It may only be Tuesday, but it’s been a challenging week already (I’ll spare you the details). So I cannot think of a better way to end the day and hope for a better second half of the week than with Fish Tacos. Every time I make these, I’m reminded of how incredibly easy they are, which then leads me to question why I don’t make them more often! Especially since I love Mexican food and tacos of all varieties! You can substitute any protein you’d like – chicken, pork, chorizo, beef, anything will work – I just really like the ease and simplicity of fish.
For the slaw
1 small cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
1 small carrot, grated
2 to 3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 to 1 whole jalapeño chile, seeded and minced, optional
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
For the fish
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika or chipotle powder
1 to 1 1/2 pounds snapper, sole, tilapia, rockfish, or catfish
2 tablespoons vegetable oil suitable for high-heat cooking (like safflower or grapeseed)
12 corn tortillas
Salsa Roja and Salsa Verde
To prepare the slaw, place the shredded cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Massage and squeeze the cabbage with your hands to help it release its liquid and begin wilting. Transfer the cabbage to a strainer set over a bowl and set aside to drain for about 15 minutes.
Squeeze the cabbage of its excess liquid, one handful at a time, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the grated carrot, green onions, and jalapeño (if using). Toss to combine. Whisk together the minced garlic, lime juice, and mayonnaise. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the cabbage mix and toss to combine.
To prepare the fish, combine the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika in a shallow container. Pat the fish dry, then dredge it in the flour mixture.
Heat the oil in a heavy (preferably cast iron) pan over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmery and flows to coat the entire bottom of the pan. Add the fish to the pan — if cooking multiple fillets, arrange them in a single layer with a little space between. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, carefully flipping once with a spatula, until both sides are golden-brown and the fish is opaque and flakes apart easily in the thickest part. Transfer the fish to a clean plate and flake into large chunks.
Meanwhile, heat the corn tortillas, one by one, in a heavy, dry pan, until soft and warm. Wrap them in a clean cloth as you go. (Alternatively, wrap them in a clean dish towel and warm them in the microwave for a few seconds.)
Serve the fish on a platter with the tortillas, slaw, cilantro, avocado, lime, salsas and queso fresco on the side, letting each diner assemble his or her own tacos.