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Crispy Fish Tacos with Creamy coleslaw and Hot Sauce. /

Fish tacos are a taste of pure textural wizardry — the tender bite of fish, the crispy crunch of cabbage and the kick of creamy white sauce will put a spell on you.

I don't know the first time I tried a fish taco, but I do remember thinking how strange the thought of fish on a taco was before I actually ate one. Now, when I see them on a menu, I just have to order them. Many times I don't even eat the crispy taco shell or soft tortilla — whichever is used to wrap the fish and toppings. I just eat that fish, either grilled or fried, with some creative coleslaw and sauce drizzled over top. I've never had the same fish taco twice — they're all different to some degree. One bite and, just like that fish you're eating, you're hooked.

Enjoy these tacos on warm corn tortillas topped with all the fixings. And don't forget the fresh limes. They may seem like an inconsequential addition, but they do make a difference in the flavor of the tacos, adding a little tartness to all the savoriness and textures you expect in a good fish taco.

I think the perfect side to fish tacos is a colorful fruit salad and some citrus rice. Fish tacos are a light meal and need light sides to go with them, particularly on a warm spring day.

This recipe makes 10 servings so it's best made when you're having family and friends over. It's actually perfect for a crowd because they can add all their own toppings, and all you have to do is set them up and make a taco bar. And with Cinco de Mayo on the horizon, now's the perfect time to set up your taco bar and have a party. Bring on some good tequila and extra limes, and you're set.

 

Fish Tacos With Spicy Taco Mayo

Taco Mayo:

1/2 cup sour cream

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1-2 teaspoons sriracha sauce, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

For the fish:

1 cup dark beer

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 1/2 pounds cod or tilapia fillets, cubed

1 quart vegetable oil

20 (6-inch) corn tortillas

5 cups shredded cabbage

1/4 cup salsa (store-bought or homemade)

Garnishes: lime wedges and more salsa

Make Taco Mayo: Combine all taco mayo ingredients, mixing well. Place in refrigerator. This is best made an hour or two ahead of time to allow the flavors to marry.

For fish: In a shallow bowl, whisk together beer, flour and seasoned salt. Rinse fish, and pat dry, then cut it into 10 equal pieces.

In a large saucepan, heat 1 inch oil to 360 degrees. Using a fork, coat fish pieces in batter. Slide coated fish into hot oil in batches; adjust heat to maintain oil temperature. Fry until golden, about 2 minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon, and drain briefly on paper towels; keep warm. Repeat to fry remaining fish.

To assemble: Stack 2 tortillas. Place a piece of fish and 1/2 cup cabbage in the center of the tortillas, then drizzle with taco mayo. Serve with lime wedges and salsa.

Contact Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com or annebraly.com.

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Anne Braly
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