California Style Fish Tacos

So I mentioned in the Black-Eyed Pea Dip post that my hubby insisted on a little “New Years Tradition” this January 1.  Lucky black-eyed peas, check!  Time for some cabbage.  Cabbage as a New Years Tradition was new to me, but I trusted my man and went with it.  His suggestion of steamed cabbage (barf!) was out so I quickly had to come up with another idea.  My mom’s Better Than Cole Slaw recipe is a fantastic way to use cabbage, but what else…hmm….ding, ding – fish tacos!!

California Style Fish Tacos - YUM!

California Style Fish Tacos - YUM!

There is a little hole-in-the-wall joint in San Diego called Point Loma Seafood.  They have the WORLD’S BEST fish tacos and I was on a mission to make a close second.  They didn’t quite match Point Loma, but I was pleasantly surprised.  When you try them, notice what a nice fresh, crunchy texture the cabbage gives on the tacos.  Unless you want to just eat steamed cabbage with Zach…

Fish Taco Ingredients
white fish (We used tilapia. Cod or your favorite white fish would work.) – We had a little less than a pound of fish (.83 oz, two filets) for 2 people and it was plenty.
fish breading (listed below)
2 tablespoons olive oil & 2 tablespoons butter (for pan frying fish)
corn tortillas
kickin’ cilantro lime sauce

Fish Taco Garnish
shredded cheddar cheese
cherry tomatoes, halved
purple onions sliced thin
shredded cabbage
fresh cilantro
avocado, sliced
lime wedge (1 or 2 per person)

Taco Toppings!

Taco Toppings!

Kickin’ Cilantro Lime Sauce (Made enough for at least 4 people or 8 tacos.  Was way too much for us, but we saved it because it was so good!)
1/2 cup mayo
½ cup plain yogurt (I used Greek.)
Juice of 2 limes (Our limes were really juicy so keep an extra on hand in case yours aren’t very juicy and you need to add more juice.)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon of finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp milk (you could probably hold off on this until you add the lime juice and test thickness)

And if you’re brave you can (and SHOULD) add…
1 teaspoon of minced capers (I liked the salty touch this added.  I’m obsessed with capers.)
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (OH YEAH!! Really made a difference.)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin  (Just a dash, really)

  1. Mix the first 5 ingredients together and test the consistency.  If you need to thin it out a bit, add the milk.  If not, feel free to skip that ingredient.  You could also just use more lime juice to thin.
  2. If you’re feelin’ it, add the capers, cayenne and cumin.  These really made the flavor POP for me.  It’s not too spicy, but if you’re wimpy when it comes to spice you can leave out the cayenne or just use a little less. (LAAAME….)
  3. Now that your sauce is done and you’re happy with the taste, get your garnishes ready (chop the tomatoes, onions, cabbage and shred the cheese, etc.)
  4. When your garnish plate and sauce are ready, move on to the fish!
Spicy Cilantro Lime Sauce

Spicy Cilantro Lime Sauce

Fish Breading Ingredients (for 2 filets/about 1 lb of fish)
½ cup of flour
about 1 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper fresh ground pepper
½ teaspoon of sweet paprika
½ teaspoon of ground cumin
½ teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Fish Breading (before mixing together)

Fish Breading (before mixing together)

  1. Rinse of fish and blot dry with paper towel.
  2. Mix all dry breading ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Lightly cover fish filets with breading ingredients and shake off excess.
  4. Melt butter and olive oil in pan over medium high heat.
  5. When butter is melted, but not yet brown, put fish in the pan.
  6. Cook fish 5 mins on each side over medium high heat.  Keep an eye on it.  You want a light brown exterior, but the fish should still be light and flaky on the inside.
  7. When the filets are done, serve up your tacos by dividing up the fish filets into heated corn tortillas, top with garnishes and drizzle with your cilantro lime sauce.
  8. Serve with lime wedges and refried beans.  Enjoy!!
Tilapia in the pan

Tilapia in the pan

Tilapia Flipped

Tilapia Flipped

Tilapia cooked and ready for the tacos!

Tilapia cooked and ready for the tacos!

Tacos - a bit overloaded (just the way I like it)...ready for the sauce.

Tacos - a bit overloaded (just the way I like it)...ready for the sauce.

Yum, yum, yum.  Fresh California (Baja) Style Fish Tacos.

Yum, yum, yum. Fresh California (Baja) Style Fish Tacos.

You can usually tell how good a recipe is by how good my pictures are.  The more rushed and disheveled the photo, the better the meal…or the more anxious I am to dig in.  Usually the way it works is that Zach dives right in and is “ooo-ing” and “ahhh-ing” over our creation and I’m sitting there taking 45 pictures.  Haha!  This one I got a little too excited, snapped a few pics and crunched down on a DELicious, fresh, flavorful taco…that immediately transported me to the San Diego bay.

The sauce added a creamy, salty, spicy kick.  That sauce paired with the fresh squeeze of lime juice on the crispy, but fluffy tilapia was perfection.  To top it off, the crunch of fresh cabbage just took it to another level and made my hubby really happy.  Magic.

Zach-o-meter:  said that we nailed it – just as good as Point Loma Seafood’s tacos.  Granted we haven’t been to San Diego to have a Point Loma Seafood fish taco in about two years so the memory is a liiiiiittle faded, but nonetheless killer, killer dish.

Hope you enjoy!

So fresh and delicious!

So fresh and delicious!

Printer Friendly Recipe:  Dine with a Darling – California Style Fish Tacos

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One response to “California Style Fish Tacos

  1. If you are ever interested in cooking cabbage again, you should try a pak choi recipe. They had the most interesting dish at work the other day and it seemed easy. The cabbage was wrapped around chicken and vegetables and the whole thing was steamed or baked, almost like making a chicken pot pie without the crust. They served it with rice and a creamy sauce, and boy was it delicious!

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