A lightly fried fish tacos recipe that features spiced walleye and topped with a tangy cilantro lime coleslaw. Fresh and easy to prepare!
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Tacos come in many shapes and forms – the combinations of meats, vegetables, and toppings are endless. If you’re a taco aficionado like me, you probably love em’ all. But, I ask, have you added fish tacos to the mix? When I think of fish tacos, I usually think Southern California or somewhere with a coastline. But, living in a landlocked state like Minnesota is not going to keep me from enjoying this stuff. Sometimes we just need to get inventive in life and create our own versions of things. Hence, these Fish Tacos with Spicy Cilantro Lime Slaw were born.
In Minnesota, we don’t have things like freshly caught halibut or mahi mahi BUT we do have things like freshly caught walleye. And luckily, I have a talented fisherman brother who loves to catch it. More importantly, he loves to share his catch with friends and family. If you ever have a chance to try fresh Minnesota walleye, I highly recommend it. It’s a nice, clean tasting fish that’s firm and easy to work with. If you don’t live in Minnesota and have a talented fisherman brother, fear not. This recipe will work great with any firm white fish – cod, halibut, mahi mahi, tilapia, flounder – so many options. So, the first step is to grab some fish and lay it out on a towel or paper towel and pat it dry. Next, you’ll want to lightly coat it in a flour and spice mixture. Combine 1/2 cup AP flour, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper and mix together with a fork. Now you can dredge the fish in the flour mixture. Make sure you get a nice, even coating across the surface of the fish.
Now it’s time to fry the fish. I find that a cast iron skillet works great for this sort of thing, but any sturdy frying pan will do. Heat the skillet to slightly hotter than medium and add 1 1/2 Tbsp. of an oil with a high smoke point – vegetable, safflower, peanut, canola – these oils can get nice and hot, but won’t burn and make your food taste funky. The oil should be thoroughly heated before adding the fish. If the oil is not hot enough, the fish will absorb too much of it and become greasy. The fish should sizzle slightly as you place it in the pan. I find that cooking fish in batches works best. I used a pound of fish in this recipe and it required two batches of frying. More fish will require more batches.
Fry the fish for 2-3 minutes per side. Flip it over when you get a nice sear on one side. The trick with fish or any seafood is not to overcook it. However, make sure the fish is fully cooked through. No one wants to deal with under-cooked seafood. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper to each side of the fish after it has been flipped. The salt will bring forth the cumin and chili powder in the coating. Remove fish and place on paper towels. Repeat the whole process, adding 1 1/2 Tbsp. of oil for each batch.
We need something to compliment that delicate fish, right? Here enters the spicy cilantro lime coleslaw. This stuff is a kicked up version of what we’re all used to finding at potlucks and places like that. A food processor or blender works best to create the dressing for this coleslaw. Combine 1 cup of sour cream, 2 Tbsp. mayo, 2 cloves garlic, 3/4 cup fresh cilantro, 3 Serrano or jalapeno peppers (remove seeds for less heat), 1/2 tsp. honey or agave syrup, the juice of 1 large lime, and 1/4 tsp. salt (adjust to taste). Pulse until all of the ingredients are completely combined. Pour the dressing over 1 bag of shredded cabbage and toss to combine. You may have a little extra dressing leftover – you can add all of it if you like a super creamy coleslaw.
Heat up some corn or flour tortillas and pile it on. Add some fish, a generous helping of slaw, your favorite toppings and call it good. My favorite toppings include radishes, avocado, cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and some hot sauce. Feel free to experiment and make it your own. Who knows, maybe these walleye fish tacos will have everyone Minnesota dreaming?
Pottery by Bill Gossman. http://www.gossmanpottery.com/
- 1 lb firm white fish - such as walleye cod, halibut, mahi mahi, tilapia, flounder
- 1/2 cup AP flour
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 3 Tbsp high heat cooking oil - such as vegetable safflower, peanut, canola
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 Tbsp mayo
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 2-3 Serrano or jalapeno peppers Remove seeds for less heat
- Juice of 1 large lime
- 1/4 tsp salt adjust to taste
- 1 Bag shredded cabbage or 4 cups fresh cabbage
- Place fish on paper towels and pat dry.
- Combine flour, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper in small bowl and mix together.
- Lightly coat each piece of fish in flour mixture.
- Heat skillet to slightly more than medium heat and add oil.
- Make sure oil is completely heated before adding fish. Fish should sizzle as you add it to the pan.
- Cook fish in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Cook fish for 2-3 minutes on each side or until it is evenly seared on both sides. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper after flipping fish.
- Place fish on paper towels after cooking.
- Add more oil and heat completely before cooking each batch of fish.
- Add sour cream, mayo, garlic, cilantro, honey or agave, peppers, lime juice, and salt in a food processor and pulse until completely combined.
- Add the dressing to a bag of shredded cabbage and toss evenly to coat.
- Warm corn or flour tortillas and top with fish, generous portion of coleslaw, and favorite toppings.
Remove the seeds and ribs from Serrano or jalapeno peppers for less heat. Keep them in for more spice.
Double the amount of fish for more servings.