Fish Tacos-No, Really, They’re Good!

For some reason, the mention of fish tacos seems to evoke two reactions from people who have never heard of or tried them.  Either they (1) are interested and intrigued; or (2) are completely horrified.  I am not sure what the terrifying thing about fish tacos is; maybe people have some sort of Taco Bell image in their head of ground-up fish cooked with taco seasoning from a packet and served in a fried shell. Not so! What makes a fish taco a taco is the fact that it’s fish served on a tortilla. The seasonings and toppings are up to you.

I was intrigued at first; Philip, on the other hand, thought they sounded terrible the first time that I told him they were on the menu, six or seven years ago.  I figured, what have we got to lose?  We like fish, we like tacos, the worst that can happen is that we don’t like them and I never make them again.  That did not happen.  We loved them, and after a couple of variations I found a Tyler Florence recipe on FoodNetwork.com that I have reworked to make it a little more convenient and healthy.  I have made this recipe so many times I could do it in my sleep.  And to answer your question-yes, they’re good!

Start by putting a baking stone or sheet into your oven and preheating to 450 degrees.

Now, make the sauce.  About 1/4 cup of mayo (I like the olive oil kind), 1/4 cup sour cream, juice of 1/2 lime (I just love my citrus press!), and about 3/4 teaspoon of chipotle chile powder.  Alternately, you could chop up a chipotle pepper and throw that in, but the powder gives the same flavor and is easy to keep in a jar in the pantry.  You can add more if you like more heat.  Taste it and adjust amounts as needed.

Chop up some cabbage pretty finely.  I bought red cabbage because I wanted the color, but I often make fish tacos as a way to use up green cabbage or Napa cabbage left over from other recipes.  You could also use slaw mix.  I didn’t take a picture of this, but after chopping the cabbage, I rinsed it in a strainer and left it in the sink to drain while I worked on the fish.

You’ll need 1 piece of fish per person.  This is tilapia…inexpensive and easy to find.  You could use any mild-tasting white fish.  Cut each fillet into 4 pieces.  Salt and pepper both sides.

Set up the dredging station.  You need flour, panko (Japanese) bread crumbs, and an egg beaten with a little milk (two if you’re making a lot).

Dip each piece of fish on both sides first into flour, then egg, then panko, being sure to coat each side completely.  After I did this I set the pieces aside on the cutting board until I finished.

This is my oil mister.  It’s a Misto and I got it at Marshall’s for $7.99.  Pampered Chef sells one as well.  A mister will allow you to lightly spray your food with oil, getting a crispy texture and the flavor of the oil without too much fat and without the chemical propellants in store-bought varieties.  If you don’t have one, go ahead and use Pam.  Then go buy a mister.  They’re the best!  Put the fish on the preheated stone or baking sheet and mist the tops lightly with oil.  Bake for 6-7 minutes, turn, mist again, and bake for another 6-7 minutes.

While the fish is baking, chop some cilantro* (I washed my cutting board!), then heat the corn tortillas.  You could use flour, but I think that corn is more traditional, and you could use a pan or a griddle, but I just fire up the burner and throw ’em on!  Heat for about 30 seconds, turn, 30 seconds more, and wrap in foil.  This one got a little, um, crispy.  I’m okay with that, though.  *I know a lot of people don’t like cilantro!  Some people think it tastes like soap or bleach.  For others, it’s an acquired taste.  I was one of those.  I used to hate it, now I love it.  If you hate it, though, don’t sweat it.  Just leave it off!


Okay, now for assembly.  I use two tortillas per taco (if I’m really watching calories, I’ll use one, but corn tortillas are very low in fat and calories-much better than flour!).  Spread on a little sauce, then put two pieces of fish per taco.  While it’s not traditional, I use a little cheese.  This is Cabot 75% Reduced Fat Cheddar, and it’s fantastic.  Next, the cabbage, and finally, the cilantro.  If you have salsa, you can throw on some of that, too.  I usually do, but I didn’t tonight.  I served this with black beans and Mexican rice.  Great dinner!

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5 thoughts on “Fish Tacos-No, Really, They’re Good!

  1. Thanks for the post I look forward to making this recipe very soon. I have had fish tacos and loved them. The variation I had was simply fried fish and curdito(Salvadoran cabbage salad).

  2. I love love love fish tacos. So I accidentally bought orange ruffy the other day instead of talipia, I have no idea if it is good or not, do you think it would work?

    • I think so! Orange roughy is pretty mild like tilapia-but be careful and try no to buy it too often. It’s pretty high in mercury so it’s on the “consume rarely” list. Tilapia is a safe fish : )

  3. I LOVE fish tacos! Great pop of color from the purple cabbage. Thanks for the Cabot support- the farm families who own Cabot appreciate it!
    ~Jacquelyn

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