Paleo Fish Tacos with Pineapple Cilantro Salsa

The fish tacos are made with butter lettuce leaves instead of tortillas, so they may be very light and clean.

Paleo Fish Tacos with Pineapple Cilantro Salsa
Paleo Fish Tacos with Pineapple Cilantro Salsa


 PICKLED ONIONS 3/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced (reserve remaining 1/4 for the salsa) 1/2 cup apple juice 1/2 cup rice vinegar 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt* 1/2 teaspoon Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes FISH TACOS 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil 3 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced (or 1 tbsp. dried) Zest from 1 lime (about 2 tsp.) 1 1/2 pounds boned, skinned, firm white fish such as mahimahi, lingcod, California (white) sea bass, or rockfish (aka Pacific snapper)*, cut into approximately 1- by 5-in. strips about 1 tsp. kosher salt* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated, rinsed, and dried 1 firm-ripe Hass avocado, peeled and sliced 1 lime, cut into wedges PINEAPPLE CILANTRO SALSA 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks 1/4 medium red onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves, chopped Juice from 1 lime (about 2 1/2 tsp.), plus more to taste 1 cup loosely packed cilantro (leaves and tender stems), chopped 1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and chopped About 1/2 tsp. kosher salt* About 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

How to Make It

Make pickled onions: Put onion slices in a pint-size jar. In a liquid measuring cup, combine remaining pickled-onion ingredients, stir to mix, and pour over onion slices. Push slices down with a fork until submerged in the liquid. Seal jar and chill at least 30 minutes (4 hours is ideal) and up to 1 week.

Marinate fish: Whisk together 1/4 cup oil, the oregano, and lime zest in a bowl (it will be thick, like pesto). Pat fish dry with paper towels, then add to the bowl and turn to coat thoroughly with marinade. Chill at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.

Make the salsa: Put pineapple in a blender, followed by remaining salsa ingredients, and blitz until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, or more lime juice to taste.

When you’re ready to cook the fish, heat a grill to medium-high (450°) with a large cast-iron frying pan or griddle set on the cooking grate. Meanwhile, toss fish with salt and pepper.

When the pan is hot enough that it evaporates a drop of water instantly, swirl remaining 1 tbsp. oil into the hot pan, add fish in a single layer and cook undisturbed, grill covered, until browned underneath, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully flip pieces over with a fish spatula or other thin spatula. Cook 2 to 3 minutes more, covered, or until fish is cooked through.

Arrange lettuce leaves on a platter (if any are torn, top with a second leaf). Arrange fish on lettuce, tearing pieces to fit, and season with salt if you like. Add sliced avocado, a drizzle of salsa, and pickled onions. Serve with lime wedges and remaining salsa on the side.

*Avoid cod; it’s too soft and will flake apart here. Tam uses Diamond Crystal kosher salt, which has bigger crystals than Morton–so if you’re using Morton, cut the amount by a third.

Make ahead: Pickled onions, up to 1 week, chilled; salsa, up to 4 days, chilled.

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