Be honest. Don’t you think most fish tacos are bland, bland, bland? Do you consistently order them at your local Mexican joint, then scan the table, coveting your companion’s dinner three bites in? I can’t be the only one!
I’ve come up with a solution for all of us. A fast, easy, and economical one to boot! These ancho-rubbed fish fillets broil in five minutes, becoming a perfectly spiced base for your mango salsa and avocado crema laced tacos. The margarita is up to you.
Southwestern Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa and Avocado-Lime Crema
serves 4 generously
for the tacos:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 pounds tilapia fillets
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- corn or flour tortillas
- avocado crema (recipe below)
- mango salsa (recipe below)
- 2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage
- 1 lime cut into 8 wedges
Place ancho powder, cumin, garlic powder, and kosher salt in a small bowl, stirring to combine. Line a sheet pan with foil. Cut each tilapia fillet lengthwise at the natural divide and place all in a shallow dish. Drizzle fillets with the oil, then sprinkle with spice mixture, rubbing all over to coat evenly. Let stand while making the crema and salsa.
Heat broiler with oven rack in highest position. Place fish fillets on the foil lined sheet pan and broil for about five minutes, or until fish is opaque and just firm (5 minutes for every half-inch of thickness). Rest for five minutes, then break into pieces with a fork.
Warm the tortillas then build tacos with fish, crema, salsa, cabbage and a good squeeze of lime.
for the avocado-lime crema:
- 1 large, ripe avocado, halved and pitted
- 1/4 cup sour cream (preferably regular, not low-fat)
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-3 tablespoons water
Scoop flesh from avocado peel with a spoon and place in a food processor. Add sour cream, lime zest, 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, salt, and one tablespoon water, processing until completely smooth. If crema is too thick to drizzle, add more water a few teaspoons at a time until desired consistency is reached. Test for seasoning, adding more salt or a splash of lime juice if needed.
for the mango salsa:
- 1 large ripe but firm mango, peeled, pitted, and small diced (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 of a small red onion, finely diced (about 1/3 cup)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 fresno chiles or 1 jalapeño
Place all ingredients in a medium bowl except the chiles.
Remove stems from chiles then cut in half lengthwise. Scrape seeds from chiles (and the white membrane if using jalapeño) and discard, then finely dice the flesh. Both fresnos and jalapeños vary in heat from mild to hot, and the only way you’ll know is by tasting. Add as much diced chile to the bowl with the other ingredients as you’d like according to your heat preference. Stir to combine.