Cookbook Profile

San Diego Fish Tacos

Serves 4


San Diego Fish Tacos While visiting San Diego a number of years ago, I fell in love with fish tacos, that city's signature dish. Cabbage makes a crunchy and nutritious alternative to the iceberg lettuce normally used in tacos. Like most tacos, this one is a little messy to eat, so have plenty of napkins around.


1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup beer
1 large egg
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 fillets white fish such as scrod,
   pollack, snapper, haddock, halibut, or catfish,
   8 ounces each, pin bones removed and
   each fillet cut cross-wise into 6 pieces (by the
   fishmonger if possible)
1 small to medium sweet onion
   such as Vidalia, 4 to 8 ounces
10 sprigs cilantro
1/2 cup light or regular mayonnaise
1/2 cup low-fat yogurt
1 small head green cabbage, 12 to 16 ounces
2 ripe but firm avocados
1 lime
One 12-ounce jar medium-hot salsa
12 flour tortillas, about 8 inches in diameter


1. Put the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Combine the beer, egg, and flour in a medium-size mixing bowl. Stir in the mustard, cayenne, salt, and several grindings of black pepper. Put 6 pieces of fish in the batter, coat well, and add to the skillet. Cook for 3 minutes, turn the pieces, and cook for 3 more minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel-lined platter. Repeat with the remaining 6 pieces. Reduce the heat if needed to prevent burning.

2. While the fish cooks, peel and quarter the onion and remove the leaves from the cilantro sprigs. Put the onion and cilantro in a food processor and pulse several times, or until coarsely chopped. Add the mayonnaise and yogurt tot he processor and pulse just once or twice to combine. Put the onion-mayonnaise sauce in a small bowl.

3. Halve the cabbage lengthwise and remove the core from each half. Place each half, flat side down, on a cutting surface and cut into thin shreds with a chef's knife. (Or shred using the large holes of a four-sided grater or the grating attachment of a food processor.) You should have about 4 cups. Put the cabbage in a small bowl.

4. Halve, pit, and peel the avocados. Cut each half lengthwise into six slices. Lay the slices on a small plate. Cut the lime into 4 wedges and put in a small dish. Put the salsa in a small bowl with a slotted spoon (so you won't get a lot of liquid in your tacos).

5. Bring all the ingredients for the tacos to the table and allow diners to make tacos one at a time as follows: Put a few tablespoons cabbage in the middle of each tortilla. Top with 1 piece of fish, 1 tablespoon of the onion-mayonnaise sauce, 1 tablespoon salsa, 2 avocado slices, and a squeeze of lime. Fold and eat.


Cooking to Beat the Clock:
Delicious, Inspired Meals in 15 Minutes

By Sam Gugino
Photographs by Dawn Smith
Chronicle Books
Paperback, $16.95
40 full-color photographs
Publication Date: January 1999
ISBN: 0-8118-1860-8
Recipe Reprinted by permission.


Cooking to Beat the Clock



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This page created May 1999