T&T recipe for fish tacos?

bellsmomAugust 14, 2014

I am hungry for fish tacos.
I have never, ever made a fish taco.
Can you help me?

Anyone have a favorite fish taco recipe? Please?
Just typing this made me hungrier for fish tacos.

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publickman

I do not like traditional fish tacos because they are made with cabbage, and I do not like cabbage with fish - I think that is a San Diego or Laguna Beach invention - I've never had them with cabbage in Mexico.

First you make fried fish, the way you would for fish and chips, but you can use frozen fish filets if you wish. I make them with corn tortillas, and you can add whatever fillings/garnishes you like. I pretty much always add shredded lettuce, but from there it varies. Other additions include grilled onions, tomatoes, avocado slices, pico de gallo, etc. If you make them with flour tortillas, they would be fish fajitas, which is also good.

For dressing, I use chipotle or habanero mayonnaise, tartar sauce, or guacamole, but you could also use Ranch dressing, Louis dressing, or shrimp cocktail sauce. They never have cheese, however. To make chipotle mayo, add chipotle chilies and lime juice to mayonnaise. I make habanero mayo with a habanero sauce that I make, but you can buy decent habanero sauce also.

Unless you love cabbage, I highly recommend not using it. Otherwise it is just cole slaw with fish.

Lars

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 6:13PM
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triciae

Lars, thank you for mentioning that you don't like cabbage in fish tacos! I detest a fish taco made with cabbage...too chewy and the cabbage overpowers the fish. I've always made them with corn tortillas. When ordering in a restaurant I always request shredded lettuce as a substitute.

/tricia

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 6:38PM
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oldfixer

Fried fish-yes. Fish sandwich, with cheese-yes. Fish Taco-NO.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 6:44PM
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bellsmom

Lars, I do so love your rye bread.
Thank you for that recipe and your comments here.
Triciae, I don't know if I like cabbage in fish tacos or not. A good friend does.
Oh, my.
I am confused.
Thank you for opinions and ideas. But I still REALLY don't know HOW to make fish tacos.
I don't think I ever ATE a fish taco.
I want to eat a fish taco. A good one. On a corn tortilla. I can make a corn tortilla. A good one.
Maybe tomorrow?
Recipe, please? A yummy fish taco for a fish taco dummy with a yearning tummy?

This post was edited by Bellsmom on Fri, Aug 15, 14 at 14:34

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:58PM
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sushipup1

Cabbage vs lettuce in tacos traces back to different parts of Mexico. That's a large country with a LOT of seacoast, and the cuisine is not monochromatic! Every region has its own distinctions.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:34PM
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johnliu_gw

The fish tacos I used to have in Baja were very basic. We would land the kayaks, find the beach shack, and have fish tacos and cerveza.

So that is how I make them now. Tortilla, fish, cilantro, pico de gallo, extra lime juice. The fish is grilled or pan fried.

I don't like lettuce or cabbage in my fish tacos - it's not a sandwich - nor do I like sauces. Sometimes I use ceviche instead of heat-cooked fish.

The other thing I liked eating there was sashimi. While the rest of us were unloading the kayaks and setting up tents, my friend would disappear with his fins, mask and speargun. He'd return with a still twitching fish, cut it up on a flat rock, and we'd sit in the sand and with our fingers eat raw chunks of the freshest possible sashimi. There wasn't any soy sauce, or any need.

We used to go fishing in Baja a lot then, and I hatched a plan to eat even fresher sashimi. It was to catch a yellowtail, bring it in the boat, cut a strip of flesh almost off the fish, and gnaw the meat fully off while not getting brained by the thrashing fish. This plan was never carried out. The combination of hunger, cruelty, and a handy yellowtail never all came together. You can appreciate that one wouldn't try this with a rockfish - too spiky - or an eel - too toothy.

Anyway, fish tacos - keep them simple, and fresh. Fisherman food, not gourmet food.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 4:13AM
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bellsmom

John
The Baja has always been a fantasy place to me. I have kayaked in my little folbot in the Okeefenokee Swamp many, many times, and off both coasts of Florida, as well as in the lakes and streams of southern Indiana and northern Kentucky. The Okee is MY fantasy place. I never got to do one of the days long trips they schedule so that you are the only person on a long stretch of swamp for that day. Overnight camping is on raised platforms. I've been told the loudest noise in the night is the alligators crunching turtle shells. I REALLy wanted to do one of these trips.

However, I think I won't intrude into the fantasy of gnawing on a thrashing fish. I do thank you for the fun of imagining you doing it. I grew up in a fishing family and we ate many Indiana fish--bass and crappie especially. All fried, of course, and not thrashing about, except briefly and long before they reached my teeth.

My brother, a Salem, Oregon math teacher, deep sea fished for many years off the Oregon coast in the summers. His fantasies and memories have always enticed me. I will share yours with him. He will laugh.

By the way, he and his wife just made a trip down the coast of Norway. He said he ate fish, delicious fish, he had never before even heard of. He was in heaven. His wife somewhat less so.

There are plenty of recipes on line for fish tacos. I simply am as much at a loss choosing amongst them as I would be for kangaroo and cholum meat pie. (And I just made up the vegetable cholum!)

Thank you again for the image of you in your kayak. And the suggestions to keep the tacos simple.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 8:36PM
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johnliu_gw

Okay, I made fish tacos tonight and we ate them outside on the patio. Sorry no pics - it was candlelight only - but here is the semi detailed process.

Lightly salt half the fish and set aside in fridge. Cube the other half, put in a bowl with lime juice, and refrigerate, stirring occasionally. I used tilapia fillets.

Make pico de gallo. Medium dice four largish tomatoes (seeds, skin and all), one largish onion. Fine dice one jalapeño or Serrano pepper (seeds removed), four garlic cloves. Optional: cut the flesh from three peaches and dice. Zest and juice three limes. Chop a handful of cilantro. Combine all in a large bowl. Mix with your hands, squeeze a few handfuls to mush up a bit of the mixture, which gives it a bit of thickness. Set aside for 10-20 minutes, then salt and pepper to taste.

De-stem the remaining bunch of cilantro, put in a bowl.

Optional: my wife likes sauce, so I had to do this. Mix a half cup of mayo with some jalapeño or habanero chile oil (cut up the de-seeded pepper and crush it, e.g. using a garlic press), and a little lime juice. Add the pepper oil and juice bit by bit, tasting as you go. If it gets too hot, add more mayo.

Optional: make some guacamole, just mash up avocados with a fork and add a bit of salt and a bit of lime juice. Again, my wife wanted this, actually she made it.

Heat oil in a pan, use high heat, fry corn tortillas, folding them in half after they've softened in the oil, then frying on each side until they start to brown. This isn't necessary, our beachside Baja tacos weren't hard shelled, but I like it anyway. Set tortillas aside on paper towels.

Heat more oil, put the fish fillets in the pan, add a dash of lime juice, sprinkle on paprika and fry on high heat, tossing to distribute the paprika and get all sides of the fish fried. The paprika is an optional cheat; it makes the fish look browned, but you don't have to actually brown it which would mean overcooking it. Cooking time is only about 3-4 minutes. Fork the fish into small pieces.

Take the lime juice-soaked fish out of the refrigerator, discard the lime juice. This is your ceviche. It needs to have soaked in the lime long enough to be opaque white, no longer translucent like raw fish is - half an hour or more.

Assemble tacos. A tortilla, some fish - either the fried fish or the ceviche - plus cilantro, pico de gallo, and optionally the sauce or guacamole. A beer would be good accompaniment. I made some Mexican rice too, but I don't put it in the taco.

This post was edited by johnliu on Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 2:10

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 2:05AM
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bellsmom

John,
Wow! Wonderful.
Thank you SO much for taking the time to do this.
I owe you a fish taco. Or at least, a toast to John when I bite into the first one!

Anyone else with a fav. fish taco recipe to share?

This post was edited by Bellsmom on Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 11:47

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 7:02AM
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