Blackened Flaky Baja Fish Tacos with Cilantro Red Cabbage Slaw, Creamy Chipotle Sauce and Salsa Verde

Blackened Flaky Baja Fish Tacos with Cilantro Red Cabbage Slaw, Creamy Chipotle Sauce and Salsa Verde

First of all. You can make some components of this dish and omit others. The reason I say this is that besides being out of this world delicious, these tacos take just minutes to make. So if you are not in the mood to make salsa verde, for example (although it goes so well with it!!!) don’t make it – for a quick delicious weeknight meal.

Also, fish tacos should never ever turn out bland. My recipe is a blueprint to build upon. I start with rather mild to medium spiciness level in an attempt to appeal to most, but no one is stopping you from cranking up the heat!

I’m adding a bunch of delicious things as garnishes to these tacos: jalapenos, lime wedges, red onions, extra cilantro… Feel free to add other things such as cotija cheese or fresh guacamole! In other words, you can switch it up each time you make these.

Look at the perfectly cooked flaky fish, which is blackened for extra flavour and textural contrast

The red cabbage slaw is delicious. But, you don’t have to make it if you don’t want to or don’t have the time! You can simply shred the cabbage and serve. Easy!

Did I say these were out of this world delicious??!

Ok, let’s make them!

This recipe may have a lot of steps, but in reality all you need is 20 minutes to marinate your fish. While the fish is marinating, you can make the slaw and creamy chipotle sauce. Sear the fish (less than 10 minutes) and assemble! This dish is as close to a weeknight perfection as it gets. Out of this world tasty and quick!

Yields8 Servings

For the fish:
 1 ½ lbs flaky white fish (such as cod or mahi mahi)
 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for searing the fish
 kosher salt to taste (at least 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt)
 1 tsp paprika
 ½ tsp garlic powder
For the blackening seasoning:
 1 tsp chili powder
 1 tsp paprika
 1 tsp garlic powder
 1 tsp oregano
 ½ tsp onion powder
 pinch of cayenne, optional
 pinch of kosher salt
 freshly ground black pepper
 ¼ tsp smoked paprika, optional
For creamy chipotle sauce:
 1 cup of mayo, sour cream or combination of both
 2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo (see step 6 for other options)
 juice of 1 lime
 kosher salt, to taste
 honey, optional - to balance off the heat if needed
Cabbage Slaw:
 1 head red cabbage, sliced thinly
 ½ tsp kosher salt (half as much if using fine table salt)
 1 tbsp lime juice, or more to taste
 ¼ cup cilantro leaves
 Optional: Anything else you wish to add to enhance the flavour, such as a bit of honey, hot sauce, sugar, etc.
To assemple the taco:
 16 corn tortillas (warm if possible)
 2 avocados, sliced
 lots of lime wedges for serving
 ½ red onion, sliced thinly
 ¼ cup cilantro leaves, plus more to taste
 sliced jalapenos
 guacamole, optional
 salsa verde, to serve together with tacos (optional, but works really well with this dish), scroll down for the recipe
 cotija cheese, optional

1

If you are making salsa verde, make it first (scroll down to the recipe.) Refrigerate until needed.

2

Slice the fish horizontally into 3/4" thick sticks.

3

Place the fish in a bowl or re-sealable plastic container, and add oil and spices; rub them in to evenly distribute over the fish. Marinate for 10-20 minutes, but not more.

4

Next make the slaw. Place cabbage into a colander or strainer, sprinkle with salt and gently toss it. Let the cabbage drain in the colander for at least 15 minutes.

While it's draining, work on the next step of the taco preparation.

After it drained, don't squeeze the cabbage as it will impact its texture, but try to gently toss the cabbage with a fork, encouraging some of the juice to drip down, to avoid your taco from being soggy. Transfer to a bowl, add cilantro and lime juice. Set aside until ready to assemble the taco.

5

Next, slice your red onions and submerge them with cold water. This will take their pungency away while retaining the crunch.

Right before serving, simply drain them and dry them on paper towels.

6

While the fish is marinating, make the creamy chipotle sauce. Process mayo or sour cream and chipotles in adobo in a food processor or a blender until smooth. Stir in other ingredients (lime juice, salt, honey, if using) tasting as you add them, to get the sauce to taste in accordance to your preference.

Chipotle chilis in adobo are not always easy to find. Feel free to simply add around 2 TBSP of hot sauce, chili sauce, sriracha to your mayo/sour cream instead of chipotles. Perhaps add a pinch of smoked paprika or chipotle powder for extra heat and smokiness.

7

Pour about 2 TBSP of oil in a heavy skillet over medium high and heat it until very hot and almost shimmering. Do not overcrowd the pan, cook in batches if necessary.

8

Combine all of the blackening seasoning ingredients together, dip only one side of your marinated fish into the blackening seasoning. Place seasoned side down into hot pan.

We will be cooking the fish 80-95% of the way just on one side. The goal is to get it quite blackened, nicely seared and almost fully cooked through. You should observe the top of the fish turning opaque and starting to look cooked. But be sure not to burn it. We are likely looking at around 5 minutes for this step.

Flip the fish gently to sear the other side. You may only need seconds and likely no more than a minute or two on the other side, but again, it will depend on the thickness of your fish. The fish should flake easily and the internal temperature should register 145. Do not overcook.

9

To assemble the taco:

Top each warm tortilla with the slaw, place some fish on top, add drained red onions, jalapeno slices, avocado, cilantro, lime wedges and any other garnishes you may be using. Drizzle with the creamy chipotle sauce. Serve along with salsa verde, recipe follows, optional. Enjoy!

Ingredients

For the fish:
 1 ½ lbs flaky white fish (such as cod or mahi mahi)
 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for searing the fish
 kosher salt to taste (at least 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt)
 1 tsp paprika
 ½ tsp garlic powder
For the blackening seasoning:
 1 tsp chili powder
 1 tsp paprika
 1 tsp garlic powder
 1 tsp oregano
 ½ tsp onion powder
 pinch of cayenne, optional
 pinch of kosher salt
 freshly ground black pepper
 ¼ tsp smoked paprika, optional
For creamy chipotle sauce:
 1 cup of mayo, sour cream or combination of both
 2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo (see step 6 for other options)
 juice of 1 lime
 kosher salt, to taste
 honey, optional - to balance off the heat if needed
Cabbage Slaw:
 1 head red cabbage, sliced thinly
 ½ tsp kosher salt (half as much if using fine table salt)
 1 tbsp lime juice, or more to taste
 ¼ cup cilantro leaves
 Optional: Anything else you wish to add to enhance the flavour, such as a bit of honey, hot sauce, sugar, etc.
To assemple the taco:
 16 corn tortillas (warm if possible)
 2 avocados, sliced
 lots of lime wedges for serving
 ½ red onion, sliced thinly
 ¼ cup cilantro leaves, plus more to taste
 sliced jalapenos
 guacamole, optional
 salsa verde, to serve together with tacos (optional, but works really well with this dish), scroll down for the recipe
 cotija cheese, optional

Directions

1

If you are making salsa verde, make it first (scroll down to the recipe.) Refrigerate until needed.

2

Slice the fish horizontally into 3/4" thick sticks.

3

Place the fish in a bowl or re-sealable plastic container, and add oil and spices; rub them in to evenly distribute over the fish. Marinate for 10-20 minutes, but not more.

4

Next make the slaw. Place cabbage into a colander or strainer, sprinkle with salt and gently toss it. Let the cabbage drain in the colander for at least 15 minutes.

While it's draining, work on the next step of the taco preparation.

After it drained, don't squeeze the cabbage as it will impact its texture, but try to gently toss the cabbage with a fork, encouraging some of the juice to drip down, to avoid your taco from being soggy. Transfer to a bowl, add cilantro and lime juice. Set aside until ready to assemble the taco.

5

Next, slice your red onions and submerge them with cold water. This will take their pungency away while retaining the crunch.

Right before serving, simply drain them and dry them on paper towels.

6

While the fish is marinating, make the creamy chipotle sauce. Process mayo or sour cream and chipotles in adobo in a food processor or a blender until smooth. Stir in other ingredients (lime juice, salt, honey, if using) tasting as you add them, to get the sauce to taste in accordance to your preference.

Chipotle chilis in adobo are not always easy to find. Feel free to simply add around 2 TBSP of hot sauce, chili sauce, sriracha to your mayo/sour cream instead of chipotles. Perhaps add a pinch of smoked paprika or chipotle powder for extra heat and smokiness.

7

Pour about 2 TBSP of oil in a heavy skillet over medium high and heat it until very hot and almost shimmering. Do not overcrowd the pan, cook in batches if necessary.

8

Combine all of the blackening seasoning ingredients together, dip only one side of your marinated fish into the blackening seasoning. Place seasoned side down into hot pan.

We will be cooking the fish 80-95% of the way just on one side. The goal is to get it quite blackened, nicely seared and almost fully cooked through. You should observe the top of the fish turning opaque and starting to look cooked. But be sure not to burn it. We are likely looking at around 5 minutes for this step.

Flip the fish gently to sear the other side. You may only need seconds and likely no more than a minute or two on the other side, but again, it will depend on the thickness of your fish. The fish should flake easily and the internal temperature should register 145. Do not overcook.

9

To assemble the taco:

Top each warm tortilla with the slaw, place some fish on top, add drained red onions, jalapeno slices, avocado, cilantro, lime wedges and any other garnishes you may be using. Drizzle with the creamy chipotle sauce. Serve along with salsa verde, recipe follows, optional. Enjoy!

Fish Tacos

And if you decide to make salsa verde, which goes so amazingly well with this dish, here’s the recipe:

DifficultyBeginner

Yields4 Servings
Prep Time5 minsCook Time25 minsTotal Time30 mins

 1 ½ lbs tomatillos (10-12 medium), husked, washed and dried
 2 jalapenos, stem removed
 ½ medium white onion, large chop
 ¼ cup cilantro leaves (and more to taste)
 2 tbsp lime juice, plus more to taste
 kosher salt, to taste

1

Preheat the broiler to high. Set your oven rack 4" from the heat source.

2

Place tomatillos and jalapenos on aluminum lined baking sheet. Broil until quite charred. The goal is to get them very dark and blackened without burning them. This process may take 8-12 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip your veggies upside down and broil the other side until charred and the veggies are very tender and cooked through, about another 8 minutes or so. Watch closely not to burn.

3

Transfer charred veggies to a blender or food processor, along with their juices, add onion and cilantro. Blend them until smooth, no large chunks remain but the salsa is still a bit rough, not perfectly smooth like baby food.

4

This next step may or may not be needed. If your salsa is too runny, you may reduce it in a skillet on the stovetop. I usually do not need this step and it only happens when tomatillos are very large and juicy.

5

Season your salsa with salt. Start with about 1/2 tsp kosher salt (half as much if using fine table salt,) and adjust according to taste. Add some lime juice, again, start with a tablespoon or two, and keep adding more according to taste. Refrigerate for at least half an hour for all the flavours to meld.

NOTE:
6

Feel free to omit jalapenos, use only one of them and/or remove membranes and seeds for less spicy version.

If your salsa is not spicy enough for your taste, feel free to add a pinch of cayenne or a dash of hot sauce.

Ingredients

 1 ½ lbs tomatillos (10-12 medium), husked, washed and dried
 2 jalapenos, stem removed
 ½ medium white onion, large chop
 ¼ cup cilantro leaves (and more to taste)
 2 tbsp lime juice, plus more to taste
 kosher salt, to taste

Directions

1

Preheat the broiler to high. Set your oven rack 4" from the heat source.

2

Place tomatillos and jalapenos on aluminum lined baking sheet. Broil until quite charred. The goal is to get them very dark and blackened without burning them. This process may take 8-12 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip your veggies upside down and broil the other side until charred and the veggies are very tender and cooked through, about another 8 minutes or so. Watch closely not to burn.

3

Transfer charred veggies to a blender or food processor, along with their juices, add onion and cilantro. Blend them until smooth, no large chunks remain but the salsa is still a bit rough, not perfectly smooth like baby food.

4

This next step may or may not be needed. If your salsa is too runny, you may reduce it in a skillet on the stovetop. I usually do not need this step and it only happens when tomatillos are very large and juicy.

5

Season your salsa with salt. Start with about 1/2 tsp kosher salt (half as much if using fine table salt,) and adjust according to taste. Add some lime juice, again, start with a tablespoon or two, and keep adding more according to taste. Refrigerate for at least half an hour for all the flavours to meld.

NOTE:
6

Feel free to omit jalapenos, use only one of them and/or remove membranes and seeds for less spicy version.

If your salsa is not spicy enough for your taste, feel free to add a pinch of cayenne or a dash of hot sauce.

Salsa Verde

Make it Gluten-Free: although corn tortillas are made with masa harina, which is Gluten-Free, cross contamination may be an issue. Be sure that tortillas that you purchase are made with 100% Gluten-Free products that are processed in a Gluten-Free facility.

Make it Dairy-Free: Replace Mayo/Sour- Cream with 1 avocado or omit entirely. If using avocado, you may need a tablespoon or so of water in order to blend it into the right consistency. Make sure your tortillas are dairy-free. Do not use optional cotija cheese.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.