Coach Cristina’s Fish Taco Sauce Recipes (2 tasty options)
The secret to a good fish taco is ultimately in the sauce. Sure, the fish is front and center; however, what you top it with can make or break your dish. When selecting the type of fish for a fish taco, I have always gravitated toward a light and flaky white fish. The folks over at Food and Wine Magazine shared their favorite fish for tacos, and it intrigued me to see salmon made the list, so I came up with my own recipe using salmon. Their suggestions are as follows:
1. White-fleshed, mild, saltwater fish. Whether snapper, mahi mahi, grouper, flounder, halibut, or cod, wild, local fish are the tastiest for Baja-style tacos. Since these fillets tend to be expensive, keep the toppings simple (think raw shredded cabbage and guacamole) so the mild flavor of these fish can really shine through.
2. Salmon. Salmon isn’t necessarily traditional, but there’s no reason you can’t wrap it in tortillas. Because the fish’s flavor is stronger, it can stand up to spicy rubs as well as the charring heat of the grill.
3. Farmed freshwater fish. At U.S. taco shops and trucks, you’ll often find fish tacos made with tilapia or maybe even catfish. These can be a sustainable choice, for sure, but the fillets can have a murky, muddy flavor that’s best covered up with lots of vibrant toppings.”
Since I live in a coastal town, I am always able to snag fresh catches, which is a big bonus. I also have most of the toppings fresh from the garden, so these have become a summertime staple in my house. Plus, because all the ingredients are relatively healthy, you can splurge with corn or flour tortillas, but if you are looking to keep it keto or low carb, then you can opt for an alternative like a cauliflower or cheese tortilla, or even switch it out completely with a generous sized lettuce leaf.
I created two different sauces for these tacos, one of which is a creamy white sauce and one is more of a picante. My friends and family have been begging me for this “secret recipe” for years, and I almost didn’t want to share it, but I think the time has come.
How to Build a Great fish Taco
For the fish tacos, it is relatively simple. Begin with a base (flour or corn tortilla). Layer fish, cabbage, mango, avocado, and cilantro. Top with either the picante sauce or the lime crema or, as I like to do, use BOTH!
You can really get creative with how you assemble the tacos, and you could even use hard shells, but I am partial to soft shells. I also like to load up on veggies and often will pickle my cabbage for a little extra tang. Since I paired the salmon fish tacos with both of my sauces, I didn’t pickle the cabbage this go ‘round, but if you wanted to do so, the following is a foolproof recipe I use:
Ingredients for pickled cabbage:
Cabbage: Cabbage is high in vitamin C and iron, making it an ultra-healthy choice. I like to also use the red cabbage because, man, that color just pops. But I didn’t have any in the garden this year, so I had to use what I had on hand.
Vinegar: Choose either apple cider or red wine vinegar. Either option will help soften and bring out the distinctive flavor of the cabbage.
Seasonings: Mix in your favorite blend of spices for flavoring. I use sugar, garlic, salt, and pepper, but feel free to throw in your favorite dried herbs or spices! *I also mix in a touch of Swerve sugar substitute to give it a sweeter flavor while keeping things healthier. 😉
- 3 cups hot sauce
- ½ onion
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 cups orange juice
- 2 tsp cumin
- 6 oz Swerve brown sugar substitute
- 1½ cups chili sauce
- 1 oz rice wine vinegar
- Puree first 4 ingredients in a blender or NutriBullet®.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend until well combined.
- ½ cup sour cream
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp Sriracha sauce
- Combine all ingredients and stir until well incorporated.
- You can adjust the “heat” from the hot sauce or omit altogether.