For all the amazing food in Austin, I find myself severely missing two things since moving from San Diego: Sushi, and Mexican food, namely fish tacos. I know, I know, Austin is known for tacos but they just aren't the same! Fish tacos, particularly Baja style remind me so much of childhood. They make me think of salty, sandy, hair, warm evenings riding razor scooters, getting home in time to watch Legends of the Hidden Temple on a Saturday, etc. The best ones usually come from the tiniest, most shitty-looking of shacks. If it's attached to a random gas station, even better. Have I mentioned nostalgia is a hobby of mine?
Let's talk taco constitution. This little number just so happens to have a batter that is perfectly crisp-yet-light, a chipotle-lime crema that brings just the right amount of heat, creamy avo, cotija, tart pickled onions, crunchy radishes, and lots of cilantro. A squeeze of lime sets everything over the top, and if you happen to have a good IPA in your fridge, good on ya.
To kick things off, make your chipotle lime crema. Combine your sour cream or creme fraiche, with 2 tbs chopped chipotle peppers in adobo, your garlic, lime juice, and either puree with a food processor or immersion blender. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
Thinly slice half an onion, and add to a small bowl. Cover with red wine vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, cover with plastic wrap, and add to your fridge as well.
Now, make your batter. Combine 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup corn starch, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt, and whisk to combine. Add one beer, and mix thoroughly to combine. Heat 2" vegetable oil on medium-high heat. Cut your fish into 1" x 3" fillets. I used Mahi-Mahi, that, fun fact, I didn't realize was skin-on when I bought it, and I'm due for a MAJ knife upgrade, so you can imagine my surprise and delight. So note to self when you're at the fish counter, opt for skinless, or if you have a v sweet fish monger, maybe they'll remove it for you. I've also made these tacos with halibut, cod, snapper, , tilapia, and even catfish. They all worked wonderfully, but the Mahi Mahi has such a delicious, clean, base flavor, and a sturdy texture that stands up well against everything going on in these tacos.
I'm not about telling people how to live that garnish life, but do. 👏 Not. 👏 Skimp. 👏 People. 👏 The crunchy radishes and cabbage add extra texture, a good dose of chipotle lime crema adds just the right amount of heat, pickled onions and a healthy squeeze of lime for extra tartness, avo for creaminess, and cilantro for the freshness. Wait. Are tacos actually a thinly veiled lesson in balance? 💭
Happy taco Monday, kids. I hope you're easing into your week. There are tacos ahead. You've got this.
Baja Fish Tacos
1 1/4 lbs Firm White Fish, like Mahi-Mahi
1 c flour
1/4 c corn starch
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
Vegetable oil for frying
Chipotle Lime Crema
1/2 c, plus 1 tsp sour cream
2 tbs chopped jarred chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 large garlic clove
Juice of 1/2 a lime
3 tbs vegetable oil
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1 avocados, sliced
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 head cabbage, thinly sliced