Spicy Fish Tacos and Coleslaw

Homemade tortillas make all the difference. Once you've made your own, there's no going back! Photo by Caroline West


Makes 6 tacos.

6 flour tortillas (see recipe below)

6 fillets of fresh red snapper, halibut or cod, approximately 4 oz (113 grams) each

2 Tbsp vegetable oil



2 Tbsp each: chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin and smoked paprika

1 Tbsp each: garlic powder, sugar, salt and curry powder

1 1/2 tsp cayenne



1 1/2 cups jalapeño-lime coleslaw (see recipe below)

1 mango, peeled and sliced lengthwise

1 avocado, peeled and sliced lengthwise

Fresh orange and lime juice to squeeze over the cooked fish

Fresh cilantro for garnishing


Combine the spices in a small bowl and set aside until ready to use.

Run your fingers along the fish to check for bones. Remove any bones with a pair of tweezers. Remove the skin from the fish with a sharp knife.

Place a fillet on a cutting board and lightly sprinkle each side with the spice mixture. Too much spice will spoil your fish, so don’t be tempted to saturate the fish with spices. Repeat with remaining fillets. (Store the remaining spice mix in an airtight container, away from direct sunflight.)

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan until hot and shimmering, but not smoking. Place the seasoned fish onto the hot pan and cook approximately 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove the fish from the pan before it is completly cooked. Loosely tent the fish with foil and allow the residual heat to finish the cooking.

Place a tortilla on your work surface; add a bit of coleslaw, sliced mango, avocado and the warm fish. Squeeze a bit of orange and lime juice on the fish, if desired. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh cilantro and fold the tortilla around the fish. Serve immediately.

“Spicy fish tacos paired with coleslaw and a slice of sweet mango are always a crowd pleaser”



This recipe was shared by my friend, local food writer Gail White

Yields eight 9-inch tortillas


9 oz (255 grams) unbleached white flour, plus more for rolling

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

2 oz (55 grams) lard or cold vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces

4 3/4 oz warm water


In a large bowl, stir together flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in lard or shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in warm water with a fork until a shaggy dough forms. If the mixture is too dry, add      additional water, one teaspoon at a time.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. The dough should be fairly soft and not too sticky. Cut the dough into eight equal pieces (each should be around 2 ounces) and form into balls. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Roll out each ball into a 9-inch-diameter disk on a floured surface, using just enough flour to prevent sticking. You want the tortillas fairly thin, but if you roll them too thin they will break easily after they are cooked.

Heat a large dry cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, place one tortilla in the skillet until it bubbles and puffs up with brown spots on the bottom, about 45 to 60 seconds. Pierce any large bubbles that form. Flip the tortilla and cook it another 45 to 60 seconds. If it browns too fast, lower your heat. Move to a clean tea towel and proceed as above. Stack the tortillas and cover with a tea towel so they don’t get too dry.





1 small head of cabbage, finely shredded

1 bunch of green onions, finely chopped

1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

3/4 cup of jalapeño-lime mayonniase (recipe follows)

Fresh lime juice to taste

Salt to taste


In a large bowl, combine shredded cabbage with onions and cilantro. Add the jalapeño-lime mayonnaise (recipe follows). Taste the coleslaw, adding more lime juice and salt, if required.

Transfer any leftover coleslaw to a storage container, cover and refrigerate for up to 7 days.



Makes 2 1/2 cups mayonnaise.


1 whole fresh organic egg plus 2 organic egg yolks

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

6 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (approximately 2 1/2 limes)

1 – 2 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped (add more if you prefer additional heat)

2 cups grapeseed or corn oil

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro

2 tsp salt


Combine the whole egg, egg yolks, mustard, lime juice and jalapeño peppers in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for one minute.

With the motor still running, add the oil in a slow steady stream until it is             completely incorporated. Add the fresh cilantro and salt. Check the seasoning, adding more jalapeño peppers, lime and salt as necessary. The mayonnaise should be quite    piquant.

Transfer any leftover mayonnaise to a storage container, cover and refrigerate for up to 7 days.

If you have a compromised immune system and are concerned with the risks associated with the consumption of raw eggs, a safer alternative is to use pasteurized eggs.



For the spicy fish tacos with coleslaw I’d go with a citrus kissed, youthful and crisp low alcohol white, like a Vinho Verde from northern Portugal’s Minho region. This fresh white often has a hint of spritz, and would pair well (plus         refresh) with the heat of the tacos.


Text and food styling by DENISE MARCHESSAULT  

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