I figured since Cinco de Mayo is upon us, why not make some fish tacos for dinner this evening! The last fish taco recipe I followed from Food and Wine made me weep with delight so, naturally, it was the first site I went to when looking for a new recipe. I definitely wanted to use tilapia since I had a package in my freezer that I bought from Trader Joe last week. And since I feel like having a “special sauce” can take a recipe from standard to phenomenal in a matter of seconds I was on the lookout for unique flavor combinations.
I ended up stumbling upon a recipe for Crispy Fried-Fish Tacos and with sauce ingredients including hoisin, sweet pickle relish, and mayonnaise, I knew this was the one!
Crispy Fried-Fish Tacos
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
• 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
• 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon garlic salt
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
• 1 lb. tilapia fillets, cut into 4×1 inch strips
• 2 large eggs, beaten
• 3 cups bread crumbs (the recipe calls for panko, which I didn’t have, so I used 2 cups plain breadcrumbs and 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs)
• 3 cups vegetable oil, for frying
• corn tortillas, warmed
• shredded green cabbage, lettuce leaves, cilantro and sliced scallions, for serving
In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the hoisin sauce, pickle relish, and lemon juice. I’ve never mixed hoisin sauce with mayonnaise before, and I must admit, I’ve never once even thought about combining the two, especially with relish. But this sauce was “Oh my gosh, this is so good, why didn’t I know about this earlier”… sauce.
Would you tell on me if I confessed to you that I ate a couple spoonfuls?
And then continued to dip my fingers in the sauce while waiting for the fish to fry? You won’t tell. We’re all friends here
Next, you’re going to combine the flour, garlic salt, onion powder, salt, and white pepper in a large zip-lock bag. Seal the bag closed and shake, shake, shake. Then add your fish in and continue shaking, making sure the fish is nicely coated. This is what will make the fish nice and crispy, so a nice coating is key!
Awkward photo of fish in a bag.
In two separate bowls, add the beaten eggs in one and the breadcrumbs in another.
Dip the fish in the eggs first followed by the breadcrumbs and place on a plate. All while having a ridiculously messy countertop. Duh.
Begin to heat your vegetable oil in a large skillet. Once heated, begin adding the fish and cook for about 3 minutes (1.5 minutes each side), over moderate heat. Place on a paper towel-lined plate.
Now, it’s time to construct the taco! Obviously the second best part. Eating it is, of course, the first best.
Start by adding your lettuce, scallions, and cilantro, as little or as much as you like.
Then add the crispy fish. Sooooo crispy.
And drizzle the heavenly hoisin mixture over the top. I can taste this all over again right now just from looking at the photo.
I served mine with a side of grilled corn (!!!) all while having the biggest smile on my face (dork alert) because this was melt-in-your-mouth wonderful. I actually text my sister as I was eating to tell her how I wish she and my brother-in-law lived closer so I could bring them some. She still insisted I drive the 40-minutes to bring them. Which I did not do.
Also, drinking a margarita while enjoying these fish tacos is almost mandatory. Especially since it’s Cinco de Mayo. And, because I said so
In other news, I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to all of you for the fried pickle suggestions! You all left some great tips so I’m definitely going to have a round 2 ASAP and will share the results.
How are you celebrating Cinco de Mayo? Besides making these fish tacos, that is