Recently, a landlocked friend in the mysterious Midwest reached out to us with a plea for a fish taco recipe that would bring her back to her vacation in Baja. And while our qualifications do include both “eating fish tacos” and “making fish tacos,” where we lived in Mexico (despite living so close to the Gulf that the salt spray misted our windows each morning) didn’t specialize in the Baja-style fish tacos that we, and I think everyone, like best. They eat a lot of octopus in Yucatan.
Our “Atlantic” style twist on Baja-style fish tacos use haddock, because we like to use the fish that’s most local to us, but you can substitute any flaky, semi-firm white fish (like cod or tilapia) that you happen to have near you.
A caution: This is not a light lunch. There is a reason people typically pack away a few of these delicious calorie bombs after a day of swimming and getting pounded by surf. And as lovely as it is here right now, a part of me longs for an ice-cold Pacifico, the siren call of “COCO!” from a roving vendor, and all the loud, pungent, colorful mess of Mexico. These fish tacos transport me there, if only for a moment; it is a welcome vacation of the mind.
- 1 cup dark beer
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 lbs. haddock fillet, cut into 1-in. wide strips
- Peanut oil (for frying)
- 1 small red cabbage, sliced thin
- 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
- Juice from two limes
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons canned chipotle chiles, rinsed and seeded
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup pickle relish
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 16 corn tortillas
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- Whisk beer, flour, and salt in a medium bowl until well blended. In a deep fryer or deep frying pan, heat oil to 360 degrees. Dip each piece of fish in batter and drain excess. Slide fish slowly into oil, a few pieces at a time, and cook until golden brown, turning if needed, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer cooked fish to drain on paper towels.
- In a separate bowl, toss cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, vegetable oil, and jalapeno until evenly coated and set aside.
- In a blender or food processor, combine chipotle chilies, mayonnaise, pickle relish, and onion and blend until smooth.
- To assemble each taco, stack two warm tortillas, and top with a piece or two of fish. Top with a spoonful of slaw, and serve with chipotle tartar sauce on the side, with plenty of lime wedges to squeeze over the top.