Brilliant Fish Tacos

One of my many “pet projects” in the kitchen has been fish tacos.

The yearning to try my hand at them (again) usually crops up during the summer months, just as soon as it becomes necessary to leave the window cracked to help keep the heat in the kitchen down. Only this time? I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy a  Corona with the tacos.

Last winter, I spotted some soft corn tortillas – which I hadn’t been able to get here in England previously so I was really, really excited about it and knew that I would buy quite a few packages later this summer along with quite a bit of fish. I was certain.

This week? My wish came true! Fish tacos for dinner!

And let me tell you, this has been a bumpy road.

Sometimes the fish is under-seasoned, or too soft, or the batter is too thick, or the coleslaw we paired it with was pretty runny or not-tasty enough … just problem after problem. If I was really, really just desperate for them we would get the best quality frozen fish sticks, some salsa and the best coleslaw that we could get at the time and some hard taco shells and cringe at the result. It was about half-way to where we wanted it to be and left a lot to be desired.

After a bunch of soul-sucking hours scouring the internet over those gloomy wintery days, I came across a fish taco sauce and a few ideas for some fun salsas and different ways to cook the fish to make the fish tacos. The husband unit left me to get whatever and however much fish at the fish counter while he worked with Mei on scanning the rest of our groceries into our cart (or trolley, if you prefer). I wound up with about two pounds of cod, since it was the most fresh and best looking of what they had by the time we got there and day-dreamed the whole rest of the shopping trip and drive home about that evenings dinner.

The recipe for the fish taco sauce is borrowed from The Soup Addict, and it is as wickedly good as she describes – we will not forget to whip some of this up for all sorts of fish dishes in the future (and of course, more fish tacos). The salsa was simply diced and seeded tomatoes, green onions, minced fresh cilantro, salt and pepper to taste all tossed together and chilled for serving. I chose to pan-fry the cod in large pieces, generously dusted with creole seasoning – which wouldn’t be as crunchy as deep-frying it, but I wanted to test out the condiments we were mixing up this time around, and then work on a good batter for frying the fish in a second go-around. Plus I would rather get a fish that has a stronger flavor to hold up to the condiments…. so this was certainly a work-in-progress!

The result? BRILLIANT!!! These were hands down the best fish tacos we have made and the only thing that would have made it better was a little more crunch in the fish and an ice-cold Corona to go with it.

Oh and the cilantro??? I don’t know what it IS about THIS pregnancy, but I can’t seem to get enough cilantro – which is an herb I had really not appreciated before and smells like and reminds me of weeds that my brother and I picked outside to play “kitchen” when we were kids growing up.

You could hear very little noise and talking over the tacos as we each pigged out on about three each! Mei had a cheese quesadilla with flaked fish mixed in (hehe, my little trick to get her some more protein without “noticing”…) which she loved and ate a full tortillas worth! She loves the nights when we make her quesadillas -especially since it comes with a deconstructed taco (bits of tomato, cucumber, lettuce and whatever protein we have included in our own tacos plus beans) and fruit! It’s one of the meals where at the end of it, you can’t tell any food had ever been on her plate to begin with. The very best result for parents of toddlers!

I also plan to fry up some shrimp for shrimp tacos next time while I’m frying up the fish … I can’t wait! I also have some mango and corn salsa recipes that I plan to try out for future fish taco dinner nights since it is only June and we have a few more warm months left!!

Ingredients: 

  • 2 lbs of white fish fillets
  • 4 TBS creole seasoning
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and finely diced
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced (both the tender green and white parts)
  • a bunch of fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 lime
  • salt and pepper
  • corn tortillas, for serving
  • additional lime wedges, for serving

The recipe for the fish taco sauce can be found by clicking here, or scrolling up the page and clicking on the link above. Enjoy the Soup Addict’s blog while you are at it!

Rinse and pat dry your fish fillets. Season with salt and pepper to your liking then cut the fillets into more manageable chunks for frying. Don’t worry about cutting them “to size” since they will quite easily flake and break apart once they have been cooked throguh and each person can more easily decide how much fish they would like in their taco. Brush the tops with the egg yolk then very generously dust the surfaces with creole seasoning.

Bring a non-stick frying pan to temperature and heat the olive oil until just before it starts to smoke. Carefully place a few chunks of your fillets with the yolked and seasoned side down, taking care not to crowd the pan. Brush the fillets again with more egg yolk (this time the parts that were the “bottoms” of the fillets) and add more creole seasoning. After about 3-5 minutes, flip the fillets over and fry them until the bottoms are as golden brown and opaque as the tops of each fillet and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. It shouldn’t take more than 7 minutes to fully cook your bits of fish. Let them rest on a plate and set the plate in the oven to keep the fish warm while you cook the rest of the fish, brushing each fillet on both sides with egg yolk and liberally seasoning each one.

Once the fish has been cooked through, chop up your ingredients for the salsa (which should be quite cold – if not, you can make the salsa first and put it back in the fridge while you prepare the fish). Combine the tomato, green onion, cilantro and juice of one lime in a bowl, toss it all together and season with salt and pepper to your liking.

You can warm the corn tortillas by placing them on a plate, covered loosely with a damp paper towel for about 30 seconds in the microwave. Set out the plate of fish, your salsa, fish sauce and lime wedges and enjoy putting together your tacos and each bite of your brilliant fish taco!

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