A good fish taco is in a class by itself. My kids tried their first in a beachside restaurant in Florida, and suddenly the world of tacos had a new category. And as any mother will tell you, when fish comes in a form your kids can embrace, that’s a beautiful thing.
Sometimes the fish is fried (fabulous), sometimes it is grilled (also fabulous), and easiest and most accessible of all, sometimes it is pan-seared (still, fabulous).
And the very best part of cooking fish for tacos? If it falls apart when you are sauteeing or flipping it, who cares? You’re going to flake that sucker up anyway.
This recipe calls for any white, flaky fish, allowing you the flexibility of seeing what’s freshest where you are shopping. Don’t be shy — talk to that fishmonger. He or she will be only too happy to tell you what to buy.
The fish in these tacos is topped with a chopped vegetable salad that adds brightness and crunch. Use either flour or corn tortillas, whichever you prefer, but do take those extra few minutes to warm them up in a skillet so they soften and get a bit more flavorful.
Flaky Fish Tacos with Vegetable Slaw
Start to finish: 30 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 (6-ounce) filets tilapia, cod, barramundi or other flaky white fish
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
8 radishes, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into thin half moons
1/2 red onion, cut into wedges, then slivered
1/2 cup chopped fennel
1/4 cup chopped olives (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
8 6-inch flour or corn tortillas
Crumbled queso fresco to serve
Heat a large heavy skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium high heat. Add one tablespoon of the oil. While the oil is heating, sprinkle both sides of the fish filets with the coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. Sear the fish for about three minutes per side, until browned and cooked through. Transfer the fish to a plate and break it into small chunks. Tent with foil to keep warm. Wash the skillet out.
While the fish is cooking, combine the radishes, cucumbers, red onion, fennel, olives (if using), lemon juice and the remaining tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Return the clean, dry skillet to medium high heat and cook the tortillas for about 20 seconds on each side for flour, 45 seconds on each side for corn, until lightly browned in spots and softened. Stack them on a plate.
Serve the tortillas with the fish and the vegetable relish, along with the queso fresco on the side. Let everyone assemble their own tacos.
Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.”