It’s no surprise that Mexican food is one of my absolute favorite cuisines on the planet. If you’ve been following me, I lean toward main dishes and salsas that are not your average Mexican fare. Average as in those combo plates ordered in a restaurant by numbers. #3, # 12, #15, etc. Each plate has rice and beans, unless you specify something different.
Most people like to change it up. So why bother with such a boring, predictable menu?
That’s one reason I like to make my own. Being geographically challenged forces me to create that which I yearn for. Take these Tilapia Tacos for example. On the lighter side, they’re guilt-free and healthy with a delicate crunch. A special salsa livens it all up.
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes a combo plate suits me just fine. But when I want a special, flavorful, make-your-tastebuds-want-to-dance meal, I venture out on my own.
Soaking in a little inspiration from one of my favorite cookbooks, Tacolicious by Sara Deseran, I took on a new twist to tomatillo salsa. This version blends in the creaminess of avocado.
Avocado Tomatillo Salsa is much creamier than that of a Salsa Verde, which makes it perfect as a condiment to the Tilapia Fish Tacos. Avocados, tomatillos, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño and fresh lime juice are blended together until creamy and smooth.
If you’re not used to working with tomatillos, there’s an easy way to remove the husks and prevent your fingers from getting sticky from the inside of the membrane that protects the tom. Fill a bowl with warm water that’s large enough, then let the tomatillos soak for about five minutes.
They’ll slip right off! Easy peasy.
Once that’s done, cut each one in half and lay them meat side down on a foil lined pan. Broiling them until slightly charred brings out a smokiness to the flavor that mellows out the tang and heat from the other ingredients.
I highly suggest you make the salsa first. It can made up to two days before using if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
The Tilapia Tacos are pretty easy to make. Tilapia filets are generously sprinkled with a lemon-pepper seasoning, then dredged in flour and pan seared in a combination of butter and olive oil. Doing it this way keeps the heat point level a bit lower, preventing them from burning before they’re cooked through.
When done, the tilapia fillets should be crisp and golden.
Once the fish is drained on paper towels, just break it up into bite-size chunks. Warmed white corn tortillas are lined with a bed of shredded cabbage or lettuce, then topped with the fish bites. From there, a squeeze of fresh lime juice is drizzled over the tilapia and topped with the salsa.
Often times I feel deprived not being able to hop in the car to go to a special restaurant. I love to be waited on. To be served. Yet I receive great satisfaction in being the one serving, and waiting on others. I like to make my guests feel special. Because they are. And I get to enjoy food that I know where it came from and how it’s been prepared. It’s a win-win in my book.
With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, these tacos are rightly festive minus the high fat content. Si?
Tilapia fillets can be found flash frozen or fresh, depending on where you live. I enjoy the convenience of the frozen fillets because they can be pulled out to cook at any time without having to drive to town. They’re lean and high in protein.
Here’s the recipe for the Avocado Tomatillo Salsa along with the Tilapia Tacos. Let me know how you like them!
- For the Avocado Tomatillo Salsa:
- 1 large avocado
- 5 large tomatillos, husked and cut in half
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons salt, or more to taste
- For the Tilapia Tacos:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tilapia fillets
- 2 tablespoons lemon-pepper seasoning
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups shredded cabbage or mix
- 4 limes
- 8 white corn tortillas
- Place oven rack in top position and set oven to broil on low.
- Line a shallow baking sheet with foil.
- Place halved tomatillos meat side down.
- Broil for 5-7 minutes, until they just begin to char.
- Remove from oven and cool.
- Place tomatillos and remaining salsa ingredients in blender.
- Blend on high for 20 seconds, or until mixture is a smooth consistency.
- Store in airtight container in fridge until ready to use.
- Meanwhile, rinse tilapia fillets and pat dry.
- Sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning.
- Dredge each fillet in flour to evenly coat.
- Heat butter and oil in large skillet over medium heat.
- Pan fry fillets for approximately 4-5 minutes on each side until golden and crispy.
- Remove from pan and drain on plate lined with paper towels.
- Cut fillets in bite-size chunks.
- Warm tortillas in a damp paper towel in microwave for 1 minute or until soft.
- Place ½ cup shredded cabbage on each tortilla. Top with ½ cut tilapia fillet.
- Drizzle fresh squeezed lime juice wedge over fish and top with salsa.
- Serve immediately.
There are other types of fish that can be prepared in the same way. Just make sure the fillets are a white fish.
Do you enjoy fish tacos? If so, what type do you make?
Hope you all have a wonderful week. Thanks for stopping in!