I remember the first time I ever heard of a fish taco. My parents and youngest brother moved from Chicago to San Diego, in the late 80s, and the first time we came to visit, they raved about the fish tacos at this little placed called Rubios. Supposedly the owner brought the recipe to southern California from Mexico. I had recently moved from Chicago to Boston, and couldn’t even fathom the thought of fish on a taco. To me, tacos were still something of a meal that came out of a yellow box. You just added ground beef, shredded cheese, some lettuce and voila! Amazing how far our taste buds have come in the past 25 years…
Today, Rubios is a major west coast chain, and the fish taco has caught on all over the place – even in Boston. No Rubios here yet, but we have Dorado Taco in Brookline, which serves them just like in Mexico and southern California. Fish Tacos are a nice twist on traditional beef, chicken, or bean tacos. I think they’re super easy to make, and lighter and healthier tasting. You can serve them with salsa or pico de gallo, but I really love the traditional cabbage slaw with Mexican Crema, a cool, creamy sauce. I’ve been making this recipe, adapted from the Culinary Institute of America, for a while. It’s easy to prepare on the grill or stovetop, but I prefer to use my Panini Press, because the fish doesn’t fall through the grill, cleanup is easy, and I get those nice grill marks on my tortillas.
Baja Fish Tacos
- 2 lbs mahi mahi or firm white fish
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- juice of 1 lime
- 5 tsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- salt pepper
- 8 flour tortillas 8 inches in diameter
- 2 cups shredded Napa Cabbage
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 Tbs minced red onion
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- salt pepper to taste
Pico de Gallo
- 1 medium tomato seeded and diced
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 small jalapeño minced
- 2 Tbs chopped cilantro
- salt pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt OR sour cream
- zest and juice of 1/2 lime
- optional - 1 Tbs chopped cilantro
- Season the Fish
- Cut the fish into 16 equal pieces.
- Combine the oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic powder and salt in a bowl.
- Coat the fish with the rub/marinade and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make Pico de Gallo (if desired) and Cabbage Slaw.
- Pico de Gallo
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stir to combine, season with salt and pepper.
- Let sit at room temperature, for 30 minutes to allow flavors to combine.
- Cabbage Slaw
- Combine lime juice, honey, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Toss with shredded cabbage, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Zest and juice 1/2 lime.
- Stir yogurt or sour cream into zest and juice.
- Add a pinch of salt to taste, and cilantro if desired.
- Grill the fish on the first side over direct heat, until the fish starts to turn opaque - 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the fish, and grill until cooked through, about 2 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, grill the tortillas until they have light grill marks, and are heated through on both sides.
- To serve, center 2 pieces of fish on each tortilla, top with Cabbage Slaw, and Pico de Gallo.
- Add a dollop of Mexican Crema, fold in half, and serve immediately.