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¡Olé, Olé, Olé! (February 21, 2017)

Fish Tacos

We're in Mexico right now, and eating the foods we crave all the rest of the year; tops is fresh fish tacos, a staple of the Baja, but now available in most of the rest of the country... for good reason. Foodie Vanessa Barrington, whose excellent blog is a great source for recipes and ideas, gave us her fave recipe for this iconic dish; we've tried a lot of versions at home, but this one is the keeper!

Barrington says, "I always forget how good, healthy, and easy fish tacos are until I make them and vow to do it more often. They're remarkably adaptable to any type of not-too-expensive fish you might find in your local market. You can use any kind of white fish fillet, like sole, snapper, catfish, or tilapia. I prefer saltwater species, but sometimes the freshwater farmed fish are more economical. The textural contrast between lightly crispy fish, supple corn tortillas, and soft avocado is a big part of this simple recipe's success."

Give it a try! You'll be hooked for sure.

Fish Tacos

Serves 4 (about 3 tacos each)

    For the slaw:
  • 1 small cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 2 to 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 to 1 whole jalapeño chile, seeded and minced, optional
    1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Sugar, honey, or agave nectar to taste (optional)*
  • Salt and pepper
    For the fish:
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika or chipotle powder
  • 1 to 1½ pounds snapper, sole, tilapia, rockfish, or catfish
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil suitable for high-heat cooking (like safflower or grapeseed)
    To serve:
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Torn cilantro leaves
  • Sliced avocado
  • Lime wedges
  • Salsa

To prepare the slaw, place the shredded cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Massage and squeeze the cabbage with your hands to help it release its liquid and begin wilting. Transfer the cabbage to a strainer set over a bowl and set aside to drain for about 15 minutes.

Squeeze the cabbage of its excess liquid, one handful at a time, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the grated carrot, green onions, and jalapeño (if using). Toss to combine. Whisk together the minced garlic, lime juice, and mayonnaise. Taste and add a sweetener, salt, and pepper to taste. Pour over the cabbage mix and toss to combine.

To prepare the fish, combine the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika in a shallow container. Pat the fish dry, then dredge it in the flour mixture.

Heat the oil in a heavy (preferably cast iron) pan over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmery and flows to coat the entire bottom of the pan. Add the fish to the pan – if cooking multiple fillets, arrange them in a single layer with a little space between. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, carefully flipping once with a spatula, until both sides are golden-brown and the fish is opaque and flakes apart easily in the thickest part. Transfer the fish to a clean plate and flake into large chunks.

Meanwhile, heat the corn tortillas, one by one, in a heavy, dry pan, until soft and warm. Wrap them in a clean cloth as you go. (Alternatively, wrap them in a clean dish towel and warm them in the microwave for a few seconds.)

Serve the fish on a platter with the tortillas, slaw, cilantro, avocado, lime, and salsa on the side, letting each diner assemble his or her own tacos.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Tony's wine suggestion: dry Riesling (Kabinett style) or Soave.


We wish to thank for permission to publish this recipe and photograph. For more information and excellent recipes, visit their web site. Text and recipe: Vanessa Barrington. Image credit: Emma Christensen.


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Happily enjoyed by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Helen Hatton and Ron Morris at Le Caveau des Gourmets in Gigondas




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