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Baja Fish Tacos with Avocado and Tilapia

When I was working in Santa Monica, fish tacos were a staple at lunchtime.  The great thing is that there's no shortage of places in Southern California to get some great tacos.  One of my favorite spots by far was Sharkees in Manhattan Beach for some killer Baja-style Fish Tacos.



Purists will note that I've made some modifications from what one might call a true baja-style (as opposed to a cabo fish taco which involves grilled fish instead) to make these healthy fish tacos.

First, the fish in baja tacos is usually halibut or mahi-mahi, is beer battered and then fried.  I've opted for a pan fry with lightly floured fish instead. I also go with tilapia for the fish since it's widely available, more affordable and eaily cooked.

Though, come summertime, when the grill is back out, I totally intend to make these grilled baja fish tacos....

(If you're wondering about the sustainability of Mahi Mahi, and other seafood, Seafood Watch is a great starting point to research updated information on fish stocks and catching methods.)

The second defining element of the fish taco is the cream sauce that's drizzled over the fish.  It really is delicious.  However, the two top ingredients are mayonnaise and Mexican crema (a tangier sour cream variant).  In place of the cream sauce, I suggest either slices of avocado or guacamole.

Finally, there's the cabbage.  Green cabbage is traditional, though I've opted for red cabbage instead.  Mainly because I think it has a better flavor.  Plus there's the benefit of it having slightly more Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Iron than it's green counterpart.  Shred the cabbage very finely with a box grater and toss it with lime juice, salt and pepper.

The other building blocks are cilantro, red onion and tomato.

One word about salsa.  I'm not a big fan of it on the fish tacos unless it's used immediately before eating.  Why?  It leaves you with soggy tortillas.  In the time it takes to eat the first taco, your second taco will be a fall-apart mess.  That's great for pulled pork, not so much for handheld tacos.



Check out other great quick, easy and healthy recipes

Make a tasty Egg Salad Sandwich with Tofu instead of Eggs

It's a bright, zesty salad dressing that only takes minutes to prepare

A simple, delicious pesto that can be prepared in 10 minutes or less


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Baja-Style Fish Tacos
Traditional fish tacos, with some minor variations
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 tacos
Ingredients
  • 2 pieces Tilapia
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 cup Purple Cabbage (shredded)
  • 2 Avocados
  • 2 Limes (1 juiced, 1 cut into pieces)
  • 1/4 cup Red Onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 Plum Tomatoes (seeded and chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro
Instructions
  1. Place a small amount of cooking oil in a pan over medium heat
  2. Season the fish with the Old Bay and lightly dredge it in flour
  3. Cook the fish, 3-5 minutes per side (depending on thickness) to get a nicely browned coating
  4. Let the fish rest for a few minutes and either shred with a fork or cut into pieces
  5. Toss the cabbage with the juice of 1 lime, salt and pepper
  6. In separate bowls, place the cheese, tomatoes, avocado, onion, cabbage, cilantro and fish for plating
  7. Garnish with lime and enjoy with a Dos Equis or Pacifico

Featured on: Disney's Babble.com, May 2013, 15 Tilapia Recipes you Gotta Try!