These Blackened Fish Tacos have a different flavor combination than most, and it's incredible! With a couple of unexpected ingredients in the mix, they're spicy, cool, soft, crunchy, hearty and a touch sweet -- all at once! You won't be able to get enough.
These blackened tacos are a fusion of Cajun and Mexican flavors.
I've been making and perfecting them for years.
(I often suggest brands I love and use — these are only suggestions and this is not a sponsored post.)
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- ground oregano
- ground thyme
- smoked paprika - Paprika is made from dried, ground red peppers. It ranges from mild to hot -- use whatever intensity you like. I love smoked paprika -- the peppers used have been smoked, which adds a delicious smoky flavor to dishes.
- salt - I cook with Kosher salt. I prefer it for a few reasons: its larger flake size, it's less refined and usually doesn't contain additives, and it does a great job enhancing the flavor of foods without making them taste salty.
- cayenne pepper
- Petrale Sole fillet - Or another firm, mild fish like Mahi Mahi or Cod. Always buy the freshest fish possible. If you have a specialty fish market near you, that's probably your best bet.
- sour cream - Crema Mexicana will also work.
- chipotles in adobo sauce - Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce are jalapeño chiles that have been dried, smoked and packed in a sauce made of tomatoes and spices. They come in a can and you should be able to find it in any major grocery store.
- avocado - Ripe avocados should yield to firm gentle pressure. They should feel slightly soft but not “mushy” to the touch.
- Pickled Cabbage Slaw - Here's my easy recipe for it.
- lettuce - I use Romain.
- tomato salsa - I use El Pato Salsa de Chili Fresco in this recipe. You can find small cans of it in almost any major grocery store.
- fresh tomato - Choose tomatoes that are slightly firm, but have a little give when gently squeezed, and they should have a deep red color (or whatever the color is intended to be).
- pimiento stuffed Spanish olives
- limes - I find that limes with a smoother skin are usually the juiciest.
- corn tortillas - Or flour, as long as they're about a 6-inch diameter.
- neutral oil - I use grapeseed, but vegetable works well too.
- I use Petrale Sole in this recipe. You can substitute with Mahi Mahi or Cod. Any mild, somewhat firm, white fish will work well. (Note that the cooking time will change slightly depending on the thickness of the fillets.)
- When I had the Blackened Fish Tacos I mentioned above in Hawaii, they were served with El Pato Salsa, which is why I chose it. However, use any salsa you like.
- You can swap black California olives for the Spanish green olives, but I would not recommend using a strong flavored olive (i.e. Kalamata).
- The spice mix for the fish has a touch of cayenne. Use more or less, depending on the amount of heat you want. For a big group, you might want just a pinch in case it's too hot for some.
- These are soft tacos. If you prefer, you can sauté the tortillas in a hot pan with oil to crisp them.
- I wouldn't skip the sour cream-honey-chipotle mixture! It puts blackend fish tacos over the top.
(See recipe card below for quantities.)
How to Make Them
- Make the pickled cabbage and set it aside. Ideally, this should be made at least 3 hours ahead. The longer it sits in its marinade, the better it will be.
- In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, onion powder, ground thyme, ground oregano, smoked paprika, salt and cayenne. Set aside.
- In a small serving bowl, combine the sour cream with the chipotles in adobo and honey. Season to taste with a bit of salt.
- Place the fish fillets on a clean, dry surface and coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with the oil. Heat the pan over high heat.
- While it's heating, sprinkle both sides of the fillets evenly with the spice mix.
- Once the pan is very hot, add a few of the coated fillets to it. You should hear a sizzling sound when they hit the pan -- if you don't, it's not hot enough yet. There should be a bit of space between each fillet, so if your pan isn't large enough for all of them, just sauté in batches. Sauté the fish just until it's cooked through, about 1 minute per side (for Petrale Sole).
- Once the fish is cool enough to touch, break it into smaller pieces. Set aside.
- Warm the tortillas in the oven or over a low flame on the stove.
- Make a taco bar with all of the taco "fillings." See Taco Bar Checklist below.
Taco Bar Checklist
Whenever you have a crowd or small group for tacos, it's fun and easy to set everything out in serving bowls and plates. This way everyone can customize their tacos to their own taste.
Below is a list of the taco bar "essentials" that are included in this recipe . . .
- avocado slices - Drizzle with lime so they keep their color and sprinkle with salt to maximize their flavor.
- diced tomatoes - Sprinkle with salt to maximize their flavor.
- sour cream-honey-chipotle mixture - This is incredibly delicious! For most taco bars, plain sour cream is fine, too.
- pickled cabbage slaw
- lime wedges - Make sure there are at least two per person.
- shredded lettuce
- salsa - This recipe includes one, but it's fun to have a couple of options.
- warmed tortillas - Wrap the the warm tortillas in a cloth kitchen towel or napkin.
*I don't serve cheese with fish tacos. For other proteins like chicken or beef, I like to use grated cheddar or pepper jack.
More Delicious Taco Recipes
- Halibut Blood Orange Ceviche Tacos
- Pepper Jack Turkey Lettuce Tacos
- Pickled Tomato-Pulled Pork Tacos
- The Ultimate Breakfast Taco
- Spicy Potato Soft Tacos
What to Make Ahead
Following the guidelines below, several of the taco bar items can be prepped a least a day ahead, and some a few hours ahead.
- The pickled cabbage should be made at least 3 hours ahead, but you can make it up to a few days ahead.
- You can add the cut limes, sour cream-honey-chipotle mixture, shredded lettuce, olives, pickled cabbage and salsa to small serving bowls a day ahead of time. Keep them refrigerated, covered tightly with plastic wrap until you're ready to serve.
- The avocado and tomatoes can be prepped a few hours ahead. The avocado should be drizzled with lime juice so it keeps its color. Do not sprinkle either of them with salt until you're ready to serve. These can be kept at room temperature or refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap.
- You can coat the fish with the spice mix a few hours ahead. The fillets should be in a single layer on a plate, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated until you're ready to cook it.
- For the best results, the fish should not be cooked until the last minute.
I hope you love these Blackened Fish Tacos as much as my family and I do!
Blackened Fish Tacos Recipe
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 1½ teaspoons honey
- 1½ teaspoons chipotles in adobo sauce, minced
- approximately 2 medium-sized avocados, thinly sliced
- 2½ cups Pickled Cabbage (click here for the recipe)
- 1 cup Romaine lettuce, shredded
- ¾ cup El Pato Salsa de Chili Fresco (or another salsa you like)
- ¼ cup tomato, washed and dried, finely chopped
- ¼ cup Pimiento Stuffed Spanish olives, sliced
- 2 medium-sized limes, washed and dried, cut into about 6 wedges each
- about 15 small (6 inch) flour or corn tortillas
- grapeseed oil for the pan (or other neutral oil, like vegetable)
- 1 pound Petrale Sole fillet, (or other firm, mild white fish like Cod or Mahi Mahi)
- Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Prepare the spice mix. In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, onion powder, ground thyme, ground oregano, paprika, salt and cayenne. Set aside.
- Flavor the sour cream. In a small serving bowl, combine the sour cream with the chipotles in adobo and honey. Season to taste with a bit of salt. (Here's How to Season to Taste.)
- Prepare the fillings. Add the sliced avocados, pickled cabbage, salsa, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sliced olives and lime wedges in serving bowls. Set aside.
- Sauté the fish. Place the fish fillets on a clean, dry surface and coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with the oil. Heat the pan over high heat. While it's heating, sprinkle both sides of the fillets evenly with the spice mix. Once the pan is very hot, add a few of the coated fillets to it. You should hear a sizzling sound when they hit the pan -- if you don't, it's not hot enough yet. There should be a bit of space between each fillet, so if your pan isn't large enough for all of them, just sauté in batches. Sauté the fish just until it's cooked through, about 1 minute per side (for Petrale Sole). Once the fish is cool enough to touch, use a fork to break it into smaller pieces to fit in the tortillas. Place them on a large plate. Set aside.
- Warm the tortillas. Spread the tortillas out on a sheet pan and place them in the preheated 375°F oven just until they're warm, about 5 minutes.
- Serve! Place all of the prepared ingredients in their serving bowls and plates on the table and let everyone make their own tacos.
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