Fish Tacos are Fabulous!
Fish Tacos are Fabulous
Fish Tacos are Fabulous!
Fish Tacos are Fabulous

Fish Tacos are Fabulous

Cook delicious fish tacos at home using this easy recipe OR enjoy them at one of our area’s wonderful eateries.

I love tacos! My tastes have evolved over the years, but I still love those tacos I grew up on with the fixins that came out of a box, resulting in layers of beef, lettuce, tomato, cheese in a crunchy corn tortilla. I also love Baja-style tacos — deep fried fish and shredded cabbage topped with a creamy/spicy sauce. And let’s not forget delicious, authentic tacos made with flavorful pork, fresh cilantro and crispy onions in homemade tortillas, all served by well-seasoned chefs, sometimes from a roadside food truck. . .

When it comes to loving tacos, I know I’m not alone. Even one of my favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan, once Tweeted “There should be more awards for eating tacos” and I couldn’t agree more. To me, eating tacos is like getting a surprise in every bite – crunchy, creamy, spicy and savory — all in a hand held package.

Today I’m highlighting FISH tacos because we on the Gulf coast have access to awesome fish and we should find as many ways as possible to enjoy it! Snapper (Red Snapper is an especially delicious fish and it’s in season right now), Grouper, Amberjack and Cobia are great baked, fried, sautéed or grilled, and they just happen to make great tacos, too. 

If you’re not inclined to go out and catch your own, you can find beautiful fillets at places like Big Water Fish Market, Maggie’s Seafood (Sarasota Farmers Market), Lotsa Lobster, Walt’s Fish Market & Restaurant, Morton’s Gourmet Market & Catering, and Island Court Seafood (Englewood).

However you procure it, at home, the fish can be pan-fried, baked, blackened, poached or fried for tacos. What you choose to top that fish with is up to you, but it’s always a good idea to add something crunchy (lettuce or thinly shredded cabbage), some cheese (you can’t go wrong with cheddar, but maybe consider Queso Fresco or feta), and a sauce of some sort (green/red salsa or my personal favorite - a creamy/spicy sour cream based sauce). As for the delivery system (a.k.a. the tortilla), you can use soft flour or corn, or even those infamous crunchy, pre-formed tortillas we all remember from our childhoods.

If you’re not up for making fish tacos at home, there are plenty of restaurants that will be happy to make them for you, including Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Tacos To Go, Made Restaurant, Taco Jalisco, Farlow’s on the Water (Englewood), Wicked Cantina, Dry Dock Waterfront Grill, Dockside Waterfront Grill, Daiquiri Deck Rawbar, Marina Jack, Paradise Grill (Nokomis), Crab and Fin (St. Armand’s) Captain Brian’s Seafood Market & RestaurantPhillippi Creek Oyster Bar, Duval’s, Siesta Key Oyster Bar, Captain Curt’s, and Zeke’s Uptown Grill (Englewood).

Here’s a classic recipe that I’m sure will please your taco-loving crowd: 

FISH TACOS (recipe courtesy of Nicole Coudal)

Serves 3-4

1 lb. fresh fish (Amberjack, Snapper, Grouper, Cod or other sturdy, white fish), cut into 2-3” pieces

1 Tb. blackening seasoning

1 Tb. butter

1 Tb. olive oil

Toppings

1 tomato, seeded and chopped

1/2 red onion, sliced thinly

1/4 small green cabbage, finely shredded & mixed with a little lime juice

Queso Fresco crumbles or other cheese, shredded

1 lime, cut into wedges

1 avocado, seeded & chopped

1 small jalapeno, sliced (leave seeds in for some heat) - optional

Handful fresh cilantro leaves

6 flour or corn tortillas

Creamy/Spicy Sauce

1/2 c. mayonnaise

1/2 c. sour cream

1/4 c. whole milk

1 Tb. Sriracha sauce (or more to taste)

1 garlic clove, minced

Juice of 1/2 lime

INSTRUCTIONS:

1) Prepare toppings then place each into small bowls; set aside.

2) Whisk Creamy Sauce ingredients in a bowl; refrigerate until ready to use.

3) Pat dry fish, then sprinkle with blackening spice. 

4) If using a stove, heat nonstick pan to high. When hot, add butter and olive oil. Add fish in one layer then reduce heat to medium. After about 1 minute, turn each piece then cook another 2 minutes. While fish cooks, brown tortillas in a pan over medium heat OR place them directly on a burner if you have a gas stove; flip when edges are charred.

5) If using a grill, place a cast iron pan on the grill and heat to medium/high. When hot, add butter and olive oil. Add the fish in one layer. After about 1 minute, turn each piece then cook another 2 minutes. While fish cooks, place tortillas directly on the grill over medium heat until they puff up, then flip to brown edges and remove from heat.

6) Fill tortilla with fish, cabbage, tomato, onion, jalapeno, sauce, lime and cheese.

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Nicole Coudal is a home chef and food writer based in southwest Florida, where she fishes and cooks using local ingredients. When not on the water, she visits farms, farmer’s markets, and other food-related venues to highlight what’s in-season and to create tasty recipes. Nicole is a regular contributor to Edible Sarasota, as well as, a frequent guest on ABC 7’s Suncoast View. Read more at www.MyDeliciousBlog.com.

Related Topics: 

Apr 18, 2017
Photo credit: Nicole Coudal
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