Cooking From Every Angle

Low-Maintenance Fish Tacos

By • July 15, 2014 • 24 Comments

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In Cooking from Every Angle, we hear from our fearless leaders: Food52 co-founders Amanda & Merrill.

Today: Amanda shares her recipe for low-maintenance fish tacos -- no frying required.

Roasted fish tacos

I came late to tacos, which I long associated with too many bowls and a marathon of chopping. And while I could eat a fish taco every day, the purist in me never wanted to make them at home. My god, you’d have to deep fry. For a taco. 

I also came late to the realization that I can do what I want in life. And in this life, I’m not going to fry the fish for my fish tacos, dammit! I’m also not going to chop much for them, nor am I going to be suckered into dirtying a bunch of bowls. And now we have delicious fish tacos every few weeks.

Roasted fish tacos

More: If you must chop, here's how to do it like a pro.

Roasted fish is the key to zen fish tacos. By roasting, you can control the speed of cooking and keep the fish moist. Lost crunch from the frying can be made up for with pickled red onion (I usually make a huge batch and then use the leftovers for lunches and any other excuse I can find). The onions get a bowl, as does the avocado, which turns out to be conveniently soft and sliceable by 7-year-olds. Cilantro sprigs and lime -- I put them in a pile right on the countertop for serving -- and Cholula hot sauce on the table make up the rest of it. 

If I make the onions ahead of time (using this magical recipe), I can have fish tacos ready in 15 minutes. While the fish, rubbed with cumin and ground ancho chile powder, roasts, I clean the cilantro and toast the corn tortillas in a dry pan. My kids slice the avocado and my husband pours lemonade and opens beers. You can guess who gets what. 

Roasted Fish Tacos

Low-Maintenance Fish Tacos

Serves 4

For the pickled onions:

1 red onion
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 part water
2 parts cider vinegar

For the fish tacos:

3/4 pound pollack or hake or other good white fish
Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground ancho chile or chipotle 
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pickled onions
1 avocado, cut into 1/8-inch slices, lengthwise
1 bunch cilantro, washed and dried
2 limes, each cut into 6 wedges
12 corn tortillas 
Hot sauce of your choice (we like Cholula)

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom

Jump to Comments (24)

Tags: amanda hesser, fish, tacos, seafood

Comments (24)

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4 months ago cheryl frankfurth

Love reading a recipe from a cook who doesn't want to spend all day chopping the side dishes or using all her dishes to put them in! Thanks Amanda...also thanks to the rest of you who commented with all the other great tips.

Epietzsch

4 months ago borntobeworn

I made this tonight but forgot to actually USE the pickled onions. We'll try them tomorrow on the left-overs. I used a HUGE onion so we have plenty to eat with other dishes too. Thanks!

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5 months ago Dawn

I always bake my fish tacos, never fry. I also crumble the fish up instead of laying one big slab on a taco. It just seems more like a taco that way. I season the same as you or just with chili powder. I steam my corn tortillas because I like them soft and very foldable and I also use pico de gallo (yes you have to chop but it is worth it) and shredded iceberg instead of cabbage. Thanks for putting this up.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

4 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

It's great to hear everyone's personal versions -- thanks for sharing.

Kg_in_evanston_cropped

5 months ago Fairmount_market

My favorite taco topping is pickled radishes: similar sweet/sour brine to the onions. They turn a pretty pink and provide a great crunch.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

4 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Love the sound of this.

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5 months ago lighthouse6

I have been making these for 30 plus years - lucky me : ) But, usually I grill my fish - virtually no clean up, great flavor, just a few minutes and your done!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

4 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Huge fan of grilling the fish, too -- thanks for pointing this out.

Sausage2

5 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Fish tacos with roasted fish is almost a weekly occurrence around here. I actually prefer roasted fish to fried fish at this point. And, I toss chopped tomato, cilantro, and avocado along with shredded cabbage, jalapeno and a bunch of lime juice all together into a single bowl - the topping bowl! Abbie's pickled onions get their own bowl. :)

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

5 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Great idea, Emily! Will be implementing tomorrow night, with gratitude. ;o)

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

4 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks, Emily -- I make a huge batch of the pickled onions and put them on everything until they run out. My kids like to eat them straight.

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5 months ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

TACO TUESDAY! Yippee!!! I usually make some sort of pico to go along as well ... just a bit more chopping ...

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

5 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Have you tried warming your tortillas in the oven too, on a hot pizza stone while the fish is roasting? We do that with uncooked phulka roti when the boys are home which means we're in a serious production mode -- need to make about 10 - 12 for dinner. It works like a charm and is even lower maintenance. You'd want to use a large pizza stone, and make sure you put the cooked ones in a wide, shallow bowl lined/covered with a damp tea towel. Even lower maintenance! We do something similar to this using tamarind + soy glaze on cod, refreshed with lime juice + the same toppings you use (with a few Persian cucumbers for crunch). Will be giving the tortillas a test drive soon. ;o)

P5230044

5 months ago RoseTex10

Hello to AntoniaJames,
What is a pizza stone? Thanks for the oven tip.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

4 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I haven't tried this -- thanks for the idea.

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

4 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Amanda, it works! I test drove it with corn tortillas the other night, heating the stone on the top shelf, placed in the oven before turning it on. They turned out perfectly, with light browning / no burning. I use two rectangular kiln tiles that make a 16 inch square as my pizza stone (more convenient for storing in the oven if you can stack them to one side). You can easily put 6-8 tortillas on at a time, depending of course on their diameter. Your low maintenance tacos just got a lot easier. ;o)

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

4 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Great! Thanks so much for testing it out and reporting back!

Dsc_0048b

5 months ago healthierkitchen

Great! I sometimes make a bowl of Merrill's Salpicon to use for fish tacos!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

4 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

good idea!

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5 months ago carswell

I discovered the concept of fish tacos a couple of years ago - loved the flavour possibilities but hated the idea of deep fried fish being necessary. I dispensed with that right away and have been enjoying fish tacos ever since. I started with catfish fillets dredged in a blackened spice mixture and have moved on to various other spice combos - and condiments to complement.

These look good.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

4 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks!

Farmer's_market

5 months ago amysarah

Looks great - baking the fish is a smart (and lower calorie) idea. Another alternative - not quite as Zen, but adds a little crust to the mix while avoiding deep frying shenanigans: breading thinner filets (flounder, tilapia, etc.) with basic flour/egg/crumb routine, then shallow pan frying like, e.g. chicken or veal Milanese, drained well on paper. A drizzle of sour cream thinned with lime juice is nice on there too.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

4 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Definitely a good way to get the fried effect without heating up so much oil -- thanks.