This recipe is inspired by my father. He makes fish tacos at least once a week, and the sauce here is a combination of his two best sauces: his spicy jalapeño cilantro sauce and his tart yogurt sauce.
Fish Tacos with Cilantro Jalapeno Sauce and Mango Slaw
Makes 6 tacos; Serves 2
Recipe by Adeline Waugh
Total Cooking Time: 12 hours, 45 minutes (includes marinating time)
Active Cooking Time: 45 minutes
- 1 pound cod fillet, preferably wild-caught
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika (Cook’s Note: sweet, hot, or smoked – chef’s choice!)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 1 lime, juiced (about 1 tablespoon lime juice)
Cilantro Jalapeno Sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 to 2 tablespoons lime juice (1½ limes)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive or avocado oil
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 1 cup plain unsweetened Greek yogurt
- ¼ small head red cabbage, shredded
- Juice of ½ lime
- Pinch salt
- 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
- 1 mango, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
- 12 corn tortillas
- Fresh cilantro, chopped
- Quick Pickled Pink Onion & Radishes
- Lime wedges
The night (or 12 hours) before you plan to serve the tacos, slice the fish into 4 pieces to allow the marinade to better penetrate. Add the fish to a plastic bag or a food storage container with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the paprika, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, the minced garlic, the vinegar, and about 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Turn the fish to coat it completely in the marinade. Refrigerate the fish for 12 hours or overnight.
While the fish marinates, make the cilantro jalapeño sauce. Add the 3 whole garlic cloves to a food processor or chopper. Pulse until finely minced. Add 1 to tablespoons of lime juice and 1 teaspoon of sea salt and process again. Then add in the entire bunch of cilantro (including the stems) and process until you have a mixture with the consistency of a chutney. Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the jalapeño (use only half of the the jalapeño if you want the sauce a little less spicy). Process until everything is combined. Finally, add in the yogurt and mix everything together until you have a creamy light green colored sauce. Store the sauce in the fridge for up to a week.
To make the mango slaw, combine the cabbage, juice from the half lime, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Massage just until softened, about a minute. Add the carrots and mango and toss gently to combine. Set the slaw aside.
When you’re ready to prepare the tacos, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add the fish and marinade to the pan and bring to a simmer. After 5 to 10 minutes the marinade will have reduced and the fish will start to break up into smaller flaky pieces. Turn up the heat up to medium to brown the fish slightly, but stay near the pan, as you don’t want the fish to overcook. After 10 to 15 minutes total the fish should be completely cooked through.
Lay out doubled-up corn tortillas (2 stacked together to ensure they don’t break once filled) and top them with some pieces of fish. Next pour on some cilantro jalapeño sauce, add some mango slaw, chopped cilantro, and pickled onion and radishes. Serve with a lime wedge to squeeze over top.
Cook’s Note: Warm the corn tortillas so they don’t break when wrapping your tacos! The easiest method to warm several at once is to wrap them in a damp paper towel or a clean kitchen towel and microwave them for 30 to 45 seconds. Alternately, heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add a drop of oil and warm the tortillas a few at a time. Wrap them in a clean dish towel to keep them warm.
Photos by Nicholas Gang