These Ensenada Fish Tacos Recipe served with Spicy Mayo are made with cod, flour, spices, corn tortillas and served with a delicious pico de gallo.
Fish tacos are a delightful culinary creation that originated in the coastal regions of Mexico and have since become a beloved dish around the world. Combining the flavors of tender, flaky fish with an array of vibrant toppings and sauces, fish tacos offer a tantalizing blend of textures and tastes that are sure to please seafood lovers and taco enthusiasts alike.
The essence of a fish taco lies in the harmonious balance of ingredients. It typically starts with succulent pieces of white fish, such as cod, tilapia, or halibut, which can be seasoned, breaded, or grilled to perfection. The fish is often marinated in a zesty mixture of lime juice, garlic, and spices, infusing it with a tangy and aromatic profile.
What are Fish Tacos?
Fish tacos are a popular dish that originated in coastal regions of Mexico and have gained popularity worldwide. They typically consist of a tortilla filled with pieces of fish that are seasoned, breaded, or grilled. The fish is usually white fish such as cod, halibut, or tilapia, but other types of fish like shrimp or salmon can also be used.
The combination of flavors and textures in fish tacos is what makes them so delicious. The crispy fish, the fresh and vibrant toppings, and the tangy and creamy sauces create a mouthwatering experience. Fish tacos are often served with side dishes like coleslaw, rice, beans, or salsa to complete the meal.
Fish Tacos Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- White fish
- Onion powder
- Corn tortilla
- Pico de gallo
- Canola oil
- Spicy Mayo
See recipe card for this Fish Tacos Recipe quantities.
How to make Fish Tacos
In a shallow dish, add the flour, paprika, onion powder, ground cumin, sea salt, and pepper. Dip the fish into flour mixture and repeat with rest.
In a small saucepan on medium heat, heat up ½ inch oil. Oil should read 375°F on a candy thermometer. Fry the fish for 3 minutes on each side, until the fish reaches 145 degrees F.
Assemble the tacos. Top each warm corn tortilla with fish.
Add the pico de gallo, cilantro, and the spicy mayo sauce on top.
Best way to warm a tortilla
- Over a Gas Stove Flame – I love to use this method because it gives the tortilla a light char and it warms up quickly. Toast the tortilla directly over a low flame on a gas stove. Use tongs to rotate the tortilla, about every 20 seconds. Keep close watch as you toast the tortilla.
- On a Cast Iron- Heat a large cast iron over medium-high heat. Add tortillas in a single layer and toast 20 seconds on each side until warm on each side.
What to serve with Fish Tacos
- Mexican Rice: Serve fish tacos with a side of flavorful Mexican rice. The rice can be seasoned with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices like cumin and chili powder. Check out my Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice.
- Refried Beans: Traditional refried beans are a classic accompaniment to Mexican dishes. They can be served as a side dish or even used as a topping for the fish tacos.
- Guacamole: A creamy and tangy guacamole made from ripe avocados is a fantastic addition to fish tacos. It adds richness and a burst of fresh flavor.
- Corn on the Cob: Grilled or boiled corn on the cob brushed with butter and sprinkled with chili powder or lime juice can be a delicious and satisfying addition to the meal. Check out my Flamin Hot Cheetos Corn.
- Salad: A simple side salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette can provide a fresh and light contrast to the fish tacos.
Flour: If you would like for the fish to be keto, use almond or coconut flour. I used all purpose flour and it worked wonders.
Spices: I used a combination of paprika, onion powder, cumin, salt and pepper and it was marvelous. If you happen to have Mexican oregano, that is perfect for this recipe too. I would even use Old Bay Seasoning.
Pico de Gallo: Feel free to get creative with the pico de gallo. You can make your own or jut buy in the store. I have seen people add chopped mango or pineapple into their pico to add a tropical flavor to the fish tacos.
Cilantro: I love adding chopped cilantro on these tacos. You could use chopped scallions, chives or parsley as well.
Tortillas: Feel free to use flour or corn tortillas. I have seen a combination of both they are starting to sell now, or even a low carb tortilla.
Fish Tacos Recipe Variations
- Baja-Style Fish Tacos: This is a classic variation inspired by the cuisine of Baja California in Mexico. It typically features beer-battered fish, such as cod or halibut, deep-fried until crispy. Serve the fish in warm corn tortillas with shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, a squeeze of lime juice, and a creamy sauce like chipotle mayo or Baja sauce.
- Grilled Fish Tacos: For a healthier twist, opt for grilling the fish instead of frying it. Marinate your choice of fish in a mixture of lime juice, garlic, and spices, then grill until cooked through. Serve in tortillas with grilled vegetables, avocado slices, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.
- Blackened Fish Tacos: Add a spicy kick to your fish tacos with a blackened seasoning. Coat the fish fillets in a blend of spices like paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and black pepper. Sear the seasoned fish in a hot skillet until blackened and cooked through. Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, pickled onions, and a tangy sauce like chipotle crema.
- Mango Salsa Fish Tacos: Add a tropical twist to your fish tacos with a refreshing mango salsa. Prepare a salsa by combining diced mango, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Pan-fry or grill the fish, then assemble the tacos with the fish, mango salsa, shredded lettuce, and a drizzle of creamy sauce like avocado crema.
Check out this Mexican Veracruz Style Fish.
To make my Fish Tacos Recipe, you'll need some basic kitchen equipment. Here's a list of equipment commonly used to prepare fish tacos:
- Frying Pan or Deep Fryer: Ensenada fish tacos often involve deep-frying the fish. You can use a frying pan with high sides or a deep fryer to achieve a crispy and golden exterior. Make sure to have a slotted spoon or tongs for removing the fish from the oil.
- Mixing Bowls: Various mixing bowls in different sizes will be useful for marinating the fish, preparing batters, and assembling toppings.
- Whisk or Fork: You'll need a whisk or fork to combine ingredients for marinades, batters, and sauces.
- Knife and Cutting Board: Essential for prepping vegetables, cutting fish fillets into smaller pieces, and slicing garnishes like limes, onions, and cilantro.
- Tongs: Tongs are handy for flipping the fish while frying or grilling, as well as assembling tacos.
- Measuring Spoons and Cups: Accurate measurements are important for achieving the right balance of flavors in marinades, batters, and sauces.
- Slotted Spoon: A slotted spoon or spatula is useful for draining excess oil from the fried fish.
- Thermometer (Optional): If you're deep-frying the fish, a cooking thermometer can help you monitor the oil temperature to ensure the fish cooks evenly.
- Tortilla Warmer (Optional): If you want to keep your tortillas warm and soft, a tortilla warmer can come in handy.
- Serving Platters and Plates: Use these to present and serve your delicious Ensenada fish tacos.
How to store Fish Tacos
If you have leftover fish tacos or want to store them for later, here are some guidelines to help you store them properly:
- Separate the Components: If possible, separate the components of the fish tacos before storing. Remove any remaining fish from the tortillas and separate the toppings and sauces.
- Store Fish Separately: Place the cooked fish in an airtight container. You can store it as whole fillets or break them into smaller pieces.
- Refrigeration: Fish tacos should be stored in the refrigerator to keep them fresh. Place the container with the fish in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking.
- Toppings and Sauces: Store the shredded cabbage or lettuce, diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro, sliced jalapeños, lime wedges, and sauces in separate airtight containers or resealable bags. Keep them refrigerated as well.
- Tortillas: Tortillas can become soggy when stored with the other components. To prevent this, store the tortillas separately in a plastic bag or wrap them in foil or plastic wrap.
- Label and Date: It's a good practice to label the containers or bags with the date of storage. This will help you keep track of how long the fish tacos have been in the refrigerator.
- Consume within 3 Days: For best quality, it's recommended to consume the stored fish tacos within three days. After that, the flavors and textures may start to deteriorate.
- Reheating: To reheat the fish, you can lightly pan-fry it or warm it in the oven until heated through. Warm the tortillas in a dry skillet or wrap them in foil and heat in the oven.
- Assemble Before Serving: When you're ready to enjoy the leftovers, assemble the fish tacos by placing the reheated fish in the warmed tortillas and adding the toppings and sauces.
Fish Tacos Recipe Top tips
- Choose Fresh Fish: Opt for fresh, high-quality fish for the best flavor and texture. Look for fillets that are firm, have a mild smell, and glistening flesh.
- Season and Marinate: Season the fish with salt, pepper, and any desired spices before cooking. For added flavor, marinate the fish in a mixture of lime or lemon juice, garlic, and spices for at least 30 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Properly Coat the Fish: If you're breading the fish, make sure to coat each piece evenly in flour, cornmeal, or breadcrumbs. Shake off any excess coating before frying or grilling to achieve a crispy texture.
- Maintain Proper Oil Temperature: If deep-frying the fish, ensure that the oil is at the correct temperature (around 350-375°F or 175-190°C). Use a cooking thermometer to monitor the oil temperature for consistent and evenly cooked fish.
- Use the Right Tortillas: Choose soft corn tortillas for a more authentic experience, but flour tortillas work well too. Heat them on a dry skillet or in the oven before assembling the tacos to make them pliable and easier to fold.
- Don't Overload the Tacos: When assembling the tacos, be mindful not to overfill them with toppings. This will help prevent them from falling apart when you take a bite.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove