Casting around for a slaw to go with Mark Bittman‘s fennel pork burgers, I remembered my old friend Sammy Gugino’s recipe for San Diego Fish Tacos. Sammy’s are better than anybody elses’ because of the well-thought-through cabbage/avocado/lime/creamy cilantro sauce/salsa verde thing. In an online fish taco discussion recently, I was grossed out by peoples’ arguing for the dry, over-picante,  naked grilled fish, nasty shredded iceberg lettuce, and grotty salsa combos. Crunch ‘n’ cream together kinda do it for me; conversely, fish and avocado alone — bag the taco — could take you to heaven. Avocado alone. Mmmm.

I don’t always — let’s face it, never — feel up to battering and frying fish. I have delightfully and blasphemously substituted fish stix for Sammy’s lovingly home-made fried fish. Stix is delicious.

What makes Sammy’s fish tacos the very best is the slaw, finely shredded cabbage with avocado, lime, green salsa, and Sammy’s outrageous special sauce.

You know how to shred cabbage finely, yes? Get a good chef’s knife, the $129 kind. Get a stone, a steel, and some mineral oil. Learn how to sharpen a good knife lovingly. Learn how to cut things by gripping the food with curled-in fingers, using your knuckles as a slicing guide.

You know you want it.

Quarter and core the cabbage. Lift off a segment of leaves no more than one inch thick. Flatten it on the cutting board with the palm of your hand while curling your fingers. The thinner, flattened segment allows you to cut hair-fine shreds of cabbage, or any size you want. I think maybe 1/8 inch shreds for Sammy’s fish taco slaw would suit me.

I think serving Sammy’s taco condiments without the fish would be the perfect slaw for pork burgers.

I think it will shape up this way, layered, not mixed, like on the taco. Cabbage, avocado, lime, creamy sauce, salsa verde. I might stick some crisp corn tortilla strips on the top. Mmmmmmmmm.

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