Spicy Fish Tacos and My Must-Have Taco “Toppers” for Cinco de Mayo!

This weekend I’m going to make my family’s favorite spicy fish tacos for Cinco de Mayo! We’ll set up a  “taco bar” for guests so they can build their own tacos with the condiments they like. We’ll mix top shelf margaritas and have a fabulous time. Fish tacos are always a hit at my house, not just on Cinco de Mayo but any night of the week. I like to use fresh Red Snapper, Halibut or Mahi Mahi filets because their firm flesh holds shape when cooked. Don’t forget to serve these tacos with my delicious condiments and salsas (recipes below).  Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! Spicy Fish Tacos

Yield: 10 to 12 tacos
10 to 12 com tortillas
3 tbls. paprika
2 to 3 tsp. cayenne pepper (depending on your taste)
3 tbls. flour
3 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 lb. of white fish (snapper, halibut, or mahi mahi) cut into 1-inch wide strips, patted dry
2 tbls. neutral oil
1 cup of shredded green cabbage (about ¼ of a small head – Napa cabbage works well)

Suggested Condiments (recipes below):

Pickled Red Onion and Jalapeños
Baja Cream
Tomatillo Salsa Verde
Salsa Fresca
Fresh Cilantro Sprigs
Fresh Lime Wedges


  1. Heat  both sides of each tortilla over an open flame on medium heat until it bubbles. Keep the tortillas warm in a tortilla warmer or wrap the stack of tortillas in foil and keep them warm in the oven at 200 degrees.
  2. Combine the paprika, cayenne pepper, flour, black pepper, oregano and salt in a bowl.
  3. Add the oil to a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium high heat.
  4. Dredge the fish pieces in the spiced flour mix. Add the coated fish to the hot pan and fry until crisp and golden brown.
  5. To assemble, place a portion of fish inside the tortilla and add preferred condiments. Top with shredded cabbage (and more dressing if desired).

My must-have taco “toppers” for Cinco de Mayo:

Whether they’re for topping your tacos, fajitas, burritos, or fresh tortilla chips, it wouldn’t be a true Cinco de Mayo party without these condiments on your table: Salsa Fresca, Pickled Red Onion and Jalapenos, Baja Cream, Tomatillo Salsa Verde, and Guacamole. Try them out this weekend!

1. Pickled Red Onion and Jalapeños

1 red onion (about 12 ounces), halved lengthwise, cut thinly crosswise
5 whole small jalapeños
2 cups seasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt


Place onion and jalapeños in heatproof medium bowl. Mix vinegar, lime juice, and salt in small saucepan. Bring just to boil, stirring until salt dissolves. Pour over onion and jalapeños. Let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

2. Baja Cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon (packed) finely grated lime peel
Pinch of salt


Whisk all ingredients in small bowl. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

3. Tomatillo Salsa Verde

12 ounces tomatillos,* husked, stemmed, divided
4 green onions, white and green parts separated
1 jalapeño chile
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 1/4 cups (packed) fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lime juice


Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly oil roasting pan. Char half of tomatillos, white parts of green onions, and jalapeño directly over gas flame or in broiler. Transfer charred vegetables to prepared roasting pan. Add remaining tomatillos and garlic to pan. Roast until vegetables are soft, about 12 minutes. Cool.

Stem and seed jalapeño. Place all roasted vegetables, green onion tops, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon lime juice in blender. Puree until smooth, stopping to push vegetables down into blades several times. Transfer to medium bowl. Season with salt and more lime juice, if desired.

4. Salsa Fresca

1 lb. (approximately 7) roma tomatoes, diced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
juice of one lime
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tbls. champagne vinegar
2 tbls. sugar


Combine the tomatoes, cilantro, onion, and lime juice.  Set aside to let the flavors meld.

Copyright Pamela Keith 2012

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