Crispy Tilapia Tacos

April 19, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Tacos | 36 Comments
Tags: , , ,

Have you ever found yourself preparing dinner and during the process begin rehearsing negative descriptions for your blog because you’ve obviously chosen a bad recipe? Phrases like “looked good on paper”, “what was I thinking?” “overpowering odd crazy sauce”, or “I’ve never liked tilapia and still hate it”…

That was me while preparing this recipe last Friday night. As I was stirring up the sauce and after a small taste test I just knew the recipe was a quirky flavored dud. I mean c’mon hoisin, mayo and sweet pickle relish sauce for tacos??? I could hear my Mother’s voice scolding “Would you jump off a cliff if  Food and Wine Magazine told you to? ”

After plated and upon first bite, I was stunned, Bob swooned and this is now in my recipe data base with the comment section reading “kick-ass tacos”. I don’t know how, but when this taco is assembled in its steamy shell, everything comes together and all ingredients are quickly on a first name basis. Here’s the recipe and I still love Food and Wine and hope the June issue doesn’t include any cliff jumping recipes.

Crispy Fried-Fish Tacos

Food and Wine Magazine

Pairing Suggestion Margarita made with 100-percent agave tequila: Patrón Silver. (Since I drink hard alcohol about once a year and it’s a martini, you’ll find a glass of red wine paired with this.)

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tbs sweet pickle relish
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 Tbs kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 lb tilapia fillets, cut into 4-by-1-inch strips
2 large eggs, beaten
3 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
3 cups vegetable oil, for frying
12 corn tortillas, warmed
Shredded green cabbage, lettuce leaves, cilantro and sliced scallions, for serving (I added a sliver of avocado and of course some cilantro.)

1. In a bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the hoisin sauce, pickle relish and lemon juice.

2. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and white pepper. Seal the bag and shake. Add the fish and shake to coat.

3. Put the eggs and panko in separate shallow bowls. Dip the fish in the egg and then in the panko. Transfer the fish to a wax paper–lined platter.

4. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil to 350°. Add half of the fish and fry over moderate heat, turning once, until golden, about 3 minutes. Drain the fish on a paper towel–lined platter. Repeat with the remaining fish. Serve the fish in the tortillas, passing the hoisin mayonnaise, cabbage, lettuce, cilantro and scallions for serving.

Servings: 12

Cooking Times
Total Time: 1 hour

Not to worry, I’m about out of corn tortillas and Food and Wine Taco Truck recipes. But for now:

Crispy Tilapia Tacos…

It’s What’s For Dinner.



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  1. That’s one of the weirdest recipes I’ve ever seen. I’m so trying it. Heh.

    • If you don’t like it, blame Food and Wine! 🙂

  2. I am amazed at this mixture coming out tasty! I believe you, but you are braver than I am!

    • And this coming from the man who cooked and cleaned a whole lobster???? 🙂

  3. Looks good and with such a strong recommendation, I’ll have to try it. I’m going to have to start trying blog saved recipes for every meal to get caught up.

    • Me too Larry. I’ve got so many recipes saved, I’ll never have time to make them all.

  4. This seems to be one of those things where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It definitely looks delicious! I’m all about quirky combos though.

    • I don’t mind quirky combos, yet I was so surprised at how good this turned out.

  5. you had me at hoisin sauce… tried to find that down here, and there is none on teh island at all…

    so, on my list for when i get home, but on the list for sure

    • Yes, you better wait, not sure rum would work well with the mayo 🙂

  6. I love fish tacos! I’m going to have to give this a try!

    • I was surprised at how tender moist and yummy that tilapia was. Gotta love panko.

  7. oh wow these look delicious awesome recipe

  8. Great post! Costco sells really meaty tilapia that is perfect for tacos. I have to try this one!

    • I’m heading over to Costco today, I’ll have to grab some for the freezer. I really liked it for fish tacos.

  9. LOL, this is a funny post! I LOVE fish tacos (almost as much as my husband) and all the cabbage business. I’m loving the wierd sauce, too, and am kind of surprised. I mean a Chinese sauce on fish tacos? . . . how fusion-y. 🙂
    I’m definitely making these.

    Very nice job with the photos, too!

    • Exactly….very fusion-y. That would have been a great title for the post Confusiony fusion-y

      Hope you like them and remember to get good quality white corn tortillas for steaming.

      I have one more taco post. Have you found that article about Taco Trucks? I made breakfast tacos on Sunday. omg

  10. I’ve had many a delicious fish taco in various restaurants over the years, but any and all efforts at reproducing them at home have failed miserably. I don’t know why, they just do. you have inspired me to give it another go 😀

    • I agree Karen. I’ve had miserable failures at fried fish tacos. I think the panko and tilapia worked great.

  11. ohmygod. You’re killing me. This looks amazing.

    Hoisin sauce? Prob’ly shouldn’t even have told anyone about that part…maybe just slip it in while Bo’s not looking.

    Again, I’m thinking a full quarter-lime squeeze when it’s all done and on the plate.

    And the tequila. That happens to be the only brand I carry.

    You’re knocking it out of the park.

    • Why can’t I remember the lime part. I love squeezing a fresh lime wedge on just about everything.

      I know, that hoisin sauce is just crazy….and that sweet pickle relish???

      Ok, you bring the tequila and I’ll bring the tacos on our camping trip. Good gawd, tequila at 10,000 feet???

  12. I have tried tilipia and it’s always just tastes weird to me yet others love it. Is it me, is it the fish or was the preparation just bad…hard to tell but I’m inspired to try again for I love fish tacos.

    Re margarita, sorry it’s not your drink of choice cause I love a good margarita…even though I’m considered a wino. I’ll share my recipe..even though I choose a reposado tequila, it’s so good…all fresh ingredients, not a mix in site!

    • Barb, I agree, tilapia is boring. Seems everytime I’ve prepared it (and following directions perfectly) it’s mushy, boring and odd. Dipping and panko-ing seemed to really work.

      I’m not against a good margarita, I’m just a wino like you. Plus, I’m always up for a shot of good tequila when the mood strikes. 🙂

      • Well then, you have experienced what I have…so maybe it’s just meant to be quick fried. BTW, the very first place I ventured out to during recuperation was Wahoo Fish Tacos…so not kidding!

  13. Funny post. And yes, it happens often that I wonder if I’m nuts when putting a recipe together. It doesn’t always turn out as good as yours did, either!

  14. That’s funny, and I like the wine pairing, let’s face it, wine goes with everything!!!

  15. Those are some of my favorite recipes–the ones I think I am not going to like and then I love them. These look really yummy. 😉

    • Thanks Deb, and as always, thanks for stopping by

  16. Those look delish! I don’t have an hour for anything right now, but when I do, I’m trying this recipe forthwith!

    • I noticed that “one hour preparation time” in their recipe. I really don’t think it took that long, but maybe it did.

  17. Food and Wine is a gateway drug….. 😉

  18. I had something like this at a restaurant last year and loved it so thankyou for the recipe! It was heaven and I’ll pass this onto my friends who were dining with me and also loved it! 😀

  19. I am going to share this recipe with my friends – they are on a big fish taco kick. I know they will love these. They look great!

    • Thanks Steph. We thought it was very tasty!

  20. […] One Year Ago: Crispy Tilapia Tacos […]

  21. […] One Year Ago: Crispy Tilapia Tacos […]

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