Fish Taco's are kind of a cult favorite these days on the West Coast, but I remember the first time I ever heard of one... I thought yuck. Fish on a taco? Boy, was I wrong! They are absolutely one of my favorite things to order when dining out, but so very easy and inexpensive to make at home too. Don't be put off by the extent of the instructions, it's very easy to make!
The most surprising part about fish tacos is the shredded cabbage on top. Most restaurants just use plain, dry shredded cabbage, but I have jazzed up my version by making a spicy coleslaw to use instead. This happens to be one of my favorite salads too, and really stands on it's own as a 'go to' recipe for so many occasions. I hesitate to even call it coleslaw, because that conjures up a vision of some sweet and creamy side salad... and personally I detest sweet and creamy coleslaw. This recipe makes enough for the tacos, plus enough to serve on the side too.
These fish taco's are pretty healthy too, mostly because the fish is steamed/microwaved and not fried. If you're watching your calories, use yogurt for the sauce and use less cheese, or 2% cheese.
Spicy Coleslaw, serves 4-6
1 16oz. bag of shredded cabbage, or one small cabbage, shredded
1/2 bunch of green onions, sliced
1/2 red onion, cut into thin slivers
1/2 red pepper, cut into thin slivers
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 limes, juiced
1 Tbsp cumin
Salt and Pepper
Sauce for tacos:
1/2 cup sour cream, or yogurt
1/2 cup green salsa
Tilapia, or other fish (use one loin for each person, about 2-3 tacos)
Sliced tomatoes, optional
Corn Tortillas (one per taco, usually 2-3 per person)
In a large bowl, add the shredded cabbage. Sliver up the red onion, red bell pepper, slice the green onions and chop the cilantro and mince up the jalapeno.
I always remove the seeds from my jalapeno's because that is where all the heat is. Sometimes I wear latex gloves to protect myself from getting the juice and oils on my hands, and then my face, but I have also started cutting the jalapeno as shown in the picture below, that way it minimizes how much of the jalapeno you're touching and the seeds don't fly all over the place.
Add the olive oil and toss, then squeeze the lime(s) over the top and toss with the cumin. Add the salt and pepper to taste, but I have noticed that this salad takes more salt than you might think, about 1 1/2 tsp at least. I suggest adding one lime and the salt and pepper, and then tasting to decide if you need the other lime. I usually use two limes, but I really like the intense tangy, spicy and salty flavor.
In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and the green salsa. Add salt, if desired. Reserve until ready to assemble the tacos. You could opt to use these condiments separately at the table instead of combining
There are many ways to cook the Tilapia... you could fry it, bake it, or microwave it. I was short of time tonight, so I elected to microwave them.
I took my fish out of the freezer about 2 hours before dinner, and even though it thaws pretty fast, it was still slightly frozen, so I adjusted my cooking time accordingly.
On a plate, I added 2 tilapia loins, a couple Tbsp of water, added salt and pepper and covered them with plastic wrap. I microwaved for 2-3 minutes on MEDIUM setting. You might find you need to microwave it for another 3-4 minutes. It does help to cut the loins in half lengthwise to cook faster.Remember, it will also continue to cook once you remove them! You'll have to check yours, since it varies by size of the fish, the power of your microwave and the temperature of the fish when you add it to be cooked.
I also take a stack of corn tortilla's and put them on a plate and microwave them for 1-2 minutes to steam heat them and soften them up. If you have a large stack of tortillas you might want to divide your stack and swap the bottom half to the top and vice versa half way through cooking. Careful, it is HOT!
Here's how you assemble:
- Grated cheese, if desired
- Hot fish
- Sliced tomatoes, if desired
- Spicy coleslaw
- Creamy green sauce