Where were you when you first experienced fish tacos? Can you remember the day, the place, and the time? Did the world stop spinning for just a moment as your tongue delighted in their savory goodness? Were yours as life changing for you as mine were for me? LOL!
Well, I first experienced FISH TACOS when we visited our daughter in Seattle. She took us to the Experience Music Project, and during our tour there we decided to eat lunch in the little restaurant downstairs of that massive building. It was a foodie little haven with a modest but eclectic menu.
I was a little sceptical about “fish tacos” when I first heard of them, having only an image of beef tacos in my head – with taco seasonings, lettuce, and cheese, but everyone I knew simply raved about them. So, I decided to put my mommy money where my mommy mouth was and actually taste them before I judged them. Best decision ever!!!! They were out of this world, my new favorite food, and I’ve been just a little bit obsessed about them ever since.
They are easy to make from scratch, but now that I am cooking for two I often make them from doggie-bag catfish from our favorite local restaurant.
For the Fish
Fish, just about any mild white fish works (Cod, Barramundi, Red Fish, Tilapia, etc.) about 1 nice sized piece per taco, so about 12 to 15 pieces (and at 3 tacos apiece, this recipe will feed about 4 or 5 people)
Seasoned Flour (to 1 1/2 cups flour add about 1/2 tsp of each: garlic powder, paprika, ground oregano, onion powder, ground cumin, salt, sugar, and cayenne powder) (or you can cheat and use a preseasoned fish fry coating, or a cajun spice in place of the individual seasonings)
Beer or Dry White Wine (or water will also work in a pinch)
Hot oil to fry the fish in
For the Slaw
1/2 of a red cabbage
1/2 of a green cabbage
1/2 of a large white onion
3 red radishes
1/2 cup cilantro
Juice of 1 or 2 limes (2 if they are small)
For the Sauce
2/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup Mayo
2 ripe avocados
1/2 cup cilantro, very finely minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno (or serrano), very finely minced
Dash of Sriracha, to taste
Pinch of Kosher salt, to taste
Also need about 12 to 15 white corn tortillas and a little oil to soften them in
As a time saver, you can make the slaw and the sauce ahead of time – early in the day, and keep them in the fridge until ready to assemble.
Shred the cabbages into thin strips and then give them a rough chop, cut the onion into the same size thin strips, slice the radishes into slices and then cut them into thin strips, and chop the cilantro. Toss all together in a bowl and squeeze lime juice over. Toss again to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in fridge.
For the sauce, mash the avacados with a fork until smooth. Add to sour cream and mayo. Stir in cilantro, garlic, and as much of the jalapeno or serrano as you prefer. Squeeze lime juice in and stir. Add Sriracha and salt to taste. To make it really smooth you can whirl it in a food processor for a few moments. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in fridge until ready to assemble.
Add a little vegetable oil to a skillet and place on medium high heat. Add one tortilla at a time and soften by frying it briefly on each side and then removing to a paper towel lined plate. Add oil to the pan as needed after several tortillas have been fried. Cover tortillas with foil and place in a warm place until ready to assemble.
Now, you can prepare the fish however you prefer. If you like it grilled, you can season the pieces with a mixture of the same spices that are listed for the flour, and then just grill each piece a few moments on each side on an outdoor grill or indoor grill until it flakes easily.
If you like it fried, you can rinse the pieces off with cold water and then toss them in the seasoned flour to coat, and then fry them in hot oil (the same frying pan that you used for the tortillas) for a few minutes on each side until when tested they flake easily.
Or, if you like them batter fried (my fav), place peanut oil in a dutch oven or deep fryer enough so that the fish pieces will be completely covered, but make sure your pot is large enough that it won’t boil over when the fish are added a few pieces at a time. Heat and keep the oil temp between 350 to 375 degrees F. You can add beer or white wine to the seasoned flour (about an equal portion 1 to 1) and stir. Add more liquid until it is about the consistency of a thin pancake batter, then dip your rinsed and patted dry pieces of fish in the batter and drop in hot oil and fry until when tested it flakes easily.
Or, if you have a mess of catfish that have been cornmeal battered and fried, the leftovers make excellent tacos. I actually do this quite often.
BTW: I have some nifty taco plates that are awesome for taco assembly:
Lay one (or two small) piece(s) of fish in the center of each tortilla, and then add a small mound of slaw, and finally top with a nice dallop of sauce. Fold in half and enjoy. Mmmmmm! Just let your eyes roll back into your head while your tongue finds its happy place. Wipe mouth and repeat, repeat, repeat.
“Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.”
And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.” John 21:5-6 (NKJV)