The fish taco originated from the Baja California Peninsula. Surrounded by ocean, this northwestern Mexican region’s cuisine differs from mainland Mexico in its abundant use of seafood. Thus, the fish taco was born—freshly fried fish wrapped in a warmed tortilla, served with a creamy, spicy sauce and crunchy cabbage. But you don’t have to live on the West coast to enjoy this iconic recipe. Any white-fleshed fish will do, and it will taste just as good.
This is one of my many versions of the fried fish taco. I had some paddlefish in the freezer that needed to be used up before freezer burn set in, and for the filling, I used whatever was on sale at the grocery store. Green or purple cabbage, it doesn’t matter; I just thought that purple would add more color. If you have the time, make your own spicy pico de gallo, red salsa or salsa verde at home. Wash down tacos with cold cerveza (beer) or margaritas on the rocks.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1½ pounds of paddlefish or other boneless, skinless white fish
- 1 small package of corn tortillas
- Lime wedges
- Oil for frying
- Diced avocado
- Taco/hot sauce/salsa
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- ¾ teaspoon of baking soda
- 10-12 ounces of beer
- 2 cups of shredded red/purple cabbage
- ¼ cup of mayonnaise
- Half a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (or to taste)
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- Quarter of a small red onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
- Salt and pepper, to taste
2. Bring 3 inches of vegetable oil to 375 degrees in a medium pot. Meanwhile, mix dry beer batter ingredients in a mixing bowl. Then gradually whisk in beer to form a fairly thin batter. It should be the consistency of pancake batter—perhaps a tad thinner than that. Rinse fish and cut into 1-inch-thick strips.
3. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Pat fish dry and dip strips into the beer batter. Carefully fry coated fish in the hot oil until golden brown on all sides. Do not overcrowd the pot to maintain consistent oil temperature. Drain fried fish on a rack placed inside a rimmed cookie sheet. Keep warm in the oven as you fry the rest of the fish.
4. Warm tortillas in a skillet or on a grill with a bit of oil. Assemble tacos with cabbage slaw, a piece of fried fish, and diced avocado. Serve with lime wedges, extra cilantro and your favorite salsa/taco sauce.