Asian-Style Fish Tacos with Wilted Cabbage Slaw

This recipe and photography were provided courtesy of local cookbook author and chef, Carla Snyder. Learn more about Carla and discover her recipes at Ravenouskitchen.com or in her cookbook, One Pan Whole Family. 

There is nothing quite like a fish taco and the good news is that it’s easy to make using tender local perch, which blends so beautifully with these tasty taco toppings. Perch is the perfect size for a taco since there is no need to trim it down to fit the tortilla and their small size means they cook up fast. Rice vinegar, soy, honey and sesame oil season bagged slaw to a T and the zippy lime mayo and avocado add richness and depth to what might be one of my favorite dinners. I’ve kept it simple here but feel free to add pickled red onions (see below), jalapenos and sliced bell peppers to jazz it up if you have the time.

It’s that easy: You can make pickled onions in no time. Combine 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl and microwave until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot — about 2 minutes. Immediately add 1 small thinly sliced red onion and push it under the liquid. Let sit for 10 minutes, then use it as you’d like. Keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Asian-Style Fish Tacos with Wilted Cabbage Slaw

Start to finish: 40 minutes
Hands on time: 30 minutes
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 limes
  • 1-lb Lake Erie perch, filets separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt plus more for sprinkling
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 8-oz packaged coleslaw mix
  • 10 to 12 corn tortillas, warmed
  • Roasted peanuts as an accompaniment

Instructions:

  1. On a large cutting board, peel, pit and slice the avocado and transfer it to a small plate. Chop the cilantro and slice the green onions and transfer them to a medium bowl. Mince the garlic, halve 1 lime and quarter the other and set them aside. Sprinkle fish with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.
  2. Beat the egg and water in a medium shallow dish and add the flour and Panko to two separate plates.
  3. Combine the vinegar, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, soy, honey and sesame oil in a small bowl.
  4. Combine the mayonnaise and the juice of 1/2 lime in another small bowl.
  5. Dredge the fish in the flour, the dip to coat in the egg and dredge in the Panko, coating all sides.
  6. Heat a 12-in skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1/3 cup vegetable oil. When the oil shimmers, add the seasoned fish to the pan in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook the fish for 2 minutes, or until browned.  Turn it over with a spatula and cook the other side for 1 minute or until crispy and browned. Transfer the fish to a plate and keep warm while cooking the remaining fish in the same manner.
  7. Pour out any oil left in the pan (I pour it onto a wadded paper towel in the sink and throw it away once cooled), add the garlic to the hot pan and sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the vinegar mixture to the pan and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and quickly add the coleslaw mix, stirring to combine it well. Immediately transfer the warmed slaw to the bowl with the cilantro and green onion, mixing well. You don’t want it to wilt completely. Taste and squeeze in the remaining halved lime and a sprinkle of salt and pepper if it needs it.
  8. Warm the tortillas, covered with microwave-safe wrap in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  9. Serve the slaw, avocado, fish, tortillas, quartered limes, lime mayo and peanuts at the table for the family to assemble their own tacos any way they like them.

Tips:

Extra Hungry Kids? Double wrap the tacos with two tortillas instead of just one.

Adult Taste Buds? Pickled onions, anyone? (see It’s that easy).

In the Glass: I like beer with tacos and just about any beer you want to drink will be terrific with the fish. Why not try something local you’ve never tried before? Any IPA will work beautifully.

For more recipes from this series on how to cook Walleye, visit the index here

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Carla Snyder
Posted by: Carla Snyder
Carla has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, food writer and author of 6 cook books including the James Beard nominated Big Book of Appetizers. Her passion is sharing fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals that cut prep time and practically eliminate that nightly sink full of dishes. Look for Carla on Facebook, Twitter (carlacooks), Pinterest and at ravenouskitchen.com where she blogs about everything from cooking for two to easy weekend entertaining for a crowd.

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