The Mountain Kitchen Fish Tacos

The Mountain Kitchen Fish Tacos

I am about to share a recipe for The Mountain Kitchen Fish Tacos, but first I want to share some pretty cool things I learned about fish tacos. I am a food geek and really like to learn about the foods I eat. Here’s what I found out:

Though many Americans are just learning about the simple virtues of fish tacos, surfers and seasoned Mexico travelers have long considered fish tacos a part of the Baja experience. The taco from Baja California, Mexico, predates the arrival of the Europeans into Mexico.

Everyday cooking for the Mexican settlers started with a tortilla fried over a cast iron skillet. The tortilla was traditionally made of Maize/corn flour (Masa flour). This tortilla was based on the most abundant crop within this part of the world. The fried tortilla served as a vessel for the foods to be contained within this envelope. What could be found inside were all hunted and gathered agriculture within the mainland and surrounding Pacific coast. Anthropologists have found evidence that the native inhabiting the Lake Region of the Valley of Mexico typically ate tacos filled with small fish. During this time, fish was abundant within the Pacific coast. The many fish found within this region was one reason fresh fish, either raw or cooked, would be eaten in many dishes. Several types of fish were used within the traditional taco such as shrimp (Tacos de Camarones), cod or tilapia.

There are two forms of fish tacos:

TRADITIONAL: The traditional Baja style fish taco (Tacos de Pescado) contains a chunk of white fish (cod, halibut, snapper), battered, deep-fried and garnished with lettuce or cabbage, pico de gallo and either a sour cream or citrus mayo cause. The deep-fried fish makes keeps the taco authentic, but packs a punch of unhealthy calories and fat.

NEW AGE: The new age version consists of grilled fish (cod, tilapia, mahi-mahi, swordfish, even salmon). The grilled fish is topped with cabbage, guacamole, pickled onions, designer aiolis, and salsas. These new heart-friendly tacos may be more healthful, but they also may lose a bit of their historical connection to the fishing villages of Baja.

The recipe I am about to share with you is healthier than the original Baja style tacos and leans more towards the new age version of a fish taco. I pulled my shrimp taco recipe and used the marinade for the fish. I knew it would work well because David and I both adore it.

For the fish, I decided to use some mahi-mahi David’s cousin gave us. Mahi-mahi is one of my favorite fish and I often refer to them as “swimming steaks”. I seared the mahi-mahi and laid the fillets onto a tortilla dressed in a chipotle sour cream sauce and topped with a light and fresh citrus slaw. I may have sacrificed some traditional flavor by not frying the fish, but the marinade I used is loaded with flavors that will make you forget all about tradition.

Seared mahi-mahi, laid onto a tortilla dressed in a chipotle sour cream sauce and topped with a light and fresh citrus slaw. Here’s the recipe in detail:

The Mountain Kitchen Fish Tacos are made with seared mahi-mahi, on a tortilla dressed with chipotle sour cream and topped with a light, fresh citrus slaw. | TheMountainKitchen.com

Marinate the Fish:

Thaw the fish, if frozen. Rinse and pat dry. Cut into 2 x 3-inch fillets. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and salt with a whisk. Add the fish to a resealable bag; pour the marinade into the bag. Seal the bag, leaving some of the air inside. Toss to coat the fish, then release all of the air from the bag. Chill in the refrigerator for no less than 30 minutes.

The Mountain Kitchen Fish Tacos are made with seared mahi-mahi, on a tortilla dressed with chipotle sour cream and topped with a light, fresh citrus slaw. | TheMountainKitchen.com

The Red Cabbage Slaw:

In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, vinegar, oil, and honey until combined. In a large bowl, add cabbage and onion. Pour dressing over cabbage and onion. Toss the cabbage, carrots, and onion in the dressing and coat well. Fold in salt, pepper, and cilantro. Allow the slaw to sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.

Chipotle Sour Cream:

In a small bowl mix the sour cream and chipotle pepper and adobo sauce, until well blended. Place inside the refrigerator until needed.

The Mountain Kitchen Fish Tacos are made with seared mahi-mahi, on a tortilla dressed with chipotle sour cream and topped with a light, fresh citrus slaw. | TheMountainKitchen.com

Sear the Fish:

Heat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add the fish fillets to the pan (do not overcrowd the pan). Once you add your fish to the pan, let it be. It is so tempting to nudge and rearrange the fillets, but DON’T! Disturbing the fish will prevent the crust from forming—and that crust is where all the flavor is. Resist the urge, for two minutes. Then you can start checking the fish. When you can gently lift a corner with a spatula to see if the bottom is browned and it is brown, you’re ready to flip the fillets. If you are using the recommended 2 x 3-inch pieces, then it will take about 3 to 5 minutes on the first side and about 2 to 3 minutes on the second side.

The Mountain Kitchen Fish Tacos are made with seared mahi-mahi, on a tortilla dressed with chipotle sour cream and topped with a light, fresh citrus slaw. | TheMountainKitchen.com

When the fish fillets are golden brown with white flaky meat, remove from the pan and gather up your tortillas and toppings.

The Mountain Kitchen Fish Tacos are made with seared mahi-mahi, on a tortilla dressed with chipotle sour cream and topped with a light, fresh citrus slaw. | TheMountainKitchen.com

The Tortillas:

    • Heat them on a grill, over an open flame on a gas stove as shown here, or in a hot skillet on the stove top. Turn them when small brown spots appear.
  • For fast, crisp tortillas, sprinkle with salt, place them in a single layer between dry paper towels, and microwave 20 seconds. If not crisp, do 10-second increments until crisp.
  • For yummy, crunchy tortillas, lightly coat them with vegetable oil, sprinkle with salt, and bake in a single layer in a 450 degree F oven until brown and crisp.

Taco Assembly:

Spread tortillas with chipotle sour cream.

The Mountain Kitchen Fish Tacos are made with seared mahi-mahi, on a tortilla dressed with chipotle sour cream and topped with a light, fresh citrus slaw. | TheMountainKitchen.com

Top the sour cream coated tortilla with a couple of pieces of fish. Add some slaw on top of the fish.

Garnish with a sprinkle with cilantro and squeeze on some fresh lime juice.

I’d love to visit California and go to Baja to get one of those wonderful traditional Baja fish tacos, but until I can get there I have no problem settling on these!

My Signature

The Mountain Kitchen Fish Tacos

The Mountain Kitchen Fish Tacos are made with seared mahi-mahi, on a tortilla dressed in chipotle sour cream and topped with a light, fresh citrus slaw.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword Fish, tacos
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 639kcal

Ingredients

The Tacos

  • 6 6-inch corn or flour tortillas
  • chipotle sour cream
  • marinated and cooked fish fillets
  • red cabbage slaw
  • fresh cilantro
  • lime wedges

The Fish

  • 1 pound Mahi Mahi fresh or frozen, cut into 2 x 3 inch fillets
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Red Cabbage Slaw

  • ½ cup orange juice fresh squeezed
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 pound red cabbage small head shredded
  • ½ cup carrots shredded
  • 1 sweet onion thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped
  • sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Chipotle Sour Cream

  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped chipotle pepper + 1 teaspoon adobo sauce

Instructions

Marinate the Fish

  • Thaw the fish, if frozen. Rinse and pat dry. Cut into 2 x 3-inch fillets.
  • In a resealable plastic bag combine olive oil, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and salt; add fish.
  • Seal bag and turn to coat shrimp; chill 30 minutes.

The Red Cabbage Slaw

  • In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, vinegar, oil, and honey until combined.
  • In a large bowl, add cabbage and onion. Pour dressing over cabbage and onion.
  • Toss the cabbage, carrots, and onion in the dressing and coat well.
  • Fold in salt, pepper, and cilantro.
  • Allow the slaw to sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.

Chipotle Sour Cream

  • In a small bowl mix the sour cream and chipotle pepper and adobo sauce, until well blended.
  • Place inside the refrigerator until needed.

Sear the Fish

  • Heat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add the fish fillets to the pan (do not overcrowd the pan). Once you add your fish to the pan, let it be. It is so tempting to nudge and rearrange the fillets, but DON’T! Disturbing the fish will prevent the crust from forming—and that crust is where all the flavor is. Resist the urge, for two minutes. Then you can start checking the fish. When you can gently lift a corner with a spatula to see if the bottom is browned and it is brown, you’re ready to flip the fillets. If you are using the recommended 2 x 3-inch pieces, then it will take about 3-5 minutes on the first side and about 2 to 3 minutes on the second side.
  • When the fish fillets are golden brown with white flaky meat, remove from the pan and gather up your tortillas & toppings.

The Tortillas

  • Heat them on a grill, over an open flame on a gas stove as shown here, or in a hot skillet on the stove top.
  • Turn them when small brown spots appear.
  • For fast, crisp tortillas, sprinkle with salt, place them in a single layer between dry paper towels, and microwave 20-seconds. If not crisp, do 10-second increments until crisp.
  • For yummy, crunchy tortillas, lightly coat them with vegetable oil, sprinkle with salt, and bake in a single layer in a 450-degree F oven until brown and crisp.

Taco Assembly

  • Spread tortillas with chipotle sour cream.
  • Top the sour cream coated tortilla with a couple pieces of fish. Add some slaw on top of the fish.
  • Garnish with a sprinkle with cilantro and squeeze on some fresh lime juice.

Nutrition

Calories: 639kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 195mg | Sodium: 697mg | Potassium: 2503mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 11095IU | Vitamin C: 281.9mg | Calcium: 354mg | Iron: 7.3mg
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The Mountain Kitchen

Hi, my name is Debbie, Author and Photographer at The Mountain Kitchen, a blog that shares delicious homemade recipes using clean food ingredients, and stories about mountain life.
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