Here’s an easy Blackened Fish Tacos recipe that will make everyone happy at the table. Tender fish with a spicy flavorful blackened crust, tucked into warm corn tortillas with a seriously scrumptious slaw!
This blackened fish tacos recipe is easily manageable for a weeknight dinner. ‘Blackening’ is a flavorful technique for cooking fish, and it’s fast. The slaw is creamy, crunchy, spicy, wonderful, with shredded red cabbage and white onions tossed with a puree of sour cream, jalapeño peppers, cilantro, and lime juice.
Blackened fish is a Cajun dish invented in late 1970’s by New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme when he was head chef at Commander’s Palace. His blackening technique was an instant hit in the South and quickly spread in popularity to the rest of the country.
Prudhomme is credited with popularizing Cajun-style cooking in America. In 1979 he launched his own New Orleans restaurant K-Pauls Louisiana Kitchen, where one of his signature dishes was, and still is, blackened locally-sourced drumfish. He serves it with vegetables and mashed potatoes.
How to make blackened fish tacos
The most important thing to know about making blackened fish is that it creates a lot of heat and smoke. An outdoor grill is ideal. If you’re cooking indoors, be sure to use a cast iron skillet and turn your exhaust fan to the highest setting. Be careful if you are using a non-stick pan, some coated pans are not safe to use at high temperatures. Cast iron is a great choice for high heat cooking.
- Brush the fish with oil or melted butter and sprinkle on the blackening spices: paprika, brown sugar, oregano, garlic powder, salt, cumin and cayenne.
- Heat up your Cast Iron Skilletover high heat – on the grill or on the stovetop. Get it nice and hot. Then add the fish and sear it. It will only take 2-3 minutes per side to cook through.
- The high heat of the cooking surface creates a fragrant black spice crust on the fish while keeping the inside tender and juicy.
- The accompanying slaw can be made ahead of time. Combine sour cream, cilantro, lime juice and jalapeños in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Toss with sliced onions and shredded cabbage.
Fish tacos – putting it all together
- Heat the tortillas in the oven, wrapped in foil.
- Divide the blackened fish evenly among the warm tortillas.
- Top with the slaw and avocado slices.
- Spoon on any remaining cilantro lime sauce from the bowl of slaw.
- Garnish each taco with cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
What kind of fish works best for blackened fish tacos?
Choose firm white fish fillets such as snapper, tilapia, grouper, catfish, halibut or flounder. Any of these will hold up to high-heat searing and will taste delicious with the blackening spices.
If you have time, you may want to try making these fish tacos with homemade corn tortillas!
Here’s the recipe for blackened fish tacos. If you try this recipe I hope you’ll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I’d love to know what you think!Print
Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw
A quick recipe for flavorful blackened fish tacos with cilantro lime slaw.
Adapted from a recipe in Cooking Light.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 30 mins
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: main dish
- Method: blacken
- Cuisine: Cajun
Equipment: You’ll need a cast iron skillet for this recipe. The alternative is to use your barbecue grill.
For the Slaw:
- 1 cup thinly sliced white onion
- 1 cup shredded or very thinly sliced red cabbage
- 1/2 cup sour cream (reduced-fat is fine)
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves plus extra leaves for garnish
- 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 jalapeño peppers, seeded, deveined and roughly chopped
For the Blackening Spices:
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Fish and other ingredients:
- 4 (6-ounce) skinless fillets of firm white fish such as catfish, talapia, halibut, or red snapper
- 1 tablespoon light cooking oil
- 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 lime wedges
- Cilantro leaves, optional
- Make the Slaw: Combine sour cream, cilantro, lime juice and jalapeños in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Toss onions and cabbage with the cilantro lime sauce. (the slaw can be made up to a day ahead. Refrigerate until ready to use.)
- Make The Spice Mix: Combine paprika, sugar, oregano, garlic powder, salt, cumin and cayenne in a small bowl.
- Heat the Tortillas: preheat oven to 350ºF Stack tortillas and wrap them in foil. Heat them in the warm oven for 5-10 minutes.
- Blacken the Fish: Turn on your hood vent. Heat a large dry cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. (if you don’t have a cast iron skillet, heat your grill) Lay fish out on a platter or on waxed paper. Brush a little oil on each side and sprinkle the top of each fillet with 3/4 teaspoon of spice mix. Place 2 fillets, spiced-side down, in the pre-heated skillet. Then sprinkle the top side of each fillet with 3/4 teaspoon of spice mix. Cook for 2 1/2 – 3 minutes per side, or until spices are blackened and fish is cooked through. Transfer fish to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Wipe the pan clean to avoid a burnt taste. (blackened is not the same as burnt!) Repeat with the other two fillets.
- Assemble the Tacos: Divide fish, slaw and avocado evenly among warmed tortillas. Spoon on any remaining sauce from the bottom of the bowl of slaw. Sprinkle cilantro leaves on top. Serve with lime wedges.
*This recipe assumes 2 tacos per person
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