Getting hooked on fish tacos

Summer is my favorite season because of the warm weather and sunshine and easy, laid-back way it makes me feel. Cooking in the summer at my house is almost exclusively limited to grill preparations, for ease and speed. There is one recipe in particular that I feel like I never tire of, grilled fish tacos.

I can’t take all of the credit for this recipe. A good friend and colleague, Michael Geiger (a chef instructor at the Art Institute) started making fish tacos and I was HOOKED (pardon the pun). What I love most about this recipe is that it’s incredibly delicious, but even more incredibly easy to prepare. Chef Michael’s recipe uses white flour tortillas and full-fat mayonnaise. I’ve altered the recipe to lighten it up, as well as add more fiber by changing the tortilla.

When preparing fish tacos, it’s incredibly important to select fish that will stand up to the high heat of the grill, without tearing or falling apart. Below you’ll find some very helpful tips for grilling fish and seafood.

Proper Grilling:

Pre-heat your grill with 2 different zones; one side should be medium-hot and the other should be medium-low. After heating, thoroughly clean grill grates using a stiff grill brush; using a rolled up, old towel dipped in oil and a pair of tongs, oil the grates several times.

Once the grill is clean, close the lid of the grill (if available) and then oil one more time before placing fish on the surface. It is a good idea to lightly brush the surface of the fish with some type of oil before grilling.

Remember to store fish in refrigeration; always thaw frozen fish in the refrigerator, not at room temperature; marinate in refrigeration; do not re-freeze raw fish.

Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides (unless you have used a marinade or rub with salt in it); place the fish down gently on the hotter side of the grill and DO NOT TOUCH IT for at least 30 seconds – 1 minute; gently try to lift the fish from the surface of the grill, with a spatula – be careful!  If the fish does not easily lift away, let it continue to cook for another 30 seconds, then try again.

If you want to create cross-hatch grill marks, turn the fish 45degrees and replace it on the grill; cook another 30-60 seconds, then turn the fish over and repeat on the second side. After 30 – 60 seconds, move fish to cooler side of grill to finish cooking.

Most fish should be cooked through completely, not left raw or rare in the middle; look for opaque flesh throughout, and be sure fish is hot all the way through; fish should flake easily and feel firm to the touch; tuna is often cooked rare or medium, which is ok as long as you purchase “sushi or sashimi grade” tuna (the highest quality available).

Cook fish a total of approximately 8 – 10 minutes per inch of fish.

Baja Style Fish Tacos

Marinade ingredients:

½ cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoon lime juice
5 teaspoon chili powder
1 ½ teaspoon cumin
1 ½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 ½ teaspoon minced garlic
2 pounds Halibut or other “meaty” fish, sliced into 2-inch thick strips
8 each whole wheat or spelt flour tortillas (8”)


Mix all of the ingredients for the marinade together. Cover the fish with marinade and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the slaw and the chipotle mayo. Set each aside until ready to assemble the tacos. Clean and preheat your grill. Grill the marinated fish until cooked through. Use a spatula to turn the fish, do not use tongs (they tend to tear the fish flesh). Remove the fish from the grill and set aside. Lightly grill the tortillas to warm them. Assemble the tacos with the fish, slaw and garnish with chipotle mayo. Enjoy!

Slaw Ingredients

2 cups fine shredded cabbage
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoon minced red onion
2 teaspoons minced jalapeno
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro


Combine all the ingredients. Allow the mixture to sit at least 30 minutes before serving.

Chipotle Lime Mayo Ingredients

4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup reduced fat  mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lime juice, fresh
½ chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced.


Combine all ingredients. Season to taste.

Photo credit Another Pint Please…

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