This fish taco recipe conveys the best feelings of beach holidays

Citrus-marinated fish taco

active time:45 minutes

total time:55 minutes

stakes:2 to 4

active time:45 minutes

total time:55 minutes

stakes:2 to 4

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I never had the pleasure of sitting on a remote beach somewhere in Mexico, but in my head, anyway, I was going to sip a cold, fruity drink and eat a plate of something like tacos. (Yes, even in daydreams, there is always food.)

Fried fish tacos, often from the Baja variety, tend to get a lot of love and attention. I wouldn’t envy them, because they’re fried so well, and how many of us can resist that? But not everyone wants their fish to be drenched in the batter, and certainly not everyone wants to cook it that way. Grilled fish can be fun and delicious, with much less fuss.

I love the idea of ​​grilling and eating fish outdoors, even if it’s in my own backyard and not on that beach. However, I know reaching for the grill isn’t always an option either. So I set out to take my grilled fish taco recipe inside.

As I wrote before, not having a grill isn’t a deal breaker. You can get a lot done with a grill pan, grill, oven, or even a combination of these. The quick-cooking fish seemed like a recipe that translates easily, and my testing made it happen. Yucatan-inspired citrus-marinated fish – choose from tilapia or other light white fish – from grill maker Stephen Reichlin was just the right mix of light and brightness. (If you’re skeptical about tilapia, I encourage you to read this explanation and taste-test by my colleague Tamar Haspel.) I had less luck keeping the fillets intact when I made them on a grill pan, but substituting them in a cast iron plate or skillet did the trick and gave me color Better on the outside too. If you have a well-seasoned grill pan that you are sure the fish will not stick to, feel free to use it.

Although the fish cooks quickly, you won’t get instant gratification, because you need half an hour to marinate it—a small price to pay, given the great flavour. Stopping fish also means you have plenty of time, with a few minutes to spare, to throw cabbage slaw and avocado cream together to complete your taco spread. Served with diced onion, coriander, lime slices and pickled jalapeno slices. And maybe (certainly) a margarita.

I can’t say eating it in a sun-starved downtown kitchen was quite like my imagination on a Mexican beach, but there were the tacos. And that was good enough.

Recipe notes: Use the freshest tortillas you can use (heat/roast them briefly in a dry skillet or over a gas stove, for extra flavor and flexibility). In such a simple dish, they make all the difference.

Fish needs to be soaked in the refrigerator for no more than 30 minutes.

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  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for serving
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice (from 1 orange)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 large white onion, chopped (1 cup), plus more chopped onion, to serve
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
  • 1 pound of tilapia, striped bass, or other light, white-fleshed fish (skinless)
  • good salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Four 6-inch corn tortillas (see main note)
  • Lemon wedges for serving
  • Pickled jalapeno slices, for serving
  • 1/8 head green or purple cabbage, shredded (2 cups; can substitute for bagged cabbage mix)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lime)
  • 1 teaspoon honey or more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or sour cream
  • Meat half a ripe avocado, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lime)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

Make the tacos: In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, cilantro, lime juice, orange juice, oregano, onion, and garlic until combined.

Season the fish with a little salt and pepper. Spread half of the dressing over the bottom of a rectangular glass baking dish. Arrange the fish over the marinade. Spoon the rest of the marinade over the fish. Cover and refrigerate for no more than 30 minutes, turning the fish over once during that time.

Make the cabbage: While the fish is marinating, in a large bowl, combine cabbage, cilantro, half the lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper until evenly coated. Taste and add more lemon juice and/or honey as needed. Let the cabbage sit while the recipe is finished; The salt and cabbage lemon juice will wilt a little.

Make the avocado cream: In a food processor, combine sour cream or cream, avocado, lemon juice, and salt and blend until smooth.

Cooking the fish: Heat a large cast iron skillet or tray over medium-high heat. It should be very hot, which helps prevent sticking; Check it by splashing a few drops of water – if it evaporates right away, the pan is ready. Make sure each piece of fish is well coated with the marinade (leaving most of the onions behind), then add to the skillet and cook until opaque in the center, 2 to 3 minutes on the first side, then flip carefully and toss well. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on the second side. The fish should have just started to flake off when touched with the fork. Discard any remaining seasoning.

Coarsely chop the cooked fish. Arrange on a plate, and serve immediately with tortillas, slaw, avocado cream, diced onion, diced cilantro, pickled jalapeños, and lemon wedges.

Per serving (1 taco), based on 4

Calories: 300 Total Fat: 15g; saturated fat: 6 g; cholesterol: 70 mg; Sodium: 510 mg; carbohydrates: 16 g; Dietary fiber: 4 g; sugar: 5 g; Protein: 26 grams

This analysis is an estimate based on the ingredients available and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietician or dietician.

Fish recipe adapted from one by Steve Raichlen at; Avocado cream recipe adapted from; slaw recipe adapted from

Tested by Becky Crystal; Email questions to [email protected].

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