After posting these beauties on a recent instastory, I was thrilled to see how many of you wrote in asking for the JESScipe. Many thanks to my love SO for helping me perfect how this fishy little situation should all go down.
I’ve never made fish tacos before, and I was determined to nail them. I’m doing a lot less meat and chicken since I don’t eat it anymore. The fish here can easily be swapped for grilled chicken here though. Or even grilled flank steak. You can even offer choices of proteins and have guests choose their own assemblage. The tortillas, slaw, and guacamole are the same for all. It’s easy to present different platters to appeal to your carnivorous peeps. All these components can be prepared and packed separately for a picnic or beach outing. Um, bring this to the beach and your friends will erect a sandcastle in your honor on the spot 🏖. Light, white meat tilapia is the building block here. Tilapia is like a white room that needs to be enhanced with decor, making it the perfect canvas for seasonings. I had about six limes on hand while cooking the fish; I kept deglazing the frying pan with squeezes of fresh lime juice. This kept the fish from sticking to the dried pan while adding fabulous citrusy flavor. I had the limes already halved so I could grab and squeeze as needed. This is in addition to the fresh squeezed lime juice needed for the slaw dressing. Meaty tilapia, soft tortillas, vinegary slaw in bright colors, and creamy guacamole ; homemade perfection.
The LB photography crew had the best lunch while we prepped this for the shoot. They were blown away, which made me so happy. Good food is love, always.
Four pieces fresh tilapia, they’ll probably be about an inch thick.
Salt, pepper, and cumin on hand.
A package of soft tortillas.
Store bought high quality guacamole or my Express Lane Guacamole from a former post (that was a quick version but feel free to jazz it up with diced red onions, diced tomatoes, and chopped cilantro. It’s not needed here though since there’s so much flavor in the slaw).
A packed cup of chopped cilantro
A package each of store sliced purple cabbage and carrots found in produce section of the supermarket.
Three tbsp white wine vinegar
A quarter cup each of fresh lime juice and olive oil.
Half a tsp salt and a quarter tsp pepper.
Repeat seasoning on exposed side of fish now. Cook the fish several minutes on each side until golden brown, deglazing with the fresh lime halves as needed. Nudge the fish gently with a spatula during the cooking process a couple times to prevent sticking. It’s ok if the fish falls apart since you’re going to flake it anyway. When fish is cooked (you can test it at the thickest part) place in a glass dish and cover with plastic wrap to lock in the moisture and flavorings. If traveling with this dish, leave the fish as is. You’ll flake on sight.
Place the shredded carrots and cabbage in a bowl with the chopped cilantro. Add dressing, mixing well, and let sit about 20/30 minutes at least. The slaw should sit at least thirty minutes to absorb the dressing flavor. Don’t let it sit overnight though, to prevent the purple cabbage from bleeding into the carrots. Sharp purple and orange here are crucial to the visual of this dish. Lots of bright, tropical colors here. Food must look as good as it tastes. Engage as many of the five senses as possible to enhance any experience, eating included!
Heat each tortilla in a dry skillet on medium heat until slightly golden brown on each side, maybe a minute per side max. Flip with tongs and set aside in a single layer on a platter. Again, if traveling, layer the tortillas in wax paper around each one so they don’t stick together. Gently break up the tilapia with a fork into meaty chunks.
Here comes the best part: layer on top of each tortilla about three tbsp of slaw, a generous amount of fish, and a tbsp or 2 of guacamole. Fold and enjoy! You can garnish the platter with slices of fresh lime for a pretty color hint. I’d say this makes eight fish tacos. Plan on two per person, trust me they’ll want more than one. Taco Tuesday is now accessible any day of the week; why should Tuesday get all the fun?