Last week I was in San Diego (I know! I’ve got loads to tell you about it – coming very soon), and one of the meals we all completely loved was a visit to Galaxy Taco in La Jolla. San Diego is really close to the border with the Baja Californian Peninsula, so it makes sense that a lot of the cuisine has a Mexican influence. I loved my beef taco but had massive food envy for the crispy fish tacos that a couple of the others had ordered. The fish has a Baja spiced crispy coating and is served on soft tacos with a zingy tomato salsa laced with green chilli and heavenly fresh guacamole. I decided to recreate the dish for the boys when I got home and this is the result – I’m sure it’s not 100% authentic – especially the spicing, but it tastes pretty good! If you read my last post, you’ll know that Crisp ‘n Dry are supporting RNLI’s Fish Supper fundraising event this weekend and I thought that a whole bunch of these yummy Baja fish tacos with fresh tomato salsa and guacamole on the side would be perfect if you’re joining in (more of that on my creamy fish pie recipe here).
For the tacos you need a firm white fish. I used MSC certified cod from the supermarket, but also consider hake or haddock. I find it best if you get the sides ready first, then fry your fish just before serving. That way it’s piping hot and really crispy.
For the fresh tomato salsa
4 large, ripe tomatoes
1 fresh green chilli, deseeded
½ medium red onion
Large bunch fresh coriander, chopped
1 lime, juiced
Salt and pepper
To stop the salsa becoming too watery, cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out all the seeds first. Then just chop them into very fine dice – as tiny as you can manage.
Deseed and finely slice the chilli, then same again with the red onion, again both as finely as you can.
Stir the chopped tomatoes, chilli, onion and chopped coriander together, squeeze over the lime juice and season with lots of salt and pepper. Leave it aside at room temperature while you prepare everything else so the flavours really come together.
For the guacamole
2 large, ripe avocado
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 large ripe tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
Large bunch fresh coriander, chopped
The easiest way to do this, honestly, is to take the stone out of the avocados and scoop the flesh straight into a mortar along with the onion, tomatoes and chilli and just bash it all together with the pestle. If yours isn’t big enough, just bash the avocados one at a time (they don’t need to be completely smooth – it’s nice to have a bit of texture) and then stir it all together in a bowl. Finally, add loads of coriander, a big squeeze of lime and plenty of seasoning. Drizzle with a little oil, if you like.
For the fish, I used panko breadcrumbs because I had some in the cupboard that were open and needed using up, but I also tend to have breadcrumbs in the freezer as I whizz up leftover bread and pop it in there occasionally. You can also just use wholemeal flour if you like.
For the crispy fish
500g cod loin fillets, cut into finger sized pieces
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
1/2 tsp paprika
Generous amount of salt and pepper
1 pack panko breadcrumbs
Crisp ‘n Dry oil
8 small corn tortillas
So firstly, set yourself up with a little work station: in the first bowl, pop your flour and season it with the garlic powder, chilli and paprika, then season it really well with salt and pepper. In the next bowl, crack your egg and whisk it with a fork. In the third bowl, add your panko breadcrumbs. A couple at at a time, pop the pieces of cod first into the seasoned flour, then the egg, then finally the breadcrumbs, then place them on a piece of baking paper ready to fry.
Heat up a few tablespoons of the oil in a heavy based frying pan (you really don’t need that much). Now fry the pieces of coated fish until golden (depending on the size, this should take about 4-5 minutes). Get everyone together ready to construct their tacos, adding the fresh tomato salsa and guacamole, then topping with a couple of pieces of the crispy cod. Finish with some extra coriander. Delicious!
For more inspiration, Crisp ‘n Dry has a wide variety of recipes available online here.
If you’re on a budget
Leave out the guacamole as avocados are notoriously expensive. Swap the panko breadcrumbs for home made. Also don’t forget to check the discounted section as fish has a reasonably short shelf life so you’ll often find some choice cuts there.