Mar 23, 2015

Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Sauce

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Fish tacos pair well with Coronas or a margarita, and make for the perfect Taco Tuesday.

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In college Tuesday meant that it was Taco Tuesday at Dukes, a restaurant in Malibu just down the street from my apartment where they served $2 fish tacos at the “barefoot bar”. One semester I made it there every week. My college claim to fame. Since then they have changed the tacos recipe there so this pan-fried fish taco recipe is an homage to those weekly trips.

Coming from the East Coast I had never had fish tacos like those from Duke’s before. And as many times as I have had them, I never get tired of the flakey fish served over a bed of cabbage in a flour tortilla. Fish tacos pair well with Coronas or a margarita, and make for the perfect Taco Tuesday. The fish is coated in seasonings and pan-fried in a pan until cooked through and almost blackened.

Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Sauce

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Fish – While I use tilapia in this recipe it can easily be substituted with another mild whitefish like halibut or cod. Since it has such a mild flavor, it is a good fish for people who aren’t as prone to liking seafood. 
  • Spices – The fish is seasoned with a combination of cayenne and paprika with salt and pepper for a flavorful fish with a slight spice. As the fish cooks in the pan the spices slightly caramelize on the outside giving it a blackened crust.
  • Tortillas – This recipe can be made with either corn or flour tortillas based on preference. Using corn tortillas keeps this recipe gluten-free.
  • Pico de gallo – Adding pico over the tortillas gives it a flavorful boost. While you can use store-bought I recommend making your own using my easy recipe here.
cilantro lime white sauce cooking with cocktail rings

How to Make Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Sauce

For the fish:

  1. Season fish. In a small bowl stir the cayenne and paprika together. Cut the white fish fillets into about 4 strips per fillet and season with cayenne/ paprika mixture, salt and pepper.
  2. Add fish to pan Heat a large non-stick sauté pan over medium heat, add the vegetable oil and heat through. Add the strips to the pan, working in batches if necessary so the pan is not overcrowded.
  3. Cook the fish. Cook the fish until it easily lifts from the pan, about 3 minutes. Flip the fish and cook until just cooked through, about an additional 3 minutes. Set aside and cover.

For the cilantro white sauce:

  1. Mix sauce. Mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic, lime juice, cilantro and black pepper together in a small bowl.
  2. Store. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

For serving:

  1. Toss cabbage. Toss together the shredded cabbage to combine.
  2. Assemble and serve the pan-fried fish tacos. Add some of the shredded cabbage to warmed tacos and top each with a slice of fish. Top with pico and about a tablespoon of the cilantro lime sauce. Serve with lime wedges.
fish tacos with cilantro lime sauce

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

  • This fish can also be cooked on the grill.
  • I like to keep it simple with toppings though you can add other favorites.
  • I use a combination of sour cream and mayonnaise for this cilantro lime sauce though Greek yogurt can be substituted instead for a lighter twist.
closeup fish tacos with cilantro lime sauce cooking with cocktail rings

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Sauce

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the fish:

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 pound white fish fillets, I prefer tilapia
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the cilantro lime sauce:

  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For serving:

  • 9 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas
  • ½ cup shredded red cabbage
  • ½ cup shredded green cabbage
  • ½ cup pico de gallo
  • Lime wedges

Instructions:

For the fish:

  • In a small bowl stir the cayenne and paprika together. Cut the white fish fillets into about 4 strips per fillet and season with cayenne/ paprika mixture, salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large non-stick sauté pan over medium heat, add the vegetable oil and heat through. Add the strips to the pan, working in batches if necessary so the pan is not overcrowded.
  • Cook the fish until it easily lifts from the pan, about 3 minutes. Flip the fish and cook until just cooked through, about an additional 3 minutes. Set aside and cover.

For the cilantro white sauce:

  • Mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic, lime juice, cilantro and black pepper together in a small bowl.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

For serving:

  • Toss together the shredded cabbage to combine.
  • Add some of the shredded cabbage to warmed tacos and top each with a slice of fish. Top with pico and about a tablespoon of the cilantro lime sauce. Serve with lime wedges.

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  1. So I moved in with my boyfriend and all of a sudden started to cook!!!! Honestly never been into cooking before lol. I tried quite a few recipes on Pinterest and this one is so far my favorite!! I even decided to post a comment! It’s super delicious!! Little modifications though… I had no tomatoes (apparently my bf ate it earlier🙄) so instead of pico de gallo I made guacamole with jalapeño (basically just mashed avocado and jalapeño plus spices) and for fish I used wild Cod – yummy!! Thank you for sharing this recipe – highly recommend!!