Baja Style Fish Tacos

As promised, here is my post on what I did with the haul catch from last Thursday’s “GofishLA” event.

I think I mentioned that my son Matt is rather obsessed with fishing – which is a good thing. He  catches them and I cook them – a win-win.  But there is downside to all this – sometimes I get A LOT of fish.  Biggest haul catch to date?

90 lbs.

Yes, you read that right. 90 lbs. of fish – mostly Dorado (i.e. mahi mahi), Marlin and some rockfish thrown in for variety sake.

So, needless to say, I have cooked my fair share of fish – grilled it, roasted it, sauteed it, and deep fried it – you name it and I’ve probably cooked it.

Which brings me to this last haul and the burning question I am sure you have been waiting with baited breath for- (ok, that was a little corny but I couldn’t resist!)

what did I do with it?

Well, I did what anyone  would do  with fresh Pacific Coast fish – I made Baja style fish tacos – my way.

Having grown up in Southern California I’ve  spent a fair share of time in Baja and have sampled a good number of fish tacos – some amazing and some… not. So, after all those tacos I have come up with what I think is the perfect Baja fish taco.

I know this is going to cause some controversy -whether to grill or fry the fish is a hotly debated topic – and although I love grilled fish, I really love battered and fried fish in fish tacos.

There. I said it. Phew.

Ok, so what makes these tacos “mine”? Looking at them they look pretty much like any other fish taco, right?

But they aren’t – because as they say the “devil is in the details”.  The “devil”  here is the judicious use of “salsa en polvo” – which is basically ground chile, salt and lime (in this case dehydrated lime juice). The brand I use is called Tajin and can be found in just about any hispanic grocery store and on the west coast, in many larger grocery stores. But here is the kicker – you can generally find it in produce section since it’s a common condiment for fresh fruit.

If you can’t find it, don’t worry. Just substitute a good chile powder and make sure to drizzle the finished taco with a little lime juice. But if you really would like to have this seasoning (which I recommend!) , they sell it on Amazon!!

So, without further ado, lets get down to it… because the sooner we do, the sooner you can make these!!!!

Baja Style Fish Tacos- I call for using a Mexican crema in these which is available in Hispanic markets and in large supermarkets here on the west coast. If you can’t find the crema you can substitute sour cream. If substituting, I would reduce the amount of lime juice since the sour cream is already tangy!!!

(Serves 4)

1 lb. firm white fish (snapper, rockfish, sculpin and cod are are great choices) Rinsed and cut into 2 x 3 inch pieces

2 cups flour – divided

1 – 12 oz. bottle beer (I like Sol for this but if you can’t find it Corona works great)

1 tsp. salt

1 1/2 Tbsp.. Tajin seasoning – divided

4 cups canola oil

2 cups thinly sliced cabbage

1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

1 1/2 cups Pico de Gallo

1/2 cup Crema Mexicana

3 limes

16 small corn tortillas (warmed or not – your choice!)

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, place the sliced cabbage. Squeeze 1 lime over the cabbage and toss.  Mix in the cilantro and season with salt and set aside.
  2. Pour the oil into a large soup pot or dutch oven. Attach a candy thermometer and heat over medium high heat until the oil reaches 375 degrees.
  3. While the oil is heating, combine the crema with the juice of 1 lime and 2 tsp. of the Tajin. Stir. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
  4. In a medium sized bowl combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp. (or more!!) of the Tanjin and 1 tsp. salt. Add the beer and stir until you have a thick batter. Set aside
  5. .Rinse the fish and dry well with paper towels. Dredge fish lightly in the remaining 1/2 cup flour. The fish should have just a light dusting of flour on it. Dip the fish into the batter, letting the excess drip off.
  6. When the oil reaches 375 degrees carefully place 2 or 3 pieces of fish into the oil. You don’t want to crowd the pan since this will lower the oil temperature and batter will not brown as well.
  7. Cook until the fish is nicely browned about 5 minutes per piece.
  8. Remove from the oil and set on a paper towel lined tray to drain while you cook the remaining fish. (Note: if you can, keep the tray close to the stove – it will help to keep the fish warm.) After removing a batch of fish, let the oil come back up to 375 degrees before cooking the next batch – this is key to nicely browned non greasy fish!
  9. To assemble the tacos – place two tortillas (one on top of the other) on a plate. Place a small amount of the cabbage on the tortilla and then spoon about a tablespoon of Pico de Gallo on top of the cabbage. Top with a piece of fish. Drizzle with a little of the crema and dust with additional Tajin if desired. Garnish plates with a lime wedge and serve!

 

Baja Style Dinner

Honeydew Mint  Agua Fresca

Margarita Granita with Spicy Shrimp

Baja Style Fish Tacos – My Way

Mexican Chocolate Pots de Creme

 

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    I think you’re exactly right- fish tacos do taste better when fried. I’ve done some grilled a few times with a chipotle lime crema which helps make up for the lack of batter, but I’d take yours any day. Nb, have just discovered your blog and have had the loveliest time trawling through the archives with a cup of tea- thank you!

    • says

      He he.. and that was AFTER giving away enough fish to feed the deckhands for the season!!! The marlin was over 140 pounds so he only brought back about 10 or so – the rest to the deckhands. Good thing I’d cleared out my freezer before he left!

  2. says

    Wow, you really have it so finely tuned as to differentiate between Sol and Corona which are very similar! : ) I suppose if you use Bohemia or Dos Equis, it would be all over. ; )

    • says

      Yeah, my dad and I were “experts” back in the day! Nah, I love both of those beers too but for the batter I like a lighter style … but to drink with the fish – oh yeah!!!

  3. says

    I have never had a fish taco before me moved to California three years ago, but now I cannot imagine not eating them at least once a month. I prefer fried fish, but do not mind baked or broiled, especially if someone else is making them:)
    When we lived in Ohio, our neighbors were hunters and fishermen, and we were always invited for perch dinners (nothing beats the taste of just caught fish, and knowing the person who caught it, gives the meal another wonderful dimension).
    I have to look for Tajin when I come back.
    I love your photo – very rustic and simple, quite appropriate props and settings for the recipe:)

    • says

      Hi Lana!!
      You are right, nothing beats the taste of fresh fish and when you know the person who caught the fish, it is just that much better! I love perch as well – not as easy to get here but when I can get my hands on it, I love it! Glad you liked the photo – it was a fun one to do!!

  4. says

    90 pounds! Oh to be so fortunate! However, as you state he’s off to college and you probably won’t have the opportunity to share that kind of bounty at least until next summer again. What a great day you had fishing prior to the send off.

    Your recipe looks delicious. I’ve always made fish tacos without the breading, just cooked fish, but these are definitely on my list to try. Couple them with Dorothy’s Kiwi Lime dessert she had up recently and wow, you’ve got a great fiesta.

    I’ve spent many a day sending off grown kids off to college, and it’s not easy. However, we’d not have it any other way. Know that I’ve got a virtual hug for you when you need one. And, remember Dallas is just a plane ride away along with some great shopping! ;o) HUGS!!

    • says

      Hi Robyn,

      Yes, that fish provided many meals – and it was all delicious!! Sending him off is not easy – so I will definitely be collecting on that virtual hug!! Fortunately it is a quick trip and I already have my next one booked – I just keep telling myself he’s just going on a long vacation!!

  5. says

    Fish tacos are one of my favorite things–grilled or fried! I’ve never used Tajin, but now I have to look for it. The freshly caught fish sounds fantastic, and now I’ll be craving fish tacos all day.

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