gotta love fish tacos

have you ever had fish tacos?

they’re perfect. crispy, flaky fish, crunchy cabbage, the zip of fresh lime juice and a drizzle of smooth sour cream sauce combine to make an irresistibly simple dish. quick to create and easy to personalize, this southwestern street food has swarms of devoted followers that swear by the humble ingredients, all wrapped up in a simple corn tortilla. i was lucky enough to live in san diego for 8 months when i was in college, and i fell in love with the tangy, crunchy snack.

last night we had our friend oliver over for dinner, who thankfully has tried the real thing in california before – my husband was experiencing the fish taco for the first time. since its creation in the 1960s, the fish taco’s basic recipe has remained unchanged. white fish is lightly battered and deep fried, then enveloped in a corn tortilla with shredded cabbage, a mexican sour cream-type sauce called crema, a bit of salsa, and a healthy squeeze of fresh lime juice. this combination of flavors and textures is undeniably delicious – tangy, crunchy, sweet, salty, and highly addictive. from this modest base, hundreds of variations have evolved, toying with everything from the fish’s preparation to the fish itself (lobster, crab, tuna, and shrimp are popular alternatives) and adding extra toppings like pico de gallo, avocado, jalepenos, cucumbers, beans, or fresh fruits. newcomers may be overwhelmed by the possibilities, but connoisseurs tend to stick with the classic recipe, turning up their nose at the more complex imitations.

i like mine relatively simple, adapting a recipe from average betty. the beer batter is crunchy and gives the fish a delicious bite, the white sauce is tangy and creamy, and the avocado relish gives the perfect zip. i served this with chips, guacamole, mango salsa, and sauteed black beans and corn.

baja fish tacos

1 medium tomato, diced
1 avocado, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

3 tbsp plain yogurt
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp hot sauce

1 cup beer
1 cup all purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste

1 pound whitefish (mahi mahi or cod are great), cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup shredded cabbage
8 corn tortillas – you can also use flour if you prefer
fresh lime wedges

for the avocado relish – in a small bowl, combine tomato, avocado, jalapeno, onion, lime juice and cilantro, and stir gently. add salt and pepper to taste.

for the white sauce – in another bowl, combine yogurt, mayonnaise, lime juice and hot sauce, and stir well.

for the fish – in a third bowl, combine the beer, flour, salt and pepper, and stir until smooth. add fish pieces to batter a few at a time and coat thoroughly.

in a saucepan or skillet with high sides, warm the canola oil over medium-high heat. carefully add coated fish pieces to the oil and fry for 4-6 minutes, until golden brown. remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and allow fish to rest on paper towels. sprinkle with extra sea salt if you like.

to assemble, heat the tortillas in a dry skillet until warm. put a dollop of white sauce in the middle of the tortilla, then top with fish. add avocado relish, a bit of cabbage, and a spritz of fresh lime juice.

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6 thoughts on “gotta love fish tacos

  1. AAAAAH I love fish tacos! Living on the CA coast, I’ve grown up eating and loving them. The bad news is that my hubby hates fish tacos :( At least I can get them at some of our restaurants here. If you’re ever in Santa Barbara I will tell you the best places for fish tacos on the beach.

    Thank you for visiting Yummy Mummy today!

  2. I feel kind of really bad that I’ve never had fish tacos! Especially that I’ve never had the real deal CA version.

    That beer batter sounds fantastic! I think I really need to give these a try.

    • they’re delicious, but be warned that they’re super addictive :) the beer batter is super simple and would work in anything, even if you’re not feeling the tacos. i used pacifico beer but any light brew will do!

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