We recently received a request from a landlocked friend somewhere in the mysterious Midwest, desperate for a good fish taco recipe. While we have certainly eaten fish tacos and made fish tacos (next time we’re on the subject, we’ll tell you more about the super-pink tuna and wasabi mayo version we crafted once), where we lived in Mexico (despite the close-enough-to-feel-the-salt-spray Gulf of Mexico and myriad cement fishing boats bobbing in the waves) didn’t specialize in the Baja-style fish tacos that we, and I think everyone, like best. They eat a lot of octopus in Yucatan. Our “Atlantic” Baja-style fish tacos use haddock, but you can substitute any flaky, semi-firm white fish (like cod or tilapia) that you have near you.
This is not a light lunch. There is a reason you typically eat these delicious calorie bombs after a day of swimming and getting pounded by surf. And as lovely as it is here right now, a part of me longs for an ice-cold Pacifico, the siren call of “COCO!”, and all the loud, pungent, colorful mess of Mexico. These fish tacos transport me there, if only for a moment; it is a welcome vacation of the mind.
Atlantic Baja-Style Fish Tacos
Makes 6 to 8 tacos
- 1 cup dark beer
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 lbs. haddock fillet, cut into 1-in. wide strips
- Peanut oil (for frying)
- 1 small red cabbage, sliced thin
- 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
- Juice from two limes
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons canned chipotle chiles, rinsed and seeded
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup pickle relish
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- Lime wedges
- Whisk beer, flour, and salt in a medium bowl until well blended. In a deep fryer or deep frying pan, heat oil to 360 degrees. Dip each piece of fish in batter and drain excess. Slide fish slowly into oil, a few pieces at a time, and cook until golden brown, turning if needed, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer cooked fish to drain on paper towels.
- In a separate bowl, toss cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, vegetable oil, and jalapeno until evenly coated and set aside.
- In a blender or food processor, combine chipotle chilies, mayonnaise, pickle relish, and onion and blend until smooth.
- To assemble each taco, stack two warm tortillas, and top with a piece or two of fish. Top with a spoonful of slaw, and serve with chipotle tartar sauce on the side, with plenty of lime wedges to squeeze over the top.