Crispy Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw

Fish tacos are made for decent summertime days! Crispy, spicy fish tucked right into a bed of crunchy, sweet, and sour red cabbage slaw, all piled high on a tortilla—just upload ice cold liquids and masses of laughter for a celebration. Taco Tuesday by no means tasted so suitable!

Crispy Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw
Crispy Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw


For the slaw:

  • 1 1/2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons avocado or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (about a 1/2 small head of cabbage)
  • 5 radishes, cut into matchsticks (3/4 cup of matchsticks)
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

For the crema:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the fish:

  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless cod fillets
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, heavy cream, or buttermilk
  • 4 cups high heat oil, such as canola oil
  • 10 small (5-inch) flour tortillas, street taco style


1 Make the slaw and crema: Zest both limes, then slice in half. In a medium bowl, add lime zest and lime juice from 1 1/2 limes, honey, oil, salt, and black pepper. Whisk to combine. Add the cabbage, radishes, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño pepper. Toss to combine. Set aside.

To make the crema, stir together sour cream, the juice from the remaining lime half, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, and salt. If the crema seems top thick, you can always thin it with a little milk or additional lime juice. Set it aside.

2 Prepare to fry: Line a platter with paper towels to drain the fish after you fry it.

3 Prepare the fish and breading: Zest the lime and put the zest on a medium plate, add the flour, cornmeal, paprika, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Set it aside.

On another medium plate, add the milk, and juice from half of the lime. The milk will thicken and look slightly curdled.

4 Cut the fillets on the bias (a diagonal cut) into strips about 1 inch thick, season them with the juice from the remaining lime half, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

5 Heat the oil: In a large Dutch oven, add the oil. Heat it to 360°F. It will take about 15 minutes for the oil to come to temp. If you don’t have a thermometer to test the temperature of the oil, sprinkle a little of the breading into the oil. If it sizzles and pops, it’s ready.

6 Bread the fish: While you’re waiting for the oil to come up to temperature, dip the fish in the milk, then coat it in the flour, spice, and cornmeal mixture. Bread all of the fish before you begin to fry it.

7 Fry the fish: Once all the fish is breaded, gently place the fish one piece at a time in the hot oil. Depending upon the size of your Dutch oven, you can probably fry 4 to 6 pieces at a time.

Fry the fish in batches so you don’t bring down the temperature of the oil too much. Cook on each side for about 2 to 3 minutes, until the coating is a deep amber brown. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.

8 Serve: Transfer the fish to a platter, serve alongside tortillas, slaw, and crema. Let everyone assemble their own tacos. Start with a little slaw; add a piece of fish, and drizzle with the crema.

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