This is a recipe that has been languishing in my drafts folder for quite some time. I’m not really sure why, it is an ideal Summer dish but I have been stressing about getting it right for some time. That is daft really, you can’t get it wrong! Sweet, spicy, fresh, creamy and zesty, these little Crunchy Fish Tacos have got it all.
One of the reasons that I may have been overthinking this, other than that being my default setting, is that I have about ten different recipes for Fish Tacos in my cookbooks. From Rick Stein, Nigella, Jennifer Joyce, Chrissy Tiegan, Melissa Clark and the Masterchef books, and all of them are different. So I just decided to go with what I like myself and these are the result, I’m not claiming these are authentic Mexican tacos.
Most recipes for fish tacos have beer battered deep fried fish. I personally don’t like the hassle of deep frying too often so I went with a panko breadcrumb coating and shallow frying them to give crunch. If you want to deep fry them, Rick Stein’s recipe from his Road to Mexico book is here. Alternatively in her book Cravings Chrissy Teigen simply coats her fish in a spice mixture and chars it in a skillet pan. You can find that recipe here.
Useful tips & links:
- Use this recipe as a guide to make the tacos the way you like yourself. You can keep the toppings simple and even buy good quality salsas or guacamole to use. I honestly think these things are much nicer homemade and are easy to do but don’t stress about it.
- Ideally, with the fish there should be something crunchy and something creamy. I would suggest to use cabbage, whether it is red or white, as this gives the tacos a delicious fresh crunch. I like to use red as when it pickles lightly with the red onion in the lime juice it turns a beautiful pink colour.
- You can just drizzle some sour cream or mayo over this but the crema with smokey chipotle and lime adds such a wonderful flavour. If you cannot get chipotle in adobo sauce, add a little tomato ketchup with smoked paprika and cayenne pepper instead.
- Ideally I would make these tacos with soft corn tortillas. Sadly they are not that easy to buy in shops here, unless you buy the hard shells which I am not a fan of. I use small flour tortillas that I get in M&S but you can order proper corn ones from Picado Mexican shop online. They also sell the chipotles in adobo.
- If you want more Mexican inspired flavours have a look at my Chicken Fajitas.
- For more taco ideas have a look at these Lime Coriander Fish Tacos from Alice from Saucepots.
Crunchy Fish Tacos
- ½ a small head of red cabbage
- A couple of limes
- 1 small red onion
- Fresh coriander leaves
- 3 tablespoons of sour cream
- 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon of chipotle chilli in adobo sauce
- 50g of plain flour
- 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- ½ teaspoon of cayenne chilli pepper
- ½ teaspoon of dried oregano
- 300g of firm white fish such hake, cod or monkfish. I use hake
- 1 egg beaten
- 75g of panko breadcrumbs
- Sunflower oil
- 4-6 soft tortillas
- Salt and pepper
- Start by making the prepping the red cabbage to allow time for it to pickle slighlty. Finely slice the cabbage and half of a small red onion and put the in a bowl. Squeeze over the juice of half a lime, some chopped coriander leaves and season with salt and pepper. Mix well and set to one side. Keep the rest of the red onion for the pico de gallo if you are making it.
- Next make the chipotle crema by whisking together the sour cream, mayonnaise, chipotle chilli and a good squeeze of lime juice until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- To prepare the fish, remove the skin and slice into long 2.5cm wide strips. In one bowl mix together the flour, paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano and some salt and pepper. Lightly coat the strips of fish in the flour mixture.
- Next dip the fish into the beaten egg and then coat it in the panko breadcrumbs. If you have time put it into the fridge for 20 minutes to help the breadcrumbs stick to the fish when frying.
- Preheat your oven to 100c/80c fan/gas mark ¼.
- Lightly toast the tacos in a dry pan and stack them on a plate, cover it in foil and keep in the low oven until ready to serve.
- Heat about 2cm of oil in a wide frying pan over a medium-high heat until some breadcrumbs dropped in sizzle.
- Fry the fish in batches for a couple of minutes on both sides until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm in the oven while you cook the rest of the fish.
- You can serve the tacos family style so that everyone can help themselves to the dips and sides that they like. I prefer to assemble by placing some red cabbage pickle on the taco, top with slices of avocado, the fish and top with salsa or pico de gallo and drizzle over some chipotle crema. Serve wedges of lime on the side.