Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fish tacos

While living in LA, I came to really love fish tacos. I can't think of anything better to eat on a warm summer day, washed down with an icy cold margarita. Over the years, I've had many variations of fish tacos using different types of fish, different seasonings, different toppings, and different preparations (usually grilled or battered & fried). To create my own recipe, I combined the things I liked best about every fish taco I'd ever eaten. My favorite part about my version is that it has the crunchy satisfaction of the fried fish without the guilt.

This recipe can easily be used for regular fish tacos, or "deconstructed" fish tacos - a spin I created in honor of Top Chef.

Here's what you'll need:

For the fish:

Firm white fish (I have the best results with mahi mahi)
seasoning (more on that below)
panko bread crumbs
olive oil

For the slaw:

red & green cabbage
mayonnaise (you can sub in light mayo if you're watching calories/fat)
hot sauce
fresh lime juice
chipotle pepper (optional)
sour cream (optional)

For the toppings:

diced tomato
diced red onion
chopped cilantro
sliced avocado

For the wrapping:

Fairly large flour tortillas


I start out by chopping everything for the slaw and toppings. To make the slaw, I chop the red and green cabbage into thin ribbons. Then I create the "magic white sauce." The magic white sauce doesn't always have to be the same - it's something you can play with based on your own taste preferences.

I start with a base of mayonnaise, then add lime juice until it's a thinner consistency. Then I add a few dashes of hot sauce, some chopped cilantro, and some salt. You can play with it as much as you want until it tastes good to you. If I'm not making it for my dairy-allergic daughter, I sometimes add sour cream for extra bite. And if you love chipotle peppers, you'll love them in this dish...just chop one or two and throw them in. Toss a few spoonfuls of the sauce with the shredded cabbage and set aside.

*Tip: reserve some extra white sauce for topping.

For the toppings, I chop up some tomato, red onion, and cilantro and mix them together in a bowl. Then I slice some avocado.

Now it's time to cook the fish. I cut fillets of mahi mahi into strips and dredge in Simply Organics Fish Taco seasoning. If you can find this at a store (it comes in a paper packet, like taco seasonings), I highly recommend it. If you can't find it, you can substitute regular taco seasoning or other southwestern seasoning. Or if you're really ambitious, you can make your own. Here are the main spices in the Simply Organics seasoning: paprika, garlic, sea salt, red chili flakes, dried onion, cilantro, cumin, black pepper, coriander. I'm sure if you doused the fish in just a few of those seasonings and some salt and pepper, it would still taste great.

Let the fish marinate in the spices for a few minutes, then roll in panko breadcrumbs. Saute the fish sticks in olive oil until they flake with a fork.

To assemble regular tacos: Spread the cabbage slaw on a flour tortilla, top with fish, then with tomato mixture and avocado. Add some hot sauce if you like, and some leftover white sauce.

To create a "deconstructed fish taco:" Instead of cutting the mahi mahi into strips before cooking, leave them as whole filets. Prepare the fish the same way as described above - dredge in seasoning, then coat in panko and saute. After the fish is cooked, mound a bed of the cabbage slaw on a plate, top with the fish filet, and top the filet with the tomato mixture and avocado. Drizzle leftover white sauce over the top and sprinkle crushed tortilla chips over the whole dish.

Pour yourself a margarita or a glass of white wine and prepare to impress all your friends!


  1. i REALLY wish i liked fish. but i'm thinking about trying this with fried chicken instead. one of my favorite places in atlanta serves fried chicken tacos...it's time i tried it out. with that margarita in tow.

  2. I keep saying that I'm going to come over to your house and make you cook for me, and I really mean it. One of these days.

  3. Katie - If you're ever going to like fish, you'd probably like this recipe. We don't eat a ton of fish either, but I can't get enough of it in the fish tacos. Fried chicken sounds good too...in fact, it's inspired me to post my chicken finger cobb salad recipe - I'll have to do it soon!

    Adam - come on over!!

  4. We also love Top Chef and I was so happy when the season started......Mike and I decided you should be a contestant.
    Can't wait to try the fish tacos, I think you made us some last summer when you were "home".

  5. Deconstructed fish taco, doesn't really sound appetizing but looks great. I have never had or made a fish taco, gonna now. My husband and I eat a lot of fish, my favorite would be tilapia, I think I could eat it daily, so always on the hunt for new recipes to jazz it up. With this heat we have been getting lately this is gonna be a really nice dish to have one hot evening. Would be fun for guests too, they could create their own. Thanks for the idea!