Spicy Fish Tacos

I am late to the game on fish tacos. I have seen them on menus and in cooking magazines for years now, but I never thought they sounded all that tasty. Rich, my non-adventurous (when it comes to food) husband talked me into trying these. He had them at work, at a meal cooked by one of the owners of the firm, and he raved about them. We got basic directions from the chef, tailored them to our own tastes, and have now had them twice in one week. The second time we even served them to company (my parents, but company, nonetheless).

I was surprised by how much I liked these. I even ate the leftovers the next day for lunch, and fish can be iffy as a leftover, at least to me. The fish is a nice alternative to ground beef or chicken tacos. We are always looking for new ways to eat fish, since we know we should eat more of it. This one will definitely be showing up often in our meal rotation – I should add it to the master dinner list.

We sautéed tilapia in olive oil with shallots and garlic, along with a few healthy shakes of chipotle and cayenne powder and a shake or two of red pepper flakes. The original recipe used fresh poblanos and jalapeños, but we preferred to use dried, since I am the only one who really likes fresh peppers, either hot or sweet.

The recipes I have seen for fish tacos use cabbage or coleslaw for a topping. That might have been what turned me off, since I like my slaw as a side dish, not a topping. We served ours on whole wheat tortillas, with lettuce, shredded carrots, tomatoes, sautéed sweet peppers and white cheddar cheese. I added a few shakes of chipotle powder to mine, but Rich preferred his a little milder. Feel free to adjust the toppings to what your family likes, or what you have on hand.

Download or print the recipe here.

Spicy Fish Tacos
From The Cook’s Life
Serves 3-4

Feel free to adjust the seasonings and toppings to your tastes.

2 tablespoons olive oil, approximately
1 large shallot or 1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tilapia filets, cut into 1-inch pieces
Dried cayenne powder
Dried chipotle powder
Red pepper flakes
Black Pepper
2 tablespoons dry white wine or water, approximately

For serving:
Whole wheat tortillas
Shredded lettuce
Grated carrot
Diced tomatoes
Sweet bell peppers (raw, roasted or sautéed with a little oil)
Cheddar cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and continue sautéing briefly, just until garlic is fragrant.

Add fish and let cook for several minutes before stirring. Sprinkle fish with cayenne, chipotle and dried chili flakes to taste. Just a touch, even if you don’t like spicy foods, will add a layer of flavor. Use more if you really like spicy foods. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Cook until fish is opaque and cooked all the way through, about 10 minutes. Lower the heat if the shallots and garlic start to brown too much or the fish sticks to the pan.

When the fish is done, add a little white wine, or water, and scrape up any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Serve immediately with tortillas and your choice of toppings.


One thought on “Spicy Fish Tacos

  1. These look great–I will be trying them. I usually try to fix 2 tilapia “mittens” for the 4 of us and the kids are enjoying it more and more, so my piece of mitten is shrinking. I think if they were in cubes, stuffed into tortillas with other toppings, that would stretch the 2 mittens enough for us.


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