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Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

Fish Taco

A bright and spicy combination, these tacos showcase all tons of flavor to provide a new take on your next weeknight meal. Better yet, this is a perfect meal for company. Be sure to bring plenty of napkins and a great appetite too!

I grew up never really taking an interest in seafood. Our region just didn’t have access to hoards of seafood, or fresh water fish for that matter. The Great Lakes were pretty polluted, and we simply weren’t all that close to the coast. While fancier and more upscale places has some good imported seafood, we just never ate a tremendous amount of it.

Most children grow up hating something specific, but later grow to love it as an adult. I was this way with seafood. As I aged, I realized each region has their own cuisine based on what you can get locally and this reflects what many people eat. While we have greater access to things than we did ten years ago, the bottom line is regional cuisine reigns king. It was because of this that when I lived in Boston, I began to appreciate and even like seafood. I had a couple who would take me out to eat pretty often. They were adamant about having me trying the local fare. At this point of my life I was much more apt to try new things. Plus, when you have access to some of the freshest and most nutrient rich sources of any food, that’s the time to really try it to see how you feel. I really started to dig seafood after that, and soon after started bringing it home to cook.

Lobster made a showing every time someone came to visit us in Massachusetts. Photo courtesy of Shauna.

Lobster made a showing up every time someone came to visit us in Massachusetts. Photo courtesy of Shauna.

Many dietary guidelines recommend higher amounts of fish in the diet. I’m also am a huge fan of sustainability. I love the idea of encompass more fish at home when I can for both of those reason. While I typically choose milder forms of seafood like shrimp and tilapia, I don’t mind cooking up local seafood when the timing warrants itself. I’m still trying to wrap my head around frog legs which is a big thing in our area.

Fried Whitebait at The Queen's Arms.

Fried Whitebait served up on my trip to London, England. Unfortunately I thought I was getting Fish ‘N Chips, and this was one thing I just couldn’t stomach. This is an instance where you live and learn!

The reason I tell you all of my background via seafood is because I encourage those who may not be big on seafood, to give it a try. Go out and find the best sources, and put your best foot forward in trying it. All because of one great meal in Boston after another, I gained the confidence to eat it and cook it at home. I’m not saying I’m going to change the world with my story, but trying new things can be very exciting and help you to find some excitement in your everyday cooking.

Tilapia is a very mild fish, and one I find works really well in a lot of recipes. These tacos have a bunch of components, but it’s pretty straightforward otherwise. You pan fry up the coated fish (which you can substitute shrimp or local fish), and then layer it between some Corn Tortillas, Lettuce, Mango Salsa and some spicy Adobo Cream Sauce. In both flavors and textural components, this dish is sure to wake your mouth up.

Fish Tacos

Assembly and plating station for tacos.

Assembly and plating station for tacos.

In my coating for the fish, I use Corn Meal and Pecans. I wanted a bit more earthiness to round out the flavor profiles, and since I’m addicted to Pecan Crusted Tilapia, this was just a natural step forward. I’m also eating gluten free, so I appreciate new ways to to spice up the sometimes mundane gluten free lifestyle.

Cornmeal and Pecans make up the crust for the Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa.

Cornmeal and Pecans make up the crust for the Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa.

Straight from the skillet and ready for combining with all the other great ingredients!

Straight from the skillet and ready for combining with all the other great ingredients!

As far as the heat scale on this recipe goes, it’s pretty spicy. In the Mango Salsa you have jalapeños, which can be spicy. If you’re not a big fan, then substitute a green pepper! As far as the Adobo Cream Sauce, it combines Sour Cream with Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce. The Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce packs some heat, but when combined with the Sour Cream, it helps to cut down on the spiciness. I also found that consumed by itself it’s a lot hotter than when placed on the tacos. If you’re not sure if you’ll like it, start with a little bit and work your way up. You can also just drizzle Sour Cream if heat isn’t your thing.

Mango Salsa. Even on it's own, would be awesome dip for tortilla chips.

Mango Salsa. Even on it’s own, would be awesome dip for tortilla chips.

Making pretty presentations is made easier with a squirt bottle!

Making pretty presentations is made easier with a squirt bottle!

My last brainstorm for this recipe, is to try serving mini ones at your next party. You’d have to find access to mini corn tortillas, or make them yourself. But you could also use the Scoops Tortilla shells. They’d be great for any summer party. On a small or large scale, these tacos are definitely great for entertaining, and most of all eating. So get busy in your kitchen and enjoy your summer!

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

1 Lime, juiced
1 Mango, peeled and diced
1/2 Red Onion, diced
2 Jalapeño Peppers, diced
1 cup of Sour Cream
1/4 cup of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
8 Corn Tortillas
1/2 cup of Pecans
1/2 cup of Corn Meal
1 teaspoon of Paprika (Sweet Smoked preferred)
1/2 teaspoon of Pepper
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
1 lb of Tilapia filets, cut into bite sized chunks
8 Lettuce leaves, preferably Boston Bibb
1 cup of Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Oil for frying
Salt and Pepper

In a small bowl, combine Mangoes, Red Onion, Jalapeño Peppers. Add half of your Lime juice, and a dash of Salt and Pepper. Allow to sit on the counter while prepping the rest of your ingredients. As the juices settle, taste periodically and add more Lime juice, Salt and Pepper as desired.

In a food processor, combine Pecans and Corn Meal. Process until finely ground. Place mixture into a bowl and mix in Paprika, Pepper and Salt.

In a blender, or rinsed food processor, combine the Sour Cream and Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce. If available, place mixture into a squirt bottle, or place mixture into a small ziplock bag (you’ll snip a corner off when you’re ready to serve). Place mixture into the fridge until ready to use.

Everything till this point can be done ahead.

In a small skillet on medium heat, cook tortillas for thirty seconds on each side. Do not use Oil. This process works best being done while you fry up your Tilapia. Repeat with remaining Tortillas until all are heated through.

When ready to eat, place a skillet on medium high heat. Once heated, place enough Oil in the bottom to coat the surface. Take one Tilapia chunk at time, and coat in the Pecan Corn Meal mixture. Place into hot skillet and repeat with remaining pieces. Be careful to not overcrowd the pan. Depending on how big your pieces are, they should take about four minutes total to cook, three minutes on one side, one minute on the other. Place onto a plate when finished cooking and allow to cool slightly. Sprinkle with Salt.

To assemble the tacos, place one Corn Tortilla down, followed by a lettuce leaf. Add two-three chunks of Tilapia, a sprinkling of Cheddar Cheese and a heaping spoonful of the Mango Salsa. Drizzle the Adobo Cream Sauce over top. Continue with the remaining portions, serve and enjoy!

Written by Tarte Chic

Author Kat Nielsen (formerly Kat Wojtylak) is a creative type with an immense love for food. She maintains a day job handling marketing and brand support to various companies while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences.

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