Fish tacos conjure wistful yearning for the sun-saturated, sandy surfer’s haven that starts in Mexico and snakes up the coast into the southernmost swath of California. The way high noon speckles the waves as they sweep up and down the powdery shore illustrates an understated magic to this place, where there’s little rush to do anything except catch a wave. In these towns where much time is spent outdoors close to the salty cerulean expanse, there’s a culture where shoulders unhunch and pace slows.
Fish tacos reflect the unfussy coastal mood they originated from. Plump white fish kept tender by a beer-battered flour coating and crisped from a swim in the deep fryer are placed on a pliable corn tortilla and covered with finely shaved cabbage and adobo crema.
Instead of battered and deep-fried Baja-inspired fish tacos, our healthier fish tacos give tender mahi mahi a coat of blackening spice and a few minutes to sizzle in a skillet. Rest the peppery, buttery-soft white fish on tiny flour or corn tortillas sprinkled with cilantro lime rice; top with sliced avocado, sweet and kicky mango salsa, and a drizzle of cilantro-flecked Green Goddess dressing. Freshen the bundles with a few squeezes of lime, pinch two sides together, and sink into that seaside escape.
2 mahi mahi filets
2 tbsp. blackening seasoning*
1 tbsp. Zero Acre oil
6 small flour or corn tortillas (street-taco size)
¼ serving Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice
½ serving Easy Mango Salsa
Trader Joe’s Green Goddess Dressing, optional
*We used Old Bay Blackening Seasoning
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 42 minutes
Heat a cast iron skillet to medium heat. While it heats up, use a silicone brush to paint each filet with Zero Acre oil.
Pour the blackened seasoning on a flat plate. Place the mahi mahi in the seasoning, making sure it’s well coated before flipping over to the other side.
Add the oil to the skillet. Spread around quickly and make sure it’s well greased. Add the mahi mahi filets to the skillet.
Cover the skillet to trap in the heat. Cook the filets for 2–3 minutes on each side, then flip and cook for 2–3 minutes on the other side.
Once the mahi mahi is cooked, remove from the skillet and let it cool for a moment. Use a knife to cut it up (it should be buttery soft and flaky. If it’s not, it’s overcooked).
Heat the tortillas in a warm skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute per side. You can also place all of the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Heat on high for 30 seconds.
*Cook’s tip: It’s easy to overcook mahi mahi. The internal temperature of the fish should be 145°F when it’s done. Cooking with a lid allows the fish to cook quicker and more evenly.
Assemble the tacos:
Line all of the tortillas on plates or a large serving dish. Layer each tortilla with rice, slices of avocado, and the mahi mahi. Top with fresh mango salsa and a drizzle of Green Goddess dressing if you wish.
Garnish each taco with the juice of a small lime wedge.
How to Switch Up Your Tacos
Skip the dressing and use a sauce: Make an easy crema by whisking together 1 cup of sour cream, juice and zest from half a lime, 3 tablespoons adobo sauce (the sauce from canned chipotles) or your fave hot sauce, ½ teaspoon salt.
Use a different protein: Try cod, salmon, hake, tilapia, or halibut. Swap the fish for shrimp or grilled calamari. Chicken, steak, carnitas, or even pork loin work, too.
Add grilled scallions: The blackened char from grill grates add a smokey dimension to tender green onions that compliments the blackening spice used on the mahi mahi.
Add cheese if you please: Fish and cheese pair nicely when it’s a sprinkle of salty cotija or a layer of toasted sharp cheddar or monterey jack cheese crisps. Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Place a silicone baking mat or parchment paper on a baking sheet and pile handfuls (about the size of your street taco tortilla) of shredded cheddar, pepper jack, or monterey jack in circles on the baking sheet. Bake the cheese for 7–9 minutes, or until melted and bubbly but not brown. Place a cheese crisp on top of each tortilla before piling on the rest of the fixings.
Fat: 19 grams
Carbs: 40 grams
Protein: 33 grams
Nutrition info collected from Cronometer.
This delicious recipe was developed and photographed by Courtney Paige.
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