I thought about leaving the post at that, but maybe you need a little more convincing. Being a SoCal transplant, you quickly learn that fish tacos are the state food, the lifeblood of the residents, and are the first real food babies try after milk.
Ok, all of those are false, but fish tacos are a big deal! More so in San Diego than in L.A., but truthfully you don’t have to search too hard to find yourself a baja fish taco anywhere is Southern California.
So what exactly is a baja fish taco? It’s a crispy, deep-fried firm white fish (many are pollock, halibut or even mahi mahi), loaded with shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, a tangy cream sauce, occasionally a sprinkling of cheese, all tucked into a flour tortilla. Squeeze a little fresh lime on top and dot it with hot sauce, and you are about to experience an explosion of flavors and a burst of textures.
Fish tacos are best served in good company and with good beer, and this particular baja fish taco recipe includes beer right in the batter. It makes for an incredibly light and crunchy batter that compliments without overwhelming the freshness of the fish.
So no matter where you live, grab yourself a group of friend and some good Mexican beers and whip up a few gazillion of these babies for your Cinco de Mayo celebrations this weekend.
It will be the best thing you’ve done all year.
- 1 cup seeded and diced tomatoes
- 4 teaspoons finely diced red onion
- ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
- juice of 1 lime
- salt, to taste
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves, cut into thin strips
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1½ tablespoons milk
- juice from half a lime
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground Mexican oregano
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces (1 bottle) cold beer, more if batter needs thinning
- 2 pounds firm, meaty fish (I used mahi mahi, but you could use halibut or pollock)
- juice from 1 lime
- canola oil, for frying
- flour tortillas
- lime wedges
- ½ head red cabbage, shredded
- hot sauce, optional
- cheese, optional
- Combined all the ingredients and mix well. The pico de gallo is ready to use now or it can be stored in a covered container and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
- Place the mayonnaise in a small bowl and slowly stir in vinegar. Add the milk until the sauce is thick and creamy. Finish with a squeeze of lime. Mix well.
- For the batter, whisk together the flour baking powder, garlic, cayenne, oregano and salt and pepper in a large bowl until well blended. Stir in the beer until there are no lumps.
- Cur the fish into pieces the size and shape of your index finger. Sprinkle with lime juice and salt.
- Pour oil in a deep, wide pan to the depth of 2 inches and heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees.
- Pat the fish dry with a paper town and dip the fish into the batter. It should be the consistency of medium-thick pancake batter, add more beer if it seems too thick.
- Remove fish from batter, letting excess batter drip, and gently place into the hot oil. Cook a few pieces at a time until they float.and the batter is crispy and golden brown, about 4-5 minutes.
- Fill the tacos with the shredded cabbage and pico de gallo. Top with fish and spoon white cream sauce over top.
- You can also at this point top with cheese, squeeze a lime wedge and/or add your favorite hot sauce.