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Something fishy going on around here

February 24, 2017

Cathie Campbell/For The Madera Tribune

Serve some tasty fish tacos and garnish with any and all of your favorite toppings.

There is something about fish tacos that make me want to eat more than I reasonably should. But I am kind of picky about them.

I much prefer the fish to be grilled rather than battered and fried, not just for health reasons, but also because I can’t stand it when I take a bite and mostly get just fried batter. I don’t want to have to poke around to see where the fish is.

Speaking of fish, good choices are fillets of mahi-mahi, swordfish, halibut (my favorite), red snapper, rockfish, tilapia, catfish or cod. I love a fresh pineapple or mango salsa and shredded cabbage as garnishes. If you love fish tacos as much as I do, here are some recipes for you to check out.


Beer-battered fish tacos
2 pounds red snapper fillets
Small amount flour
1 dozen corn tortillas (or small flour tortillas)
Beer batter recipe (follows)
Spiced white sauce (follows)
Shredded cabbage
Shredded cheese of your choice
Fresh lime wedges
Oil for frying

Beer batter
1 large egg
1 cup flour
1 cup beer or ale
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Mix the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl.

  2. In a small bowl, blend the egg and beer; quickly stir into flour mixture. (Don’t worry about lumps.) This can also be used as a tempura batter for vegetables or shrimp, etc.


Spiced white sauce
1 small hot chile pepper of your choice, finely minced
1 teaspoon capers, finely minced
1/2 cup plain, unflavored yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Fresh lime juice as needed
1/2 teaspoon crushed Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed dill weed
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Ground white pepper to taste


  1. Mix yogurt and mayonnaise together; stir in fresh lime juice just until mixture is slightly runny. Add minced hot pepper and capers.

  2. Blend in spices and mix until all ingredients are well blended.

To make the tacos:


  1. Cut fish fillets into approximately 2- to 3-ounce portions. Dust with flour and dip in prepared beer batter. Deep fry the batter-coated fish in hot oil (375) until crisp and golden brown. Remove and drain.

  2. Serve fish wrapped in warmed, folded corn tortillas and garnish with shredded cabbage, spiced white sauce, chopped tomato and avocado and shredded cheese. Try a squeeze of fresh lime juice over the whole thing and enjoy.


Ortega’s Baja fish tacos
From Ortega, naturally.


1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 package (1.25-oz.) Ortega Taco Seasoning Mix, divided
1 pound cod or other white fish fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 package (12) Ortega taco shells, warmed

Toppings: Shredded cabbage (or lettuce), chopped tomato, lime juice, Ortega Thick & Smooth Taco Sauce


  1. Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro and 2 tablespoons seasoning mix in small bowl.

  2. Combine cod, vegetable oil, lemon juice and remaining seasoning mix in medium bowl; pour into large skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with fork.

  3. Fill taco shells with fish mixture; top with cabbage, tomatoes, sour cream mixture, lime juice and taco sauce.


Halibut tacos with guacamole sauce
4 pieces fresh halibut, steak or fillets, about 6 to 8 ounces each.
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lime, juiced
3 small to medium, ripe avocados, pitted and scooped from skins
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, depending on taste
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
1 heart Romaine lettuce, or cabbage if you prefer
12 soft (6-inch) flour tortillas


  1. Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill to high heat. Drizzle halibut with olive oil keep fish from sticking to the grill. Season fish with salt and pepper to taste. Grill fish 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until opaque. Douse fish with juice from 1 lime and remove from grill. In a bowl, flake fish into large chunks with a fork.

  2. While fish is cooking, in a blender or food processor, combine avocado flesh, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, yogurt and salt. Process guacamole sauce until smooth. Remove to a bowl and stir in diced tomatoes and chopped scallions. Shred lettuce and reserve.

  3. When fish comes off the grill, blister and heat soft taco shells and slather with guacamole sauce. Add fish and top with shredded lettuce or cabbage, then fold over and serve.

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