Happy Cinco de Mayo!
To help you celebrate today, the rest of May and all of summer, here’s a delicioso Baja-style fish taco that’ll blow your sombrero off!
Now, I bet several of you grammar snobs are going, “She used the wrong spelling of chili!” Well, hate to burst your grammar bubble, but chile is the Spanish spelling of what we gringos refer to as chili, as in chili powder. I choose to use the Spanish spelling, so there!
Anyway, to continue, this recipe calls for tilapia or any white mild fish. Now, if you’ve been keeping up with your acceptable/unacceptable food products, you no doubt have seen all the hype attached to “farm raised” tilapia from China. Yep, those folks feed them little fishies all kinds of unacceptable stuff, but, if you source carefully, you should be able to find tilapia from here in the Good Ole US of A and be just fine. Tilapia has gotten such a bad rap lately that it really doesn’t deserve. It’s a very inexpensive and versatile piece of yumminess that kind of takes on the flavor of everything your cooking it with.
This recipe may look way too involved, especially for a week night, but in this case, looks can be deceiving. If you make the smoked paprika mayo and the mango salsa hours or even a day ahead of time, if tastes all that much better. So split the recipe up! And, don’t toss any leftover mango salsa. Gobble it down with some tortilla chips and a cold brewsky and keep the mayo in the fridge for up to 3 weeks! It’s good on just about any taco!
Now, gotta give you a tip here. Don’t skip the first step in the recipe. I call this step “seasoning” the tortillas. I do this to both corn and flour tortillas if I’m using them for tacos. The reason? The tortillas don’t get soggy as quickly and fall apart with all the juicy ingredients we tend to stuff into them. Searing the tortillas on each side kind of seals them somehow so they’re more resistant to moisture. There’s nothing more irritating than building the perfect taco just to have it fall apart in your hands and all the stuffins’ plopping down in the middle of your plate. So don’t skip this crucial step! If you don’t have a comal (or don’t even know what it is, for that matter), don’t fret, just use a cast iron skillet or any heavy skillet to complete this step. And, don’t even tell me you don’t have a cast iron skillet, ’cause you’ll be talkin’ to my hand!
Well, after all that, here goes! Hope you and yours enjoy this recipe as much as we do!
Fish Tacos with Chile Mango Salsa & Smoked Paprika Mayo
Delicioso doesn’t even begin to describe these fish tacos. So much flavor packed in a little space!
Yield: 8 tacos
4 Tilapia fillets (or any white, mild fish)
Extra virgin olive oil for searing
1 tablespoon all-purpose seasoning (Zatarain’s , Jamaican Jerk, your choice)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 recipe smoked paprika mayo
1 recipe chili mango salsa
8 corn tortillas
Fresh lime, sliced
Heat a comal or large skillet over medium-high heat. Warm tortillas on each side until they start to brown and stiffen slightly. Keep warm.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet.
Season the fish with all-purpose seasoning mix, salt and pepper.
Sear fish, seasoning side down. Cook for about 2 minutes.
Carefully flip the fish and cook until fish flakes easily.
Place all the cooked fish fillets in a bowl and chop up.
Serve ½ of each fillet in a corn tortilla with smoked paprika mayo and chili mango salsa.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and a fresh lime slice.
Smoked Paprika Mayo
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Mexican Crema (Mexican sour cream)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Mix all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 3 weeks.
1 fresh mango, cubed
¼ cup diced purple onion
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
Zest and juice of one lime
Dash of cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon chile powder
Salt to taste
Mix all ingredients and let set in refrigerator until ready to use.