I love Mexican food but it can be pretty heavy, especially in these summer months when you don’t want to eat things that weigh you down. A great alternative to carnitas tacos on a hot summer day can be fish tacos. These fish tacos are light, full of flavor, easy to make and fairly healthy.
Thinking back, I have almost always been disappointed with fish tacos I’ve ordered in restaurants and I’ve never been quite sure why. I mean there isn’t much to a fish taco–no hours of preparation needed, no crazy ingredients. Then again, that could be exactly why fish tacos are so difficult to make–the extra frills, spices and sauces only take away from the integrity of the dish.
In my opinion the simpler the fish taco, the better. When coming up with this fish taco recipe I tried to stick with the “less is more” motto. I actually noticed that by holding back on using all the extra sauces and spices, I actually got a better product. I tried to focus on the fresh, clean and light natural flavors of the ingredients and by doing that I made some incredible tacos.
My favorite part about these tacos is the Mexican slaw. It is spicy, crunchy, flavorful and super easy to make. I made a dressing using only three ingredients: lime juice, sour cream and chipotles in adobo sauce. I am seriously in love with these chipotles. This tiny ingredient (comes in a can) has so many layers of flavor, that smoke and spice is good in almost anything. Try making your next red sauce/gravy with one of these chipotle peppers and a little bit of that smoky adobo sauce they come swimming in–your roommates (or whoever you feed) will go wild! Okay now back to the slaw, just blend these three ingredients and you have a slaw dressing that is spicy, light, creamy, tangy, and about a million other adjectives. Add this dressing to a little cilantro, red onion and shredded cabbage and you are done with your slaw. It is honestly that simple, and this might be the most difficult part of the dish.
You can also cook your fish however you prefer, there is no wrong way so don’t stress about this step. In this recipe I used cod but I think any white fish would be good. If you are feeling adventurous however, maybe use bay scallops or shrimp instead of a filet of fish. Now after choosing your seafood, heck use chicken if that’s what you have on hand, I won’t be offended, decide how you want to display your fish in the taco. Some people prefer chunks of fish (like bite-sized pieces) while others prefer one long, slender piece of fish in their taco–either way you decide to go, good choice. You can also choose between coating your fish in flour or some sort of batter or instead do a simple saute, again either way you decide to prepare, you can’t go wrong. The ONLY thing you can do wrong in this recipe is throw a ton of seasoning on the protein. Remember to keep it simple and just use a little salt and pepper. Resist the urge to play in your seasoning pantry. Maybe if you are still itching to season squirt a little lime juice on the protein but THAT IS IT.
Finally, the tortilla. I went with a corn tortilla because it is more traditional in this recipe than a flour tortilla. I like the flavor and the texture of the corn tortilla for the fish taco and the ingredients are so light I don’t think you need a hefty flour taco to hold the protein, sauces, toppings, etc. together.
Below is the recipe. For a hot summer day, fish tacos are perfect. It only takes about 20 minutes to make and that’s including preparation time. Enjoy!
Yeilds 7-8 tacos
1lb of cod or fish of your choice (maybe mahi mahi)
3-9 tbsp of vegetable oil (depending on skillet and cooking preparation method)
1 can of chipotles in adobo sauce
3 cups shredded yellow cabbage
1 bunch fresh cilantro
⅓ cup sour cream
1-2 fresh limes for juice and garnish
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
Small corn tortillas
salt and pepper to taste
If preparing crispy fish, you will need:
1 egg (egg wash)
1 cup of flour
In a blender combine sour cream, the juice from ½ lime (you can use more), one chipotle and about one teaspoon of adobo sauce. You can always add more chipotles or adobo sauce if you like more heat. Once blended and the chipotle has completely broken down and incorporated itself into sauce, set aside. In a bowl combine cabbage, red onions and coarsely chopped cilantro. I leave the amount of cilantro used in this mixture up to your personal preference. Mix these three ingredients and then add the dressing made in the blender. Set aside any leftover dressing to garnish tacos with later and cover and place cabbage salad in the refrigerator.
Put a deep and large skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile clean and dry fish thoroughly. Cut up into 1-2 inch long pieces. In a shallow bowl crack one egg and beat. In another shallow bowl place flour. Salt and pepper flour. A few pieces at a time place the fish in the egg mixture then into the flour mixture, shake off excess flour and set aside. Repeat this for all fish pieces. In the skillet put 3 tablespoons of oil. When the skillet is hot put half or one-third of the fish pieces into the skillet. Cook until golden brown then flip. Once fish is browned on both sides, remove from skillet. Once you have done this for the entire first batch of fish, place another 3 tablespoons of oil in the pan and cook the next batch of fish. Feel free to add more oil if there is not enough in your pan.
Sprinkle cooked fish with salt and pepper. Slice an avocado and take out corn tortillas. If you like, warm the tortillas by placing them one-at-a-time in a skillet on medium heat, no oil required. After 1-2 minutes flip then set aside.
Take out salad from the refrigerator when ready to serve tacos. Place salad, fish and slices of avocado on each taco. Have wedges of lime, hot sauce, extra sour cream/chipotle dressing and chopped cilantro out for people to garnish their tacos with. Eat. Enjoy.