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Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

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Serves 4-6

Yields 12 to 16 tacos.

  • To learn more, read:
    A Trio of Soft Tacos
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 64

The fish taco, one of Mexico's most creative tacos, was made first by street vendors in the Baja California port of Ensenada. It's filled with crisp, beer-battered fresh fish and garnished with shredded cabbage and a spicy tartar sauce.

For the spicy tartar sauce:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tbs. minced pickled jalapeño
  • 2 Tbs. dill pickle relish
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. yellow American mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
For the fish:
  • About 2 qt. vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup beer
  • 2 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks
  • 1 lb. firm fillets of mild, white fish (such as bass, cod, or haddock), cut into strips about 4-1/2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide, or 1 lb. frozen batter-fried fish fillets
For serving:
  • 12 to 16 corn tortillas (5 to 6 inches wide), warmed
  • 1-1/2 cups finely shredded green or purple cabbage (about 1/2 small head)
  • 2 limes, quartered
  • Pico de Gallo 

Make the sauce: Mix all the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl; refrigerate for up to 5 days.

If using fresh fish: Fill a large, deep, heavy pot with vegetable oil to about 11/4 inches deep. Heat the oil to about 350°F. (To check the oil temperature, use a deep-fry thermometer, or add a cube of bread to the oil, which should bubble immediately.)

Meanwhile, prepare the batter: Mix the flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl and stir in the beer until smooth. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites.

Season the fish with salt. To cook the fish, work in batches of about three or four pieces at a time. Using kitchen tongs, dip each piece in the batter, let any excess drain off, carefully submerge the fish in the hot oil, and fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels.

If using frozen batter-fried fish fillets: Bake them according to the package instructions.

To serve: Just after the fish comes out of the fryer (or oven), arrange in a heated dish on the table. Next to it set the tartar sauce, hot tortillas, shredded cabbage, lime quarters, and pico de gallo so each person can assemble his or her own tacos.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings; Calories (kcal): 680; Fat (g): fat g 44; Fat Calories (kcal): 390; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 10; Protein (g): protein g 21; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 19; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 48; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 9; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 970; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 80; Fiber (g): fiber g 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Amazing!! You will get addicted! I use the spicy tarter sauce on everything!! Enjoy!

Insane tacos!!! I highly recommend this recipe. The tartar sauce was excellent. I will not make fish tacos any other way.

Wow, this is good! Fish is moist, and batter is light a crunchy. Everything about this recipe is great. Wouldn't change a thing.

Really easy with high quality results. Great for a party

This is the lightest beer batter recipe I have tried so far. The fish came out light, not too greasy, and crispy- a monumental feat! Delicious and definitely a keeper.

Delicious combination of flavors. Loved the tartar sauce with the pico, I added avocados. Family asked for this once a week! Delicious!

What a tasty dinner! We made it tonight and it was such a hit. The batter fried fish was full of flavor and the tartar sauce, pico de gallo, and cabbage were the perfect accoutriments. Well done, Fine Cooking! I wouldn't change a thing.

I have been trying to find the perfect fish taco for a while now, since becoming addicted to them in Hawaii. Here I have found it. The only things I do differently are, I blend the sauce ingredients in a blender, and I mix red onion, cabbage and cilantro together for the topping. Love these!

Wow! The blend of all the different elements was perfect. It was just a party in my mouth. A must try!

This batter is the secret weapon. The fried fish is light and very tasty. My kids eat the fish by itself. The sauce is flavorful without being too overpowering. Great tacos!

This recipe was so good. Everything about it was excellent. I used frozen cod. The beer batter made it nice and crunchy. We loved the tartar sauce and the pico de gallo with it. Can't wait to make it again!

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