Somewhere there is a picture of me standing in front of a lake with my hands tucked behind my back. I’m about seven or eight. You can see my dad’s arm, extending a fish that I’ve just caught but refused to hold.
I couldn’t find the picture, so here’s one of a younger me splashing around in a kiddie pool, not fishing. It’s slightly more representative of my current adult life. I love the outdoors and lakes. Fishing? Not so much.
When I was younger, my dad would take me and my sister out fishing. Most of the time we got bored fishing and ended up playing with rocks or watching the minnows swim in the bucket. On the good days, we’d end up at home watching our dad filet the fish, filling the air with that metallic, salty smell and filling the sink with guts and blood.
It was gross.
But then it was time for fish fry. It was always crappie, and it was delicious. Freshly fished out of a lake, fried in a pot of oil, and served alongside fresh French fries.
Something about getting fried food at home instead of a restaurant (or in a grease-soaked paper bag) felt like magic. It was simple: golden brown nuggets of fried fish and homemade French fries. It was a revolving door situation in which my dad would ship out a plate of fries or fish, whichever was ready, and we’ve shove that piping hot goodness into our mouths coated with ketchup or tartar sauce.
These fried crappie dinners and tuna salad sandwiches from Mr. Goodcents made up the only fish I ate for the first half of my life. Then, when I started getting really into cooking, I came across tons of fish recipes. I started making them, just for variety, and fell in love with fish.
And then I discovered the fish taco. I don’t know how to sum up my love of tacos, or of these fish tacos, so I’m just gonna say… Fish tacos, man. Eat them. Really, just eat tacos in general. Of all kinds. Look, there’s apparently some stereotype about young people and burritos. Burritos are fine. But tacos, man.
And if you’re making fish tacos, you should definitely top them/slather them with a jalapeno garlic cole slaw. I developed this recipe last month, and my husband and I are obsessed. We used the extra slaw for burritos and sandwiches and anything else we could think of.
Control the heat level by adjusting the amount of jalapeno. I used an entire medium jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, and got a really nice kick. If you want it milder, decrease the jalapeno. Same goes for the garlic. Two cloves gives a nice, mild garlic flavor that isn’t overwhelming. Increase or decrease to taste.
makes six tacos
2 fillets, preferred fish (tilapia, salmon, etc)
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
lime juice (optional)
Heat olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Mix seasonings in a bowl and sprinkle fillets generously. You can also substitute pre-mixed taco seasoning if you have it. Follow cooking time guidelines for whatever fish you’re using. Squeeze lime juice over cooked fish.
Jalapeno Garlic Cole Slaw
6 cups cabbage, shredded or chopped
1 carrot or 4-6 baby carrots
2 cloves garlic
1 lime, juiced
salt and pepper to taste
1/3-1/2 cup mayonnaise
Chop or shred cabbage and place in a bowl. Blitz carrot, jalapeno, and garlic cloves in a food processor. Toss this combination with cabbage. In a separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and lime juice. The amount of mayonnaise you use will determine how thick or thin the dressing is. Toss the dressing with the vegetables, and salt and pepper to taste.
sriracha mayo (sriracha and mayo blended, to taste)
corn or wheat taco-sized tortillas
Warm tortillas in a dry pan over medium heat. Spread sriracha mayo on bottom of tortilla. Cut each fish fillet into three pieces and place in center of tortilla. Top with cole slaw. Eat up!