Fish Tacos by Cindy Pascale

Fish Tacos by Cindy Pascale

In search of the world’s best fish taco ….
About 13 years ago, my husband and I took our then four teenagers to Key West for Spring Break. One day, we stopped at Schooner Wharf and Bar for a late lunch. All seating is outdoors where there was live music; simply a man and a guitar. Which meant that the music was at a comfortable decibel rather than so loud that you cannot hear the person on the other side of the table. There were a few light clouds and a light breeze making it the perfect temperature to sit outdoors. Everything was perfect. Even the teenagers were getting along!
My husband and I ordered margaritas and the Special of the Day, Fish Tacos. The margarita was perfection and we both agreed that the fish tacos were the best we ever had. I realize that the full experience of perfect weather, music, margarita, and teenagers getting along, all contributed to us rating those tacos as the World’s Best Fish Taco.
Back in my hometown in a suburb of Minneapolis, I embarked on a decade long search for a rival to the World’s Best Fish Taco. If a restaurant offered fish tacos, I ordered it. I desperately wanted to find a taco that could transport me back to that perfect lunch and outing 13 years ago. I rated each taco on a school grading system from A+ to F. Sadly, none were rated A+ or A or even A- and conversely, happily, none were rated F. About two years ago, it hit me: why am I trying to find the best fist taco?
Why not just make your own??? As a cook, I got this!
Over the last two years, I perfected the recipe that follows. The recipe was developed to my family’s taste and is a close approximation to the Schooner Wharf’s fish taco. The key differentiator to this recipe is that it calls for both a simple dressing for the slaw and a sauce to drizzle over the top of the tacos.
Most recipes call for one or the other but not both.

Ingredients
  

Ingredients for the Fish Marinade:

  • 1 1/2 lbs white fish such as tilapia or cod
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp butter (for cooking the fish)

Ingredients for the Slaw:

  • 1 cup of each (1 cup) green shredded cabbage/(1 cup) red shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • salt & pepper

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the fish:
    Mix together olive oil, chili powder, cumin, and garlic salt. Once well mixed, marinate fish. I usually marinate the fish about 10 minutes while I am making the slaw and the sauce.
    Heat frying pan and melt butter.
    Fry fish until it is flaky and easily falls apart. About 10 minutes depending on how thick your fish is.
    Prepare the slaw:
    Shred cabbages and pour into bowl.
    Chop red pepper and pour into bowl.
    Rough chop cilantro and pour into bowl.
    Optional: If you are going to add the jalapeno pepper, chop and pour into bowl.
  • Optional Toppings:
    Jalapeno pepper – if your family likes spicy food, chop the pepper and mix it with the slaw
    Avocado
    Tomatoes
    Cotija cheese – crumbled
    Extra lime wedges
    Extra cilantro

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