Recipes

Fried Fish Tacos

David LeFevre makes the ultimate Baja-style fish tacos
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Fried Fish Tacos
Photo: Lizzie Munro/Tasting Table

At his Manhattan Beach, California, seafood restaurant, Fishing with Dynamite, chef David LeFevre starts his fish tacos the usual way, coating the flaky fish in a beer batter and frying the pieces to puffy, golden perfection.

What comes next shows how close LeFevre pays attention to the details: He griddles his handmade corn tortillas, then brushes them with melted butter and seasons them with salt. He tops the tortillas with guacamole, mint and cilantro leaves, his harissa crema, salsa verde, house-made chicharrones and a squeeze of lime. Every vibrant, crisp, buttery flavor comes through in each bite.

To learn more, read "The Baja Moment."

Fried Fish Tacos

Recipe adapted from David LeFevre, Fishing with Dynamite, Manhattan Beach, CA

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

For the Harissa Crema:

¼ cup whole-fat Greek yogurt

½ cup crème fraîche

½ cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons harissa paste

Kosher salt, to taste

For the Fish:

1 pound skinless cod fillet or other mild white fish fillet

½ cup rice flour

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup cornstarch

1½ cups dark beer

Canola oil, for frying

Kosher salt, to taste

For the Tacos:

8 corn tortillas, warmed in a pan

Melted butter

Kosher salt, to taste

Guacamole, for serving

¼ cup mint leaves

Harissa crema, for serving

½ cup shredded red cabbage

Salsa verde, for serving

¼ cup cilantro leaves

Chicharrones, crumbled (optional)

1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions

1. Make the harissa crema: In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, crème fraîche, mayonnaise and harissa. Season with salt and set aside. Makes 1½ cups.

2. Make the fish: Using tweezers, remove any bones from the fish fillet. Cut the fillet in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 1-by-2½-inch strips. Set aside.

3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together both flours and the cornstarch. Gradually whisk in the beer until there are no lumps. The mixture should resemble pancake batter. If the mixture looks too loose or dry, adjust with rice flour and beer.

4. In a heavy-bottom pot fitted with a deep-fry thermometer over medium-high heat, fill enough oil to measure a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil until the thermometer reads 350°.

5. Working in 2 batches, dip the fish pieces into the batter, letting any excess batter drip back into the bowl, then place in the oil. Fry the fish, moving and turning the pieces so they don't stick and cook evenly, until they are puffed and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon and transfer to a wire rack set over a paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt immediately.

6. Assemble the tacos: Brush the warmed tortillas with some melted butter and season with salt. Top with a spoonful of guacamole, mint leaves, the fried fish, a dollop of harissa crema, cabbage, salsa verde, cilantro, chicharrones and a squeeze of lime. Serve.

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