Tasty, impressive, healthy, budget-worthy, kid-friendly! I gathered ideas from a few different recipes and made it into my own. Every time I make it, yums and ahs abound. Next time your family is screaming for tacos – see what happens with this.
- 1-3/4 pounds tilapia, about 4 fillets, cut into 2″x1/2″ pieces
- 1 cup fresh bread, panko, or cracker crumbs, or a combination (I used 10 saltine crackers and 2 pieces of whole wheat bread this time)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon creole or taco seasoning (I like Emeril’s Essence)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup light sour cream (Daisy is the best)
- juice of one small lime (fresh only please!)
- 2 teaspoons white sugar, or sugar substitute – more or less to taste
- 3 cups loosely packed shredded coleslaw, romaine, iceberg, or a mix of any of these
- 4 scallions, tops removed, sliced 1/4″ diagonally
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Warm corn tortillas, about 8 (see note below)
Place the breadcrumb/saltine mixture in a shallow dish. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, water, and taco seasoning. Pat the tilapia pieces dry with a paper towel, and then season them with salt and pepper. Working with a few pieces at a time, first dip the fish in the egg, letting the excess drip off; then coat the fish pieces well with the breadcrumb mixture. Place the coated pieces on a clean plate. Repeat until all the fish is coated.
Try and use one hand for dipping the fish in the egg mixture and the other for the bread; this will prevent a gooey mess on your fingers (or the fish pieces). I read this over and over on all the recipes ever done with breading, but inevitably, I wind up with goo somehow! One day I will master this coordinated effort…
Now heat two tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. When hot enough to sizzle from a drop of water, add half of the coated fish pieces to the skillet. Fry the fish pieces for about two minutes on each side, until golden and crispy. Transfer the cooked fish to a warm plate lined with paper towels. Cover loosely with foil while you fry the second batch. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, if needed, and repeat the process with the remaining fish pieces.
While the fish is cooking, you can be preparing the slaw topping:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the coleslaw, green onions, and cilantro.
To serve, assemble tacos with two or three pieces of fish in a warm corn tortilla, topped with a tablespoon or two of the slaw topping. On the side I always serve black beans with some grated Mexican cheese called cotija, but crumbled parmesan or romano works equally well. And, if you want the kiddies on board (my kids love the fish tacos, one of them without the slaw..) serve with refried beans topped with shredded cheddar. A great way to get them to eat fish that is not processed!
TORTILLAS: Two ways to warm!
For over-the-top excellent taste and texture, use your non-stick skillet with a tiny bit of oil to toast the tortillas – then stack them in tin foil to keep them warm for serving. This takes a little time, but is so much better than the alternative! Seriously, you made these great fish tacos, don’t shortcut the wrapping.
But, if you’ve absolutely had it and time has run out – the alternative is:
Wrap about 8-10 corn tortillas in damp paper towels; heat in microwave for 20 seconds. With this step, I could put this recipe on the “quick and easy” category or tag list, but I chose not to, if you really want it to be great spend the extra five or ten minutes!