilt that I cooked and ate Florida State-inspired fish tostadas from “Taste of the Town,” by ESPN college football analyst Todd Blackledge. They may have been featured under the FSU section but the ingredients, fresh fish, black beans, and grilled veggies, could really celebrate any school from the sunshine state. Like most of the recipes in Blackledge's book, there were no complicated or fussy instructions and the meal came together quickly. I added a few special toppings – crumbled feta cheese and mango salsa – for a salty kick and a nod to Miami. 

Got a good football story? Enter our tailgating challenge!

Send your favorite tailgating or game day recipe to food@csps.com. Please include an ingredient list, step-by-step numbered instructions, along with your name, hometown, and e-mail address. Please submit your recipe and football story by October 7. We will contact the winner. The winner's recipe will appear in Stir It Up! and he or she will receive a signed copy of "Taste of the Town" by Todd Blackledge. 

Florida State fish tostadas
Reprinted with permission from "Taste of the Town" by Todd Blackledge and J.R. Rosenthal
Serves 4

Four 5-ounce pieces of fish of your choice (grouper, mahi mahi, tuna, or salmon)

2 to 3 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

Cooked black beans (see recipe below)

2 to 3 tablespoons grilled mushrooms

2 to 3 tablespoons grilled onions

2 to 3 tablespoons grilled peppers

1 to 2 tablespoons mild or hot salsa

1. Season the fish with Old Bay.

2. Cook the fish on a grill pan until cooked through – do not overcook fish or it will dry out!

3. Lightly butter a 10-inch flour tortilla and brown on both sides.

4. Top the tortilla with black beans and rice, then add the fish, and finish by topping with grilled mushrooms, onions, and peppers. Serve with your choice of mild or hot salsa. 

Black beans
Serves 4

2 pounds black beans

2 teaspoons chopped red and green bell peppers

1 small white onion, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups chopped tomatoes

1. Combine all the ingredients except for the salt and the tomatoes, cover with water, and boil until the beans are soft, stirring frequently and adding water if needed.

2. When the beans are soft, stir in the salt and the tomatoes.

3. Drain the beans of excess liquid and serve with the fish as a side dish.

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