Did you ever get in one of those food craving moods where unless you get that one thing you’re craving, nothing will truly satisfy your taste buds? That was me a few weeks ago. I was craving fish tacos like it was my job. I mean I tried EVERYTHING I had in the house to satisfy that craving… except actual fish tacos but nothing worked. So why not make the fish tacos when I craved them? Well it was like -15F below and I didn’t want to be outside at all cause the air just hurt my face. But when it got down to even bacon not even making me happy (I know, right! Not even bacon! *shocked!*) I knew I had to break down and go venture out into the arctic tundra to get some fish.
Normally I have fish in the freezer but I had none and honestly kept forgetting to buy it. Plus truth be told I had so much crap in my freezers that I literally could not fit one more thing in it. I mean seriously, not even a block of butter! I’ve decided in my next house I will have a commercial stand up freezer and a commercial fridge. I need them in my life. Even though there is just the two of us, I need this. Honestly I think this type of obsessive/hoarding (though not really), can’t cook for just 2 people cooking stems from my childhood for multiple reasons. Due to how poor we were when we were able to stock up on a great sale at the store, we would… in bulk. We were that family that could seriously give Sam’s club a run for their money on stuff. Next factor in that Mom cooked for at least 8 people plus she always doubled the batch AND added in a few more servings into the recipe for drop-ins as that often happened as she was an awesome cook.
So while I’ve considerably curbed how much I cook and buy it’s actually hard at times to control myself when I see cans of veggies on sale for like .50 a can. Doesn’t everyone need 14 cans of spring peas at all times??? No? Well er um… you should. *wink*
But as I said, as I’ve gotten older I’ve had to re-teach myself on quantity. At first it was somewhat difficult to keep the same quality of the food while reducing the amount it made. Have you ever made a recipe and then tried to cut it in half the next time you made it only to have it not turn out? The worst is if the normal batch calls for one egg and you want to half it. It took me a while to figure out the best way to do this. To do this simply crack the egg in a cup, whisk until well combined and measure out half of it. The other half save or add to another dish.
Well FINALLY it got to the point where I actually had prime real estate in my freezers for some awesome fish so I could make these. It’s funny as when I told Mr. Fantabulous I was hitting up downtown fish market to get some fish he told me to not “buy the whole ocean” LOL Big Brat! This recipe I’ve been making for years as its honestly one of my favorites. It’s light, bright, packed with protein and seriously so flippin’ delicious. Okay fine, if you’re not a seafood lover then you won’t like it but I’m tellin’ you what guys, one bite and you’ll go nuts over this! See I buy “non-fishy” fish. I HATE fish that stinks. You can go with fresh fish or the pre-frozen stuff but make sure with that it’s literally just fish and nothing else (preservatives) has been added to it. And for the love of God, NO CANNED FISH… ever! *gag*
Well wait canned albacore is OK but I mean no canned salmon, crab or shrimp. That’s just nasty. Now since I don’t live by an ocean and there is not enough money in the world to eat fish that would come out of our Three Rivers here in Pittsburgh (sorry but you’re awesome city but I swear your fish glow!) I either am stuck buying frozen stuff at the seafood market or bagged frozen stuff. As luck would have it I managed to be at the right place at the right time when they were unloading a huge case of partially frozen cod loins. I actually prefer cod loins to cod fillets myself.
Do you know the difference between the loin and the fillet? A fillet is one side of the whole fish with the head, tail, guts, bones and skin removed. A loin is the middle third of the fillet – the thick bit. More often than none the loin is also boneless with the skin removed but that’s not always the case. It’s a heartier piece of fish that can stand up to being part of this taco. I hate it when you bit into a piece of fish and it’s almost “too flaky” and just falls apart. Not for me, when I make fish tacos I go with the fleshier parts of the fish as they add girth and stability.
As you can tell I kinda went nuts over taking photos for this shoot. The colors are vibrant and vivacious – just like the flavors in this dish! You could make the same dish using hard crunchy tacos but for me, that’s a textural no-no. This dish shouldn’t have crunch. The only crispness you should have is from the cabbage slaw. Speaking of, lemme tell you about this slaw. It’s SUPER simple and one of my favorites! It’s light and bright but has some great heat thanks to the minced jalapenos in it. It has that acidic twinge from the lime juice while the cool cilantro balances it all out.
Now I know there are you cilantro haters out there. Why you hate this luscious herb is beyond me as I think it’s one of the best ones out there however to each their own. You hate cilantro, I hate curry so sometimes rosemary. So as a for a substitute? You could try fresh chopped parsley in lieu of it though it may not give you that ‘cool crisp’ taste that only cilantro does. Play with the recipe and let me know what you come up with that works.
Next let’s dish about that Baja Cream Sauce. Okay seriously this stuff is lethal! It has some heat that you can totally tweak for your own taste buds. But the overall taste of it is EPIC! It’s cool, has some pinch to it, definitely some tang and just all around well-balanced beautiful flavor. This recipe does make a good bit of it so don’t limit it to just this recipe! Try it on shrimp (think po’boy), crab, tilapia burgers, shrimp burgers and so forth! Oh what’s even awesome is make up a bunch of fish and put the slaw and fish chunks on top of nachos and then drizzle this sauce on top. I did that with some creole shrimp and went NUTS over it! Like seriously I ate the entire plate that I used in a photo shoot!
Now the fish I kept pretty simple and kept out as many calories as possible. I’ve had fish tacos where the fish is deep-fried, batter dipped, etc but it’s just not the same for me. It needs to be grilled or pan seared. I personally find the breading adds too much weight to the dish and removes too much of the individual flavors in it. The breading on fish tends to muddle the different tastes. If you’re a hardcore fan of the breaded fish do me a favor and try it once, this recipe, without breading and frying. The flavors seem to become elevated when left ‘nekkid’.
Now this dish comes together pretty fast. The longest part is letting the cream sauce chill and the slaw marinate in the fridge. You want to give the slaw enough time for the flavors to saturate it while you need Baja cream sauce to marry into one harmonious blend. Once it was time to eat the overall cooking and assembly time took under 10 minutes. What’s funny is this is soooooooooooo not a Mr. Fantabulous type of dish. He says he’s not a big fish eater yet every time I make it he scarfs it up. Therefore when I made this dish I purposely made it the one day he was taking a nap. So yes I only made 2, the 2 you see on this plate. Once I finished up with the shoot I sat down and inhaled them. Well okay I could only eat one as my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I wrapped the other one up and set out to edit the photos.
As I was sitting at my desk editing the photos Mr. Sleepy Pants wandered into the office rubbing his eyes with one hand and his belly with the other which is universal sign language for “buddah needs food” LOL I smiled and told him to give me a few as I was just finishing up my most recent shoot. He looked at the pictures of these and immediately he woke up. “HEYYYYYYYYY what’s that?! How come I didn’t get any of that?! Where’s mine? Is there any left? I can’t believe you’re holding out on me!” Seriously he really is my man-child. I simply said “Honey you don’t like stuff like this and…” and then he interjected with “baby, I love everything you make… except that cast iron corn bread made with sawdust…” LOL sigh I can’t win.
So I went out to the kitchen, unwrapped the one I literally just put into the fridge and handed it to him. Then the big brat said “No, it’s okay I’m an afterthought. This is for you, not me. I’ll just eat a bowl of cereal or bread and water.” God love that man I swear. And don’t you know that big baby went and got something else to eat?! He was just messing with me and didn’t really want it. So while I can’t say he liked this dish I can say he loved the slaw and Baja cream sauce as I used them on a different recipe coming up.
But take my word for it! Whether it’s for Lent, Taco Tuesday or because you need it, you are going to LOVE these fish tacos!
- 2 pounds white fish cut into 4 ounce portions
- 2 Tbl lime juice
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 3 Tbl olive oil
- 8-12 8” round tortillas, warmed
- 1 1/2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
- 1 1/2 cups finely shredded red cabbage
- 1 Tbl lime juice
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 medium shallot, minced (about 1 heaping Tbl)
- 2 tsp minced jalapeños
- 3 tsp chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 3 Tbl lime juice
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves, minced
- 2 tsp sriracha sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1 1/2 tsp adobo sauce
- 1 tsp honey *optional
- Sliced avocado
- Chopped cilantro
- Make the slaw by mixing all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Marinate for at least 30 minutes but no more than 8 hours.
- Taste and adjust seasoning (more salt if necessary).
- While the slaw is marinating make the Baja cream sauce by whisking all of the ingredients together in a bowl until well blended.
- Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. I actually put mine in a squeeze bottle (with a slightly larger opening).
- When you’re ready to eat, get your fish out.
- Heat oil in large skillet over med-high heat.
- Pat the fish dry and sprinkle both sides of fish with cumin, salt and pepper
- Place fish in hot oil (don't crowd the pan do 2 batches if necessary) and cook for a couple of minutes. The edges will begin to turn white and the fish will move easily when it's time to flip. *note the cooking time will vary based on how thick your fish is.
- Cook on the other side about 3 minutes.
- When the fish begins to flake easily remove them from the pan and place on a plate.
- To assemble place a warm tortilla on a plate.
- Place a few small slices of avocado on top.
- Next put a few heaping Tbls of the fish taco slaw.
- On top of that gently place 4 ounces of fish.
- To finish it off squirt on some of the Baja cream sauce and a few pinches of chopped cilantro.