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Grilled Fish Tacos

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Serves 6-8

Yields 12 tacos

  • by from Barbecue Nation

A grilled fish taco is a beautiful thing to eat. San Diego and points south are where they originated. Although many of the fish tacos in the area are fried, the grilled ones really stand out and are much lighter.

For the lime-cilantro sour cream sauce:
  • 1 cup sour cream 
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 3 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro
  • Grated zest of 1 lime 
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
For the tacos:
  • 2 tsp. ground ancho chile powder 
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 3 lb. firm-fleshed whitefish fillets (halibut, snapper, mahi-mahi, cod) 
  • 2 dozen 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 2-1/2 cups shredded green cabbage 
  • 2-1/2 cups shredded red cabbage 
  • Pico de Gallo 
  • 4 limes, quartered
To make the lime-cilantro sour cream sauce:

Combine all the ingredients in a 2-cup measuring cup and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate up to 4 hours until ready to use.

To make the tacos:

In a small bowl, combine the ancho powder, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper and stir to mix. Add the oil and whisk until a loose paste is formed. Rub the fish with the spice paste and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.   

Light a charcoal fire or preheat your gas grill on high. Oil the grill’s cooking surface. Let the coals burn down to a medium-hot fire or adjust the gas grill burners to medium-high.

Grill the fish until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop.

Divide the tortillas into 2 stacks and wrap each in aluminum foil. Place on the grill until heated through, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the green and red cabbage.

To assemble the tacos, take 2 tortillas, top it with chunks of fish, a dollop of the sauce, a spoonful of the Pico de Gallo, and some of the cabbage. Squeeze a wedge of  lime over the filling, fold the tortillas, and eat.

Author's Note: Meredith Deeds grew up in San Diego and taught me the ins and outs of the fish taco. These are an adaptation of her mom’s recipe. 

Photo: Brian Hagiwara



Loved these! I HATE cilantro so I wasn't sure I'd like the sauce but the taste wasn't overpowering. The amount of fish and sauce the recipe makes is a bit excessive though. We'll be making these again and again.

Great flavor and easy to prepare. I use greek yogurt in stead of sour cream.

Addictively delicious.

YUMMY and so easy!

Outstanding! A similar recipe recommended thin sliced red onion marinated in red wine vinegar as another accompaniment. It added a nice sour/tangy flavor.

Made this with some fresh Mahi Mahi that we got off the NC coast. Super delicious. The lime-cilantro sour cream was phenomenal. Read more including pictures here http://gustatorydelight.wordpress.com/2011/06/09/fresh-fish-anyone-i-mean-really-fresh-fish/

Absolutely hands down the best fish tacos I have ever had! My husband was floored. I used Cod, being that Halibut is $22.99/pound and Cod is $6.99/pound. I marinated the fillet for about 6 hours before throwing it on the grill. I also made the Cilantro Sour Cream Sauce about 8 hours in advance, so the flavors could mend. I did use homemade mayonnaise in the sauce, though it didn't have any depth of flavor so I added about a tablespoon of vinegar, a tablespoon of garlic powder and about a teaspoon of kosher salt. It ended up excellent. I will absolutely make it again. It's a crowd pleaser and my husband couldn't stop telling me how wonderful it was.

Very good! Used tilapia and that worked fine. Even the kids had seconds.

My husband loved them. I used tilapia. I will probably use a different fish next time. He liked the white sauce. I served them with some salsa and guacamole on the side as well.

Perfect for a hot summer day! Did not use the sauce, and it was not missed.

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