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 place called Rubios. 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!
Today, Rubios is a major west coast chain, and the fish taco has caught on all over the country. Amazing how far our taste buds have come in the past 30 years…
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
- 1 lbs tilapia or firm white fish
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 salt or to taste
- 4 flour or corn 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 and pepper to taste
Pico de Gallo
- 1 large tomato seeded and diced
- 1/2 small red onion diced
- 1/2 jalapeño minced
- 2 Tbs chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste
- zest and juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- optional – 1 Tbs chopped cilantro
- Season the Fish
- 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 and honey into zest and juice.
- Add salt to taste, and cilantro if desired.
- Heat a large nonstick pan, or a panini press to medium-high heat. 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.
- Remove the fish from the pan and set aside on a plate.
- Grill the tortillas for about 30 seconds on each side, or until they have light grill marks, and are heated through on both sides.
- To serve, center 1 piece 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.
Do you ever make fish tacos?