The taco predates the arrival of the Spanish in Mexico. Anthropological evidence suggests that the indigenous people living in the lake region of the Valley of Mexico traditionally ate tacos filled with meat and small fish.
It was during the late 1970’s, fish tacos were popularised (or should I say commercialised!?) by fast food entrepreneurs such as Ralph Rubio – a San Diego native who ended up having a love affair with the fish taco upon his first encounter in Baja.
He (Ralph) went on to launch Rubio’s Coastal Grill (formerly known as Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill) in 1983, an endeavour that now has 160 locations throughout California and the South-Western States of the U.S.
Hence, the modern-day fish taco owes much of its popularity to Baja California, Mexico and its 800-mile stretch of Pacific coastline as the fish taco’s place of origin. That said, one would find just as many versions served up along the Gulf Coast side of Mexico too.
These days, tacos de pescado (fish tacos) usually consist of grilled or fried fish, lettuce or cabbage, pico de gallo, and a sour cream or citrus/mayonnaise sauce, all placed on top of a corn or flour tortilla.
We rustled up these little beauties which went down a real treat. In this recipe, we used, sustainably sourced and responsibly caught cod loin, however most white fish would work well, such as plaice or pollock.
Topped with pickled red cabbage, fresh red chilli and coriander, the Creole tartare sauce adds a real kick whilst providing the right amount of citrus to cut through the crumb of the fish.
Ingredients: Serves 4
For the Fish:
160g – 180g Cod Loin (or white fish of your choice) – skinned pinned & boned
Seasoned Flour – for dusting
Egg Wash – to dredge
Panko Breadcrumbs – for coating
Sweet Smoked Paprika – for seasoning
Salt – for seasoning or to taste
Rapeseed Oil – for frying heated to 180° degrees
For the Taco:
4 Soft Corn Tortillas
175g Pickled Red Cabbage
4 Tbsp. – Creole Tartare Sauce
Red Chilli – sliced (seeds optional)
Small Sprig of Coriander – to garnish
Lime – juiced, plus wedges to serve
Pinch of salt to taste
1) Potion the fish into goujons that are the relevant size for your tortillas. Pat the excess moisture dry from the fish
2), Dust the fish in seasoned flour, dip in the egg wash and coat with the Panko breadcrumbs. Repeat step 2 with the remaining fish.
3) Pre-heat oil to 180 degrees and fry the breaded fish for 10 – 12 mins, until crisp and golden., the drain on paper towel and season with salt and sweet smoked paprika.
4) Whist the fish is frying, warm the tortillas and toss the cabbage with the lime juice and some salt and set aside.
5) To assemble the tacos, spread the tortillas with a little creole tartare sauce and place the fried fish on the tortilla. Top the fish with red cabbage, more Creole Tartare Sauce, then garnish with fresh coriander, red chillies and lime wedges. Serve immediately.