Crispy Corn Crusted Fish Tacos with Jalapeno Lime Sauce, a fabulous mexican-inspired dinner idea your family will love!
I’ve always been a person of strong conviction. Someone who carefully, thoroughly, weighs out the attributes of a certain belief or feeling, then makes a determined resolve about the matter.
I’m not rigid… I don’t think.
I love to listen and discuss other mindsets and points of reference. But afterward, I usually feel just as emphatic about the ideal I hold. As a child I decided there was something entirely wrong with wet bananas, and wouldn’t eat fruit salad for years! Certainly, no one has ever accused me of being wishy-washy.
Truth be told, I hate to deep fry.
HATE. IT. You could say it’s a conviction. It’s a matter of health. It’s the lingering smell of dirty oil in my house that seems to hold its ground for days.
It’s the splatter clean-up afterward, and the fact that I always end up with little grease spots on my shirt.
It’s the idea that it takes an entire bottle of oil to fill a pan… Then you are supposed to strain and reuse your filthy oil when finished. Does anyone actually do that?
All things considered, I don’t like frying, and therefore seldom do it. I simmer, sear, poach, roast, broil, and grill with the best of them, but I don’t fry.
However, in the last several years, I’ve developed a love-affair with cast-iron skillets. Iron skillets, as you know, were made for frying, and I sometimes feel mine get the short end of the stick.
This has caused me to rethink my intense disdain for frying. Will I ever deep fry again? Maybe not. But I have given pan-frying a second chance. After all, I tell myself, it really isn’t any different than sauteing…
Things I have decided to pan fry?
HERBS. I do this to flavor oils, as well as to crisp up the herbs for an unexpected garnish. Flash-fried sage, rosemary and basil leaves are divine sprinkled over just about anything!
CHEESE. Breaded, pan fried cheese is wonderful as an appetizer, on top of salad, or floating in soup.
FISH. Although, I enjoy grilled and roasted fish just as much, there are times when a lightly fried fish fillet is necessary for a dish to reach its full potential.
Fish Tacos, for example, would represent one of these times. Of course, you could grill your fish for the tacos. I have done this many times. Yet, there is no substitute for that crunchy fried crust, holding in all the moisture, keeping the essence of the fish intact, separating the cold veggies and sauce from the hot fish!
Why would you want to mess that up? I surely don’t.
Today I’m sharing one of my oldest recipes, Corn Crusted Fish Tacos with Jalapeno Lime Sauce, a classic fish taco recipe with massive crunchy appeal.
Cornmeal is my weapon of choice for breading fish. It creates a thin coat with a rustic texture.
I also like to select a fish that has thin fillets. Although I love halibut and mahi-mahi, when I’m frying, even just pan frying, I want it to be done quickly. Thin fillets cook up fast.
To finish off these Corn Crusted Fish Tacos with Jalapeno Lime Sauce, top your perfect pan fried fillets with shredded cabbage and cool creamy jalapeno-lime sauce. Viola!
Proof that there are times (be-they-few) that one must question one’s convictions.
Corn Crusted Fish Tacos with Jalapeno Lime Sauce
- 1 1/2 pounds catfish tilapia, or swai
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
- 8-16 tortillas (white corn tortillas are traditional)
- 1 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
- 2 large tomatoes chopped
- 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 limes cut into wedges
- 2/3 cup light mayo
- 1-2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 chopped jalapeño (pickled if sensitive to heat)
- Bottled hot sauce for garnish
- Lime wedges for garnish
- Mix the mayonnaise, lime juice, and chopped jalapeno in a small bowl. Salt and pepper to taste, then put in the fridge. I use a pickled jalapeno when I’m serving this to children because it provides great flavor, but isn’t as hot as a fresh jalapeno.
Chop all veggies and set aside. Heat a large skillet to high heat. Cut the fish into 1x3-inch strips. Drizzle oil on the fish, then salt and pepper both sides.
- Pour the cornmeal into a pie pan. Roll the fish strips in cornmeal, shaking off the excess.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil to pan. When it’s hot, cook half the fish strips 1-2 minutes per side, until opaque and flaky. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish. Remove the fish from the pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat.
- Warm the tortillas in the microwave. Divide the fish between 8 tortillas. (You can double up the tortillas so they won’t break.) Then top each with cabbage, tomatoes, cilantro and jalapeno-lime sauce. Serve with lime wedges and hot sauce.