Maybe its the Irish girl in me or just that frying makes a lot of things pretty awesome. Either way, Fried Fish Tacos are pretty great.
My first exposure to good fish tacos wash a few years ago when we went to San Diego. We went to this taco place in La Jolla called Puesto. They served a wide variety of smaller tacos but they all came on freshly made blue corn tortillas. Ultimately, these tacos draw inspiration from those tacos.
I decided to go for beer battered cod (might not be Guinness, but still a good Irish tradition). We used a hazy IPA since it brings a good effervescence to the batter with a light, bright flavor. The fizziness and alcohol are actually key elements of making a light, crispy batter. They help infuse air and prevent gluten formation, which makes for a gummy batter.
We also made sure to get a lot of flavor right in the batter. We got a lot of traditional taco spice flavor with cumin, cayenne, garlic, and onion. Its always amazing how much flavor you can get with a little spice.
Now to the frying! As usual, I used peanut oil. You don’t have to (for example allergy concerns); canola oil will also work well. But if you can, go for the peanut! It brings a great flavor all by itself and you don’t have to worry about smoke.
When assembling the taco and picking toppings, go light!! The fried fish is is going to be a little fatty, so you definitely want a bright salsa with a little heat. A small amount of guac (my recipe HERE) and a light amount of some crema are perfect to round it out.
Beer-Battered Fried Fish Tacos
- 1 Lb Cod Filet
- 1 Qt Peanut Oil
- 1 Cup Flour
- 12 Oz IPA Beer
- 1 Egg
- 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Cumin
- 1/2 Tsp Cayenne
- 1/2 Tsp Paprika
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Pour the oil in a dutch oven with a frying thermometer, heat over high heat to about 360F.
- Cut the cod filet into smaller ~1 inch wide mini filets. Pat dry and salt/pepper.
- Mix the flour and spices together.
- When the oil is almost up to temperature, whisk in the egg followed by streaming in the beer whisking constantly. The batter should have a slightly lumpy texture (its a good thing!).
- Coat the fish in the batter right before frying.
- Lay the pieces into the oil, drop it away from you to prevent splashing on you. Limit yourself to about 4 pieces at a time as the oil temperature will drop.
- Allow the fish to fry undisturbed for a minute and then gently move it around in the oil. Flip after a total of 3-4 minutes.
- Removed after 6-8 minutes or golden brown.