Authentic Mexican Fish Tacos with Smoky Chipotle Sauce
Does everyone love fish tacos, or what? They’re a pretty popular meal among my followers and friends, but most of the time the fish is either fried (Baja-style), or totally dry (in the ‘I really want the fried ones but I’m going to try and be healthy’ style).
Not to worry, my friends, because this is your new fish taco recipe, and it’s neither fried nor dry.
A while back I asked my manager, who’s from Mexico, what her favorite meal from back home is. When she told me it’s fish tacos, I drilled her for the recipe. Hey – I’m all about authentic ethnic recipes, and I’m crazy for Mexican food, so I was like, ‘bring it on!’
She told me a method of making fish tacos that I’d never even heard of or thought of before. It involves marinating the fish for as long as you can in a beautiful mixture of seasonings and fresh ingredients, then cooking everything – fish and marinade – on the stovetop. No frying, and no dry-as-a-desert baking. I’m in!
She also recounted to me the method of serving these tacos – with small dishes of numerous toppings that people can choose from. Radishes, purple cabbage, carrots, cilantro, avocado, different salsas – she was adamant that it’s all about the color. As you can see from my photos, I took full advantage of this.
If you find radishes a bit strong, she told me to soak them for a while in salted water to take away the bite. Good tip!
I use corn tortillas for my tacos, because I find the taste and texture to be a lot better than flour ones. Use whatever you like though, they’ll be yummy no matter what. You’ll get about 2 tacos per person.
I have to confess that I actually lost the first taco recipe my manager dictated to me and tried to recreate it from memory. The tacos were amazing, but I missed a few ingredients. I then got the recipe again from her and remade them, with equally delicious results, but I was going to call this recipe “$100 tacos”. That’s because it was looking like I was going to spend that much on it before I finally had it down and ready to go!
I used cod and snapper for the fish, and both of them performed well. Use any firm white fish you want. You’ll notice in the photos that the fish looks a bit mangled, when normally it would come out of the pan in the same form you put it into the pan – large chunks. Mine looks messed up because my husband The Critic went into the fish and, well, mangled it! I wasn’t around and he wanted something to eat, of course making a beeline for the one thing in the kitchen he shouldn’t touch. Why do they always do that, AHHH! I sure as hell wasn’t going to make this recipe a third time, so I’m crossing my fingers that you’ll forgive the mangled fish and make these anyhow.
The easiest way to marinate stuff is in a Ziploc bag. I cut the fish into large chunks, then put them and the other marinade ingredients into the bag. Toss it around a bit and leave it in the fridge for anywhere between an hour and all day.
- 2 lb firm white fish cut into large pieces or chunks
- Juice of 1.5 limes
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 cloves large or 2 small garlic crushed or diced finely
- 1 pieces yellow onion chopped roughly into medium
- 2 T + 1T olive oil
- 2 t ground cumin
- Large pinch of salt
- Cayenne pepper to taste
- Fresh jalapeño to taste
- 8 corn tortillas
- Lime juice from ½ lime ** - I use this over the fish when it’s finished cooking
- Smoky Chipotle Sauce (can be doubled because trust me, you’ll want more):
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ t chipotle chili powder
- 1 t lemon juice
- 1/2 clove garlic crushed
- Shredded purple cabbage
- Shredded carrots
- Sliced avocado
- Hot sauces and salsas
First, marinate the fish.
Place the fish and all of the marinade ingredients into a Ziploc bag and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to all day.
Make the chipotle sauce while you marinate the fish – it’s best when it sits and the flavors have a chance to develop.
Cook the fish:
Heat 1T oil on high heat in a large pan on the stovetop.
Empty the marinade bag – marinade and fish – into the hot pan, and cook the fish, uncovered, turning once. Fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork. Don’t overdo it unless you like rubbery fish, and remember: fish continues to cook once it’s removed from the heat.
While the fish is cooking, briefly heat the tortillas, wrapped in a clean cloth, in a warm (not hooven. You can also warm tortillas on a flying pan on the stove, but the oven method is a bit more convenient when you’re panicking to get dinner on the table (story of my life).
Once fish is cooked, squirt the entire pan with the remaining juice from ½ lime.
Assemble the tacos using the warm tortillas, fish, and all of the condiments.