I have many plans for the summer. One of these plans is to eat many fish tacos. There is something delightfully summery about them. So spicy and bright tasting. It just satisfies you. Add a margarita to the mix, and you’re gold.
Often, when I’m craving fish tacos, I go to straight to the experts: La Carnita’s fish taco, “In Cod we Trust” plagues my mind on a pretty constant basis. In fact, pretty much everything they do plagues my mind. I’ve never had a bad taco there, but their fish taco is my favourite. They also do a mean margarita, and their street corn is pretty boss as well. If I could go there all the time, I would. But I can’t so I don’t. So every once in a while, I have to try my hand at my own fish taco.
I am no fool. You cannot improve upon perfection. And I don’t entertain ideas of being able to replicate perfection. So I went on a hunt for a recipe for fish tacos that I could replicate or at least approximate. I needed something that had the same satisfying array of flavours, blending so well but still distinct. And spicy. A fish taco has to be spicy. It just does.
So anyway, after a bit of research (ie: googling) I came across a recipe that seemed to capture most of what I wanted in my fish tacos. Bobby Flay’s Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw, Tomato and Avocado Salsa and Pineapple Hot Sauce is what I use as a rough guide for my much lazier (and probably just as delicious) fish taco. It’s a weeknight taco. Or a weekend taco. Or a midnight taco. Or an every minute of your life taco, really.
Here’s a rough overview of my recipe: Tilapia fish tacos with “whatever slaw”, pineapple jalapeño “salsa”, avocados, and a sriracha “crema”.
First, assemble your toppings. Slice up dem avocados. Here’s a nice tip I read somewhere on the internet once: to make sure an avocado isn’t overripe, pop off the little nubbin/stem/whatever, and if it’s still white underneath, it’s all good. If it’s brown, put it down. HANDY.
For the slaw, use whatever is easiest. In an ideal world, it’d be red cabbage slaw. But I don’t want to buy an entire damn red cabbage for a cup of slaw. So I pick up a bag of slaw from the store. Sometimes they have red cabbage, but mostly they don’t. Today I used a carrot-cabbage combo. So long as it’s crispy and colourful, you’re all good. Chop up some cilantro and mix it in with the slaw, then add a generous splash of rice vinegar and good amount of lime juice. Half a lime or a whole lime. Up to you! Let that marinade while you do the rest.
Next chop up the pineapple and some jalapeños (canned, jarred, fresh, whatever, no judgement here) and fry them up in a pan until they get all delicious looking, charring and caramelizing a bit. Most foods are better if you can somehow get them to caramelize. Once that’s done put it in a bowl. That is my pineapple jalapeno “salsa”.
Grab a couple of tablespoons of sour cream, and mix it with sriracha sauce to taste. It should be pretty spicy. This is the “crema”.
As for the fish. I usually use tilapia fillets, because they’re cheap and easy to find, but you could use any old white fish you wanted, I’m sure. Season both sides with salt and pepper. I like to grab some breadcrumbs and zest a lime into them, and a good squeeze of lime juice. Mix that good stuff all together. Then I simply dredge the fish in these breadcrumbs and fry it up in a tiny bit of oil. Both sides. But you could also do the fish any old way you want, really. If you’re a better man that I, you could actually batter the fish! But that’s too much work. For even less work, you could just skip the breadcrumbs and do salt, pepper and some lime zest/juice.
Once the fish is done, grab a pile of corn tortilla and stick them on a plate. Cover them with a damp dishtowel, and microwave it for about 2 minutes. This kind of steams them and makes them lovely and pliable.
Now, YOU ARE READY. Throw everything onto a pita and GOBBLE IT UP. It’s good right? Super good. Yea.