Fish Tacos: Thank you, Baja!

We lived in California years ago, but my first introduction to fish tacos was at Rubio’s in Denver of all places.  I was hooked right away, the textures and flavors are addictive with crisp slaw, tender fish, a squeeze of lime, all cradled in your hand for quick delivery. Where the fish taco originated still raises debate according to this story in Sunset.  As far as I’m concerned, Ralph Rubio got it right when he opened his restaurant near Mission Bay 28 years ago.

This inspired recipe includes subtle twists on the tacos that won my heart—better oil for frying and adding a few more fresh items to fill the warm tortillas alongside the fish—there is even a grilling option if you prefer to avoid the stove when it is hot outside. Rubio’s soft corn tortillas are unique to the restaurant, but The Tortilla Factory Corn Tortillas are pretty close.  The white sauce is mild and cools the spice of the salsa, but if you are looking for more heat, Habanero-Cilantro Taco Sauce is another option.  Here’s to Baja!

Fish Tacos

Serves 4
3      med white fish fillets (Mahi Mahi, Halibut, Cod) — cut into 1″ x 4″ strips
1       whole  lime — cut into wedges
1/2     head  cabbage — thinly shredded
1       small  carrot — peeled and grated
1/2     cup  cilantro — coarsely chopped
1/2     whole  avocado — peeled and sliced
1        cup  salsa (recipe below)
8       small  corn tortillas
salt & pepper
coconut oil

For the Sauce:
1/4     cup  mayonnaise
1/4     cup  plain yogurt

For the Beer Batter:
3/4     cup  beer
3/4     cup  flour
1/2      teaspoon  salt
1/2      teaspoon  garlic powder

Squeeze half of the lime over the fish, sprinkle with salt and pepper; allow fish to marinate while prepping the other ingredients.  Mix cabbage, carrot, and one tablespoon of the chopped cilantro together.  Once the vegetables and sauces are prepped, mix beer batter in a bowl wide enough to dip the fish.

Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a skillet by about an 1/8″.  Dry fish with paper towels and dip into beer batter, shaking off any excess so there is a thin coating. Place fish in hot oil and cook on each side about 2-3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Fill warm tortillas with fish, cabbage slaw, salsa, and garnish with avocado, cilantro, and sauce. Finish with a squeeze of lime on each taco just before serving.

To grill the fish instead of frying, leave the fish whole until after it is grilled. Omit the beer batter and add the garlic powder to the fish while marinating. Grill over medium heat on a gas grill for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Salsa

Serves 8
1/3     yellow onions — chopped fine
1/4     Serrano pepper — chopped fine
1/4     green pepper — chopped fine
1/2     yellow chili pepper, mild — chopped fine
1         clove  garlic — chopped fine
5         Roma tomatoes — coarsely chopped
1/2     bunch cilantro leaves — coarsely chopped
2         teaspoons  lime juice
1/2     teaspoon  salt — to taste

Put garlic, peppers, and onion in food processor and pulse to chop fine. Cut stems off of cilantro just below leaves.  Add tomatoes and cilantro to processor and pulse to chop slowly so that tomatoes do not become too small.  Remove from processor and squeeze fresh lime over mixture, stir well.  Add salt and stir well. Serve with tortilla or pita chips.

NOTES: For hotter flavor use whole Serrano pepper.

Posted on the following Blog Hops:
The Nourishing Gourmet Pennywise Platter Thursday
The Healthy Home Economist Monday Mania
Hearth & Soul Blog Hop
SS & GF Slightly Indulgent Tuesday
Mom Trends Food Friday
Real Food Whole Health Fresh Bites Friday

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7 responses to “Fish Tacos: Thank you, Baja!

  1. Your fish tacos sound wonderful with so many nice ingredients. I think my husband would love these. Thank you for the recipe.

  2. You’d make Ralph proud. We lived in San Diego for five years, while we found place that did them better or cooler, you could always count on Rubio’s for a great fish taco. I love your recipe.

  3. I worked right up the hill from Rubio’s first location. Once I tried their fish tacos I was hooked. In one week I ate there 5 times. Hard to believe it’s been 28 years!

  4. I love fish tacos! When I went to LA 2 years ago this is one on my to eat list.

  5. Ohhh…so glad I’m blog hopping today! This looks fabulous! Thank you for posting 🙂 http://littleislandstudios.blogspot.com/2011/05/coconut-chocolate-cookies.html

  6. Oh these look divine! I have to be honest and say I do not cook much fish because my mother didn’t do much in the way of seafood when I was a kid. My husband loves to get fish tacos when we are out, but your recipe looks so good and simple I am sure I could make it and then my kids would get to try them. They love Mexican flavors! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe with us on the hearth and soul hop! All the best, Alex

  7. I would love to give these a try!

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