Ordinarily, fish would be fully thawed before cooking, but in this case, it’s fine for the fish to be partially frozen. It allows for easier slicing and a slightly longer frying time without the worry of overcooking the fish. The recipe for the hot sauce yields more than you’ll need for these tacos, but it’s great on everything!
- Creamy Jalapeño-Cilantro Hot Sauce:
- 1 jalapeño, coarsely chopped (seeded if desired)
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled
- 2 scallions, coarsely chopped
- 1 ½ cups (lightly packed) cilantro leaves and stems
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Fish Tacos:
- Vegetable oil for shallow frying
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon chile powder
- Kosher salt
- 2 portions halibut, partially thawed and sliced ½-inch thick
- For Serving:
- Lightly charred warm corn tortillas
- Shredded lettuce
- Sliced red onion
- Cilantro leaves
- Creamy hot sauce
- Lime wedges
- Make the hot sauce: Combine all of the ingredients except salt and pepper in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a jar.
- Make the crispy fish: Set a wire rack over a baking sheet and set next to the stove. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering and a pinch of flour sizzles when dropped in. In a resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, cornstarch, chile powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add the fish, seal the bag, and shake to coat well. Add the fish (in batches if necessary) to the skillet and cook, turning once or twice, until lightly golden brown and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the wire rack to drain. Immediately sprinkle with salt.
- Fill warm tortillas with crispy fish, lettuce, sliced onion, cilantro leaves, and avocado and garnish with creamy hot sauce and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy!
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Pair it Up
These tacos scream beer and we’re hearing hoppy IPA with just enough bitterness to balance the spicy sauce.
Level it Up
Swap shredded lettuce with shredded cabbage for extra crunch.
Change it Up
Sauté leftover fish with shredded corn tortillas and beaten eggs for a killer next-day breakfast scramble. Serve with the jalapeño hot sauce.
Lighten it Up
Spray the coated fish with cooking spray and air fry it for a lighter crust.
Know Your Cook
Culinary Director Grace Parisi is a cook, writer and cookbook author. Formerly the Senior Test Kitchen Editor at Food & Wine Magazine and Executive Food Director at TimeInc Books, her work has appeared in Cooking Light, Health, O Magazine, Epicurious, Fitness, Today, Serious Eats, Martha Stewart, and many more. She’s the author of more than 6 books, among them The Portlandia Cookbook and Get Saucy, which was nominated for a James Beard award for Best Single Subject Cookbook.