I have a confession- these were my first fish tacos.
It's blasphemy. I know it's what you're thinking. I know I'm probably the last person in the modern world who hasn't tried them. I don't even really have a good excuse! I could say I grew up in Dallas and fresh fish just wasn't a big thing there, but that's not necessarily true. I know Dallas is in Texas and Texas is known for beef, blah blah blah. But flash frozen fish has been a big thing since I can remember- my parents bought salmon all the time even though my sisters and I wouldn't touch the stuff as kids.
I guess the best, least shameful reason I can come up with is that I've always been a little wary of fish served in restaurants.... or from the back of a truck like in some coastal states. Nonetheless, I have stepped into the world of fish tacos, and I am definitely a convert!
These were super easy to make- it was start to finish in less time than it took to watch the most recent episode of Grey's Anatomy. I used flounder but basically any white fish would do. From the recipes I looked at to get inspiration for these tacos, it seems most people use cabbage instead of lettuce in the tacos- but I went with some chiffonaded (is that a real word? It is now....) romaine and spinach. I was also able to use the half flour/half corn tortillas that I found in the commissary last week- they are delicious and not at all dry! To round out my meatless meal for Lenten Friday, I had some veggies on the side.
Quick and Simple Fish Tacos
a Butter Than Toast original
makes 7-8 tacos
5 large filets of white fish of your choosing, cut either into nuggets or strips
salt and pepper for seasoning fish
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup egg whites (I use the carton found in the egg/milk section- no wasted yolks this way!)
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4-5 tablespoons vegetable oil
7-8 six inch corn or flour tortillas- your preference
1/4 red onion, diced
1 cup loosely packed spinach, cut into a chiffonade
1/2 cup romaine or cabbage, chopped
a few squirts of your favorite sauce- chipotle mayo, tartar, herbed sour cream- it's flexible
Create your "mise en plas," French for 'in it's place.' Get out 2 shallow dishes and one bowl wide enough to put a few cut pieces of fish in at a time. Place the cornstarch in one, the egg whites and lemon juice in the bowl, and the cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, chili powder and salt in the third shallow dish. Pie plates or 9x9 baking dishes work well. I avoid regular plates because I tend to make a mess without sides of a dish. Lay out a few paper towels- one near the pan that will fry the fish, one near the breading station to catch crumbs.
Pat the fish with paper towels to rid it of any excess moisture, then lightly salt and pepper both sides of the fish. Cut it into shape and size of your choosing. Toss the fish with cornstarch in the first dish, then tap away the excess. Whisk the egg white and lemon juice in the bowl, add a little water to thin it out if needed. Dip each piece into the egg mixture, then toss liberally in the flour mixture. Lay the breaded fish on the paper towel to keep your counter clean. Once the fish has been breaded, add the oil to a skillet and turn on the heat to medium. While the oil heats, do a quick clean up of the breading station- you'll thank yourself afterwards!
Once the oil shimmers in the pan, add 2-3 pieces of fish. They should sizzle and bubble immediately. Cook on one side for 2 minutes, then turn and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Use your judgment- if the fish is starting to look too dark on one side, go ahead and turn it. Try to turn it on all sides to ensure even cooking. Transfer fish to the other paper towel to drain, continue this cycle until all the fish is cooked.
Build you tacos with the greens and onion sprinkled throughout, then top with your sauce of choice. Serve warm, and enjoy!