Baja Fish Tacos


Let me just start my saying these are in NO WAY comparable to the amazingness that is the fish taco in Baja. There is just no re-creating that magic. I swear, if I could eat one single food for the rest of my life, it would be the real deal fish tacos from any street vendor south of Loreto. But, since I live so very far away from there, I have to make do — and this is my go-to fish taco recipe. I know this doesn’t really sound like a hard sell on these, but don’t get me wrong. These tacos are incredibly yummy, they definitely hit the spot, and I always get weirdly giddy the moment before I dig into a plate of them. Now that I’m thinking back to Baja, I’m realizing it has been a decade since I’ve been there! I took a road trip, driving from Montana to La Paz, and turned 30 on a little spit of beach on the Sea of Cortez. Seems high time to plan another trip there, no? Maybe I could get some tips from the taco-making pros. 

Baja Fish Tacos
For the Salsa
  1. 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
  2. 1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  3. 1 garlic clove, minced
  4. 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  5. 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
For the Cream Sauce
  1. 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  2. 1/2 cup sour cream
  3. 2 limes, 1 halved and 1 cut into wedges
  4. Salt and pepper to taste
For the Fish
  1. 1/2 cup flour
  2. 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  3. 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  4. 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  5. 1/2 cup milk
  6. 1/4 cup peanut oil, plus a splash more for greasing pan
  7. 1 pound flounder or any firm white-fleshed fish, cut across the grain of the flesh into strips about 1/2 inch wide by 3 inches long
For the Rest
  1. 12 6-inch fresh corn tortillas
  2. 2 cups shredded red or green cabbage
  3. Hot sauces of your choice
  1. 1. Make the salsa: Combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro and jalapeño in a medium bowl.
  2. 2. Make the cream sauce: Whisk together the mayonnaise and sour cream until well-combined. Squeeze juice from the two lime halves. Season with salt and pepper and mix.
  3. 3. In a shallow bowl, mix together the flour, chili powder, salt and pepper. Pour the milk into another shallow bowl and place the pieces of fish into it to soak.
  4. 4. Place a 12 inch frying pan over medium-high heat and add 1/4 of the peanut oil. Heat until it shimmers and is about to smoke. Remove the fish pieces from the milk, dredge in the flour and add to the pan. Don't crowd the fish. Cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes on one side. Then flip and cook for 1 more minute. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Keep warm. Repeat until all fish is cooked.
  5. 5. Heat the tortillas, one or two at a time, on a lightly greased skillet until they are soft and hot. Keep them warm, wrapped in a dish towel.
  6. 6. Fill each tortilla with 3 pieces of fish, followed by tomato salsa and a pinch of cabbage. Drizzle with the cream sauce. Provide lime wedges and hot sauce on the side.
Adapted from New York Times Cooking