One of my favorite places to travel to is San Jose del Cabo, in Mexico. San Jose is this beautiful little art town at the very tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. The landscape is a hot, arid and rather prickly set up against the beautiful deep blue Sea of Cortez. It’s an oasis in the desert and one I never tire of. The food is fresh and simple and my favorite thing to eat is the fresh fish tacos. Anytime I’m missing Mexico I make my version of these spicy fish tacos at home.
My fish tacos are lighter than the ones you might typically get in Mexico because I don’t deep-fry my fish. Instead I use a delicious spice rub (Chili Lime Rub) that I get from Williams and Sonoma, then I sauté my fish filets in my cast iron skillet. As soon as the fish comes out of the hot skillet I hit it with a squeeze of fresh lime juice then I cover it with foil and let the fish rest while I heat up my tortillas. Then I fill my charred corn tortillas with the fish, a little shredded cabbage slaw, my chipotle sauce, pickled red onions, and a little crumbled queso fresco. My fresh and spicy fish tacos will transport you directly to a beach in Mexico in just one bite. I can hear the waves now…
Mel’s Spicy Baja Style Fish Tacos
Step 1: Make all the Taco Toppings
All of these topping are super easy and make a great addition to the fish tacos. I usually make my toppings at least 2 hours before I cook my fish to give all the ingredients time to marinate.
1 clove of garlic
2 Chipotle Chilies in Adobo sauce + 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce
½ Cup of Mayonnaise
The juice and zest of one lime
2 tablespoons of fresh Cilantro
Salt and Pepper to taste
Put all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and blend until everything is well combined. Taste for seasoning.
Pickled Red Onions:
1 medium-sized red onion thinly sliced
The juice of one lime
2 pinches of salt
Place the thinly sliced red onion, lime juice, and two pinches of salt in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Give everything a good toss and let the onions marinate for at least 2 hours.
1 package of shredded cabbage
A handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
The zest and juice of one lime
1 small clove of garlic, grated
1 thinly sliced Serrano chili (optional)
2 Good pinches of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper to taste
Toss all of the ingredients together in a large bowl then cover and let the slaw sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Step 2: Cook the Fish and Heat the Tortillas
I use tilapia for my fish tacos but any good quality white, flakey fish works great.
4 Large filets of Tilapia
Chili Lime Rub from Williams and Sonoma (or preferred Mexican dry rub)
8 Corn Tortillas
Salt and Pepper to taste
Drizzle the fish with a little vegetable oil and liberally sprinkle on the Chili Lime seasoning. Rub the seasoning all over both sides of the fish and let it marinate for 15 minutes.
Heat up a large cast iron skillet with ½ cup of vegetable oil. Cook the fish for about 4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fish filets over medium heat. Place the fish on a plate, squeeze a little lime juice on top, and sprinkle on a pinch of salt. Cover the fish with foil and let rest.
I heat up my corn tortillas on the grates of my gas stove top until they are soft and slightly charred. It takes about a 30 seconds on each side. You can also use a grill pan, outdoor grill, or just heat them in the microwave wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel for 1 minute.
After you have heated the tortillas, flake up all of the fish in to small pieces. Then place the fish on a tortilla, followed by the cabbage slaw, pickled red onions, the chipotle sauce, and if you like a little crumbled queso fresco.
Hope you enjoy these fresh and spicy tacos as much as I do!
The Arc and Lovers Beach in Los Cabos, Mexico.