Jennie's Fish Tacos

Jennie's Fish Tacos
Staff Writer
Fish Taco

Big Girls Small Kitchen

Fish Taco

Our friend Jennie went to culinary school and works as a professional chef at an Upper West Side restaurant we can’t afford to go to. For one potluck we hosted, she made us fish tacos with all the fixings, allowing the rest of us to bring quick complements — dishes from quesadillas to cheese platters to fruit spreads to the aforementioned cake — in order to hold up our ends of the bring-your-own bargain, while chef Jennie’s artful buffet stole the show.

This is Jennie’s recipe. However, having eaten our fill of this and other of Jennie’s delicious creations, we vouch for it completely.


For the crema:

  • 1 small container sour cream
  • Juice of of 1 lemon and zest of half
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup shredded white cabbage

For the salsa:

  • 4-5 tomatoes, seeded
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bell pepper (any color), finely diced (same size as onion)
  • About 2-3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • Good extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
  • ½ jalapeño (with or without seeds depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 2 large handfuls cilantro
  • Favorite hot sauce, to taste
  • Pinch of sugar*

For the fish:

  • Tortillas, for serving (we used flour)
  • 2 pounds flaky white fish (such as orata, tilapia, or mahi mahi)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce (we like Sriracha)
  • Almost ¼ cup of canola or vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


For the crema:

Mix all of the ingredients and cover and refrigerate.

For the salsa:

Mix everything but the oil, hot sauce, and sugar together. Add oil, hot sauce, and sugar to taste.

For the fish:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Wrap the tortillas tightly in a foil packet and set aside. Marinate the fish in garlic, lime juice, hot sauce, oil, and salt and pepper for about 30 minutes before you start cooking. While the fish is marinating, heat up your grill. If you don’t have a grill (indoor or outdoor) you can broil the fish or pan sear. Also, shred your cabbage and set aside. Now all of your condiments are done and ready to go. All you need to do is cook the fish.

Just before you cook the fish, place the tortillas in the oven until heated through, about 5 minutes.

If you have a grill pan, make sure it is extremely hot before cooking fish. Even though the marinade has salt and pepper in it, once the fish is on the pan I would season again. Cook on one side for about 3 minutes and baste it with leftover marinade. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Make sure you’ve got good grill marks (for flavor).

Once fish is cooked and has cooled down slightly, flake the fish with your fingers or a fork.

Fish Shopping Tip

A fresh fish should not smell fishy nor have milky, opaque eyes; it should have bright red gills, firm flesh, and a tight anal cavity.

Fish Cooking Tip

Whole fish should be stored upright in ice in the refrigerator.

Fish Wine Pairing

Most white wines (especially albariño) and rosé with most fish dishes. Muscadet, sancerre, or New Zealand sauvignon blanc with cold fish dishes; chardonnay, pinot gris/grigio, or pinot blanc with grilled or roasted fish; sauvignon blanc or gewürztraminer with baked fish; grüner veltliner with fish pâté; vintage or non-vintage champagne or sparkling wine with light fish dishes; fino or manzanilla with small fried fish; junmai, junmai-ginjo, or junmai-daiginjo with teriyaki fish.