June 08, 2015 | Updated November 06, 2020
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Anyone who’s ever been to Southern California or Baja, Mexico knows how awesome fish tacos can be. We eat them like New Yorkers eat bagels, or Wisconsinites eat brats. Which means all the time.
Every time I make fish tacos, the accompaniments are different, but there’s always lime, pickled onions, a salsa and avocados.
Fish tacos come in two basic types: Grilled and fried. Mostly what you get at taquerias are fried fish tacos, and my rendition of this works really well — and is a lot lighter than you might think. Why? Tempura. I used that lighter-than-air Japanese batter on the fish, to keep things clean. You’ll see.
As for what fish to use, I used California halibut, which, like it’s larger cousins, is a very firm, very white fish. You can use pretty much anything.
If you want to do a great spread, make some fish ceviche to go with these tacos, so people can switch off between fried fish and the zippy marinated fish in their tortillas. Serve with plenty of beer.
Fried Fish Tacos
- 1 to 2 pounds of your favorite fish
- 4 to 6 cups vegetable oil for cooking
- 3/4 cup rice flour or all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup ice cold sparkling water
- 1 egg yolk
- Corn or flour tortillas, heated
- Sliced avocados
- Red onion, chopped and soaked in lime juice
- Salsa of your choice
- Cut the fish into pieces that will fit inside a tortilla. Salt the fish and set aside. Heat the oil in a heavy pot or fryer until it's 350°F. While the oil is heating, mix all the dry ingredients for the batter -- the flour, corn starch, baking soda and salt -- in a large bowl. Have the egg yolk and icy sparkling water handy.
- Heat the oven to"warm." Set a wire rack on a baking sheet and put that in the oven.
- When the oil is hot, mix the egg yolk and sparkling water into the batter. Do not beat the heck out of it, you want it lumpy and barely incorporated. Dredge a piece of fish in the batter and slowly dip into the hot oil. Doing this slowly allows the bottom of the fish to set a bit, which reduces the chance the fish will stick to the bottom of the pot. Repeat with as many fish pieces as you can get into the hot oil without crowding.
- Fry until golden, using a chopstick or fork to flip the pieces over. This should take between 4 and 8 minutes depending on the thickness of your pieces. When they're done, move the fish to the rack in the oven and repeat with the remaining fish.
- When all the fish is ready, move it to a platter and arrange all the accompaniments to the table. Let everyone make up their own tacos.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
My goodness, was this good!
Fresh Haddock from Harbor Fish!
We did the GF route with rice flour. Massive hit.
Added a little (ok a lot) bit of Old Bay into the powder before the eggs and water, and also some 12 spice salute from Trader Js. I guess you could do anything, really. The breading was LIGHT and wonderful and my gluten-free buddies were psyched!
Hank Shaw, you are a national treasure. Elk barbacoa, elk chile, Carbonnade, and Chile Colorado are all staples here.
Much respect from Portland, Maine.
I’ve made this several times with halibut and it’s a crowd favorite! Boar’s Head make a fiery chipotle mayo that is an easy fabulous add on.
This was great. As expected. Used walleye. I intend to use this batter for all my tempura in the future. Like a cloud. I used all purpose flour and, having no plain sparkling water, used lime lacroix, which I think maybe enhanced it.
Thank you for the creation. Pinning !
I need a recipe that leaves out the refined vegetable oils please, as these are very unhealthy. Grilled fish tacos? Thanks Hank!
Your photos are positively drool worthy!
Looks great. I plan on using it with searobins- one of my favorite underappreciated fish. I head back to Long Island NY each summer (currrently live in the Monterey Bay Area) and love eating these fish and that most other folks look down their noses at.