Tilapia fish tacos
Simple fish tacos are even more delicious if you use sustainable fish like tilapia.
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In the process, Regal Springs has turned a commodity fish into a premium product. While they don’t sell tilapia to the consumer market under their own name, it is sought after by food service companies and restaurants alike. The most reliable source for home cooks is in the freezer case at Costco. Their Kirkland private label brand is Regal Springs tilapia from Honduras. That’s where I found the fillets for these tacos. They were amazing. At one point, I practically touched my nose to the thawed fillets and smelled no fishiness or muddiness at all. And the taste was clean, delicate and mild.Skip to next paragraph
Terry Boyd is the author of Blue Kitchen, a Chicago-based food blog for home cooks. His simple, eclectic cooking focuses on fresh ingredients, big flavors and a cheerful willingness to borrow ideas and techniques from all over the world. A frequent contributor to the Chicago Sun-Times, his recipes have also appeared on the Bon Appétit and Saveur websites.
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Pan Seared Tilapia Fish Tacos
Makes 4 tacos (can be doubled)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 6-ounce tilapia fillets (or other mild white fish – see Kitchen Notes)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 6-inch flour tortillas
I used chopped fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced green onions and roughly chopped cilantro to top them and served lime wedges on the side. In addition, you can use diced avocado, your favorite salsa, chopped jalapeños, chopped onions or other taco toppings you like. Don’t go crazy, though – you don’t want to lose the taste of the fish.
Prepare the fish. Mix the chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon olive oil and the juice of 1 lime in a small bowl. Arrange the fish fillets in a glass baking dish or on a nonreactive platter (no metal). Brush fillets on both sides with spice mixture and season with salt and pepper. Let marinate at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over a medium flame. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom and sauté the fillets until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and break into bite-sized chunks with a fork.
Warm the tortillas. Heat a large dry skillet over medium-high flame and slightly brown the tortillas one at a time, about 30 seconds per side. You can also nuke them in the microwave (they won’t brown, but they’ll be nice and pliable) or if you want to live authentically and dangerously, you can lay them directly over a gas burner, browning them briefly and carefully on both sides.
Assemble the tacos. Divide fish among four tortillas and add your favorite toppings. Cut the second lime in wedges and serve with the tacos.
Go fish. If you can’t find tilapia, you can substitute any mild, firm-fleshed white fish. Orange roughy, cod, flounder or red snapper would all be good choices.
Related post: Sautéed Walleye Fillets with Tarragon
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