Blackened Fish Tacos with Mango & Red Onion Salsa
I love learning about and experiencing other cultures, especially from natives to those cultures. The language, the traditions, the arts, the food. Definitely the food.
My best friend in high school was a Mexican exchange student. Graciela and I clicked from the moment we ended up sitting beside each other when she accidentally found her way into the wrong classroom on the first day of school. She stayed with us most weekends and made herself quite at home with the family.
She took great pride in sharing her family recipes with us, and we very much looked forward to anytime she had the desire to take on dinner duty. Fresh refried beans from scratch, calabacitas with our own garden zucchinis and sweet corn, and my first introduction to fish tacos! Graciela was from the state of Chihuahua, which is land-locked and not a place where fish tacos were much of an item. But, she had family in Baja California, which is where fish tacos are said to have originated. Thanks to this influence, she could make a mouth-watering fish taco!
Traditionally, fish tacos are battered and fried and served in a corn tortilla with cabbage, pico de gallo, fish taco sauce, lime, and salt. Obviously, most of that is not healing-diet-friendly. When I convert traditional recipes, I like to stick as close to the original textures and flavours as possible. This can be a little difficult when factoring in dietary restrictions like AIP.
Instead of battering the fish, I chose to blacken it instead to help build that crunch on the outside. Corn tortillas were out, but I used The Paleo Mom’s Paleo Flour Tortillas instead. And for those who can’t tolerate cassava tortillas, you could try this recipe for Plantain Tortillas from Grass Fed Salsa instead. If neither option works for you, you can always indulge in a deconstructed fish taco without any tortilla at all!
Pico de gallo is amazing, but my reactions to tomatoes and peppers are anything but. Keeping in the tradition of a raw salsa, I whipped up this mango and red onion salsa. The mango takes the place of the tomato, albeit sweeter. The healthy helping of fresh ginger gives it the heat otherwise missing from the lack of peppers. The onion, cilantro, salt, and lime are all the same as in traditional salsa fresca.
While fish taco sauce is a signature ingredient of fish tacos, I’m weird and never really cared for it. I always felt like it took away from the amazing flavours already in the taco. Nothing against those who love it, it’s just not my thing. Rather than wracking my brain trying to come up with an allergy-friendly alternative, I decided to skip it all together. I don’t think this recipe is lacking from the omission, if I do say so myself. Especially with a healthy serving of avocado slices tucked in there for some added creaminess.
So get ready to dig in to some authentically AIP-ified fish tacos, and top it off with this “Chocolate” No-Bake Flan from The Curious Coconut for dessert!
- 2 haddock fillets (or other firm white fish)
- olive oil
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 pinches garlic powder
- red cabbage, finely sliced
- cilantro, chopped
- avocados, sliced
- black olives, sliced
- 1 small mango, diced (I used atauflo)
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- fresh-squeezed lime juice of two limes (may add lime zest for extra lime flavour)
- 3/4 - 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced (depending on how much of a kick you want for your salsa)
- salt to taste
- Thaw fish thoroughly, coat in olive oil and then thickly coat in spices, using your hands to really press the spices into the fish.
- In a cast iron pan on med-high heat, cook the fish until it lifts easily. Flip and continue cooking until fish flakes easily with a fork.
- While fish is cooking, prepare taco fixings if needed.
- Remove fish from heat and flake coursely.
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well to combine.
- Let stand 20 minutes up to 3 hours to allow flavours to meld. Can be refrigerated overnight.