Today is Grilled Fish Taco Lettuce Wrap Wednesday! Not exactly the same catchy sound as Taco Tuesday, is it?!? I guess I’ll just skip the clever catch phrase and get right to the meat of it….these lettuce wrap tacos are TO.DIE.FOR!!!! The beauty of this dish is the simplicity of preparation (with a little prepping ahead), and the complexity of the flavors of all the different ingredients working together to make the most mouth-watering, tender, delectable fish tacos you’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting! Big promise for a little fish taco, right?!? Read on….it’s not an empty promise!
I had my first fish taco just about a year ago. I know you’re probably wondering why just so recently, and since I’m new to the whole fish taco game, what gives me the right to develop a recipe for fish tacos! I may have arrived late to the taco party (or fiesta), but I’ve been in full fish taco immersion mode since my first bite! I’m just a little bit obsessed with fish tacos and I actively seek out restaurants that have them on the menu just so I can try a new version! For a girl who just a few short years ago thought she didn’t even like fish to get to the point today where I crave fish tacos, is quite a 180 degree turn! And what I’m sharing with you today is what I think a perfect fish taco should be!
Now I know I said they were easy to prepare, and they are….but I definitely recommend planning ahead so you can have all the components prepared earlier in the day, or even the day before! For the tacos you obviously need grilled fish, and that needs to be cooked immediately before serving. But the roasted corn salsa….yum, and the Mexican slaw…yumm, and the spicy avocado sauce…yummm, are actually improved by allowing them to rest in the refrigerator for a few hours or up to an entire day. That way the flavors can blend and meld and deepen!
Let’s talk about the salsa first. This is a super simple blend of fresh ingredients and one little cheat of using frozen roasted corn. By all means, if you have fresh sweet corn and you want to roast or grill it to use in this recipe, then go for it! Sweet corn season is still a ways off here in Iowa so fresh corn is not even an option for us right now. Otherwise it’s a straight forward matter of mixing up some chopped Roma tomatoes, sweet peppers ( I used baby yellow ones that were in my fridge, but any will work), red onion, jalapeño, garlic, a sprinkle of salt and a little cumin, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. I also used parsley in mine, but if you like cilantro fell free to use it instead. I’m one of the few unfortunate few to whom cilantro tastes like dish soap, so I pretty much avoid it like the plague. Then stir it all up and refrigerate it to allow the flavors to blend until it’s taco time!
- 4 Roma tomatoes
- 1 jalapeño pepper finely chopped, seeds removed to lessen heat if desired
- 1/4 cup chopped sweet bell pepper
- 1/4 of a small red onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup frozen roasted corn, thawed
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp or 1 clove chopped garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- A small handful of chopped fresh parsley
- Mix chopped vegetables, thawed corn, seasonings, and fresh parsley in a small mixing bowl.
- Cover and place in refrigerator for a few hours or up to a day until ready to use.
- Keeps for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
To me, no fish taco is complete without the bed of crunchy cabbage to build your taco upon! Most of the ones I’ve tried used just plain shredded cabbage – you know – the kind that comes from a bag at the grocery store with red and green cabbage and a few carrot shreds tossed in. That’s fine, it works, but I always like to dress things up a little bit! For my Mexican slaw I used fresh cabbage tossed in a barely-there dressing made from extra light tasting olive oil, salt and pepper, cumin, a little honey, and some fresh squeezed lime juice. It’s just a hint of flavor, but hey, if this is the bedrock of our fish taco it had better be solid, and this is some solidly delicious slaw!
- 1/2 small head of cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp extra light tasting olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt & pepper
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp honey
- Juice of 1 lemon
- In a small bowl mix olive oil, salt and pepper, cumin, honey, and lime juice until well combined.
- Pour over shredded cabbage in medium mixing bowl and toss until well coated.
- Cover and refrigerate several hours, or up to one day before using.
- Keep covered in refrigerator for 3-5 days.
I opted to make a creamy spiced avocado sauce for these tacos because it not only adds tremendous flavor, but it adds a rich and creamy element that I really like. I used to achieve that with sour cream and cheese, but since I’ve nixed those from my diet, this was a healthier – and may I add – tastier substitution! I just blended a ripe avocado, some extra light tasting olive oil, a little garlic, salt, and cayenne, and for flavor and to maintain the beautiful green color, some fresh squeezed lime juice.
- I - 2 ripe avocados, depending on size
- 1 tbsp extra light tasting olive oil
- 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Juice of 1 lime
- Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process on low for 1-11/2 minutes until smooth.
- Check for flavor, adding more salt or cayenne as your tastes prefer.
- Transfer to a squeeze bottle or small dish, cover, and refrigerate a few hours, or up to a day before using.
- Keeps 3-5 days in refrigerator.
I used thawed previously frozen Swai fillets for the tacos. This is a delicate, light, succulent white fish that is perfect for fish tacos. I brushed the the fillets with a little EVOO, then sprinkled them with my Homemade Fajita Seasoning Mix and squeezed a little lime juice over the top. I grilled them on a grill mat on the grill, but a grill pan would work just as well. Don’t try to put them directly on the grill as they’re too fragile to survive! Then it was a matter of grilling them for just a few minutes on both sides until they were cooked through and the meat was flaky.
Once all your components are ready it’s a cinch to assemble the best fish taco you’ve ever had! A nice crispy lettuce leaf (I used romaine), some Mexican slaw, the beautiful flaky fish, a little fresh roasted corn salsa, and a squeeze or dollop of spicy avocado sauce and you’ll be transported to taco nirvana with your first bite!
- 4 Swai, or other white fish, fillets, thawed if previously frozen
- 2-3 tsp Homemade Fajita Seasoning (see above for link to this recipe)
- 2 tsp EVOO
- 1 lime wedge
- 8 large lettuce leaves, I used romaine
- Roasted Corn Salsa
- Mexican Slaw
- Spicy Avocado Sauce
- Preheat gas grill to medium setting.
- Brush both sides of fillets with EVOO, sprinkle with fajita seasoning, and squeeze one side with just a little lime juice.
- Place grill mat or pan on grill and then place the fish on that.
- Grill for 2-3 minutes, turn and grill 2-3 more until fish is opaque and flaky.
- Assemble fish tacos by layering Mexican slaw, grilled fish, salsa, and avocado sauce on lettuce leaf.
- Serve with lime wedges for a squeeze of fresh lime juice just before eating.
- As an alternative to Homemade Fajita Seasoning you could use your favorite Mexican seasoning blend - but it won't be as good! 😜