Smoky Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Crema

by Andie Mitchell on April 21, 2012


My favorite tacos are those composed of ground beef, a packet of taco seasoning laced with mass amounts of MSG, Ortega crunchy taco shells, cheese, sour cream, and shredded iceberg lettuce- specifically the ones my mother sets under the broiler until the cheese melts into the ground beef and the taco shells begin to freckle. None of the ingredients in these beef numbers should exceed $5.99.

But fish tacos are a close second. Mostly because they’re outrageously fresh-tasting with a real juicy, delicate bite. They just feel healthy. But also because

they remind me of last summer when I dined on the waterfront in Seattle with Camille, just before we kayaked into a *barge on Lake Union.

*Only the barge retained its dignity.


The flaky white fish in these corn tortillas is soaked in the flavors of smoked paprika and cumin. I love the addition of cilantro lime crema for the way it cools down the heat of cayenne pepper. Cabbage adds crunch and color.

For the best flavor, eat them outside- preferably in drenching humidity with a mosquito halo.



Smoky Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Crema

For the Cilantro Lime Crema:
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

For the Fish:
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
1 lb white fish (cod, snapper, halibut, tilapia)
2 tablespoons oil

Remaining Ingredients:
8 small white corn tortillas
salsa fresca
finely shredded red cabbage
finely chopped cilantro

Stir all crema ingredients in a small bowl to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Whisk lime juice, paprika, cumin, cayenne, garlic, and salt. Place fish in a shallow bowl and pour the lime spice sauce evenly over the top, flipping the fish to be sure all sides are coated. Let the fish marinate for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and swirl to coat the pan. Place the fish and the sauce into the pan and allow to cook for 3 minutes undisturbed. Flip and cook an additional 3 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and without removing the fish from the pan, flake it with a fork. S

Serve the fish in the corn tortillas with salsa, cabbage, crema, guacamole, and fresh cilantro.

serves 4

Photo source: Foodistablog

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Pom Pom April 21, 2012 at 11:34 am

They look delicious! I can almost smell them, that photo is so good!


Mostly April 21, 2012 at 11:56 am

I have the perfect porch for this recipe, and its sunny in seattle today!


Dee Hutchings April 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I love fish tacos! Those look yummy :)


Anna @ Food Fitness Frolicking April 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Oh these do look absolutely, utterly delicious. I can just picture biting into one at an outdoor lunch party underneath the sunshine and light breeze whilst sipping a tall glass of sparkling lemon water. Oh goodness I can’t wait for summer. And I’ve just bookmarked this recipe to make the first day it’s above 75 degrees here :)


Abby April 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm

where. have you BEEN?! haha


Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) April 21, 2012 at 7:53 pm

This definitely looks like the next fish taco recipe I need to try! Oh boy I use way too many of your recipes on my blog already, haha. Maybe I’ll make it and not blog about it… hmm…

I agree though, Ortega is the best taco.


J ... semplicemente ... J April 21, 2012 at 8:34 pm

That Cilantro Crema seems delightful!


Louise April 22, 2012 at 4:52 am

That’s dinner sorted then! Looks like an amazing recipe and fish tacos are virtually unheard of in the UK so you’ve broadened my culinary horizons today!! :)


Tracy {Pale Yellow} April 22, 2012 at 5:31 am

Fish tacos are so yummy, these look delicious! I love anything with a good crema!


Samantha April 22, 2012 at 9:13 am

My mouth is watering. Absolutely can’t wait to try this recipe out!


Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy April 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm

For some reason it took me until last year to try fish tacos for the first time, and now I’m hooked. I have to say I do prefer the kind that come battered and fried, but these look equally as tasty.


Jennifer Young April 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm

I’m not usually a fish taco fan, but, wow. These look amazing. I recently discovered smoked paprika and I love it. Can’t wait to try these, thanks for the recipe.


Kate April 23, 2012 at 12:15 am

Those look so good! What kind of oil do you use for cooking the fish?


franchise takeaway April 23, 2012 at 2:56 am

guacamole is great combination for fish and ofcourse cilantro :)


franchise takeaway April 23, 2012 at 2:56 am

guacamole is great combination for fish and of course cilantro :)


Megan (Braise The Roof) April 23, 2012 at 11:16 am

This recipe makes me crave Latin flavors and warm weather in equal amounts. They’d be awesome with a mojito! Also, I am rediscovering my love of red cabbage. Yum.


Keri April 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm

What exactly IS “salsa fresca”?

This recipe looks delicious and I swore I’d never eat fish tacos. lol


Erica April 23, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Made these for dinner last night, they were delicious. Thanks, xoxo


Miranda @ Biting Life April 24, 2012 at 6:22 am

Can you believe it… I’ve NEVER had a fish taco before. I think I need to make this. Like, right now.


SueP April 24, 2012 at 7:57 am

I made these last night and they were outstanding. That crema is to die for. Or to live for. Whatever, they’re going into my rotation! Thanks!


Carol April 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm

I can’t wait to try this! This lovely Seattle weather has got me craving lighter foods like this! Yum!


Liz April 28, 2012 at 11:07 am

I am making these today for lunch! I also wanted to thank you so much for your blog. It seems like everytime I read it, it is the PERFECT thing I need. I just finished 30 days of eating 100% raw vegan, and I felt terrific, lost 12.5 lbs, and had way more energy. Now I am struggling whether to stay raw, or find a happy medium. This post was perfect. I love food and I love to eat. I love my sister’s fresh made scones and juicy burger and greasy fries. I still have weight to lose and I still have to be careful lest I lose control in a binge that has me emptying my cupboards into my throat. I don’t have things figured out for myself yet, but you have given me hope that one day I will find a way to include the things I love and the benefits of a healthy body.


Liz April 28, 2012 at 2:59 pm

I’m back:) I am sitting on the couch, stuffed to the gills. I made the fish tacos and they were FANTASTIC! My family and I were in such a hurry to dig in we completely forgot the cabbage. Ah well, I am sure it won’t be long before we make them again.
Thanks so much for such a fresh, light, delicious recipe.


Jan Marrah April 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm

I made a few changes to make them more healthy – no oil to cook the fish and Greek yogurt instead of the sour cream and no salt. They were wonderful! Thank you for sharing.


danielle April 29, 2012 at 7:16 am

God Morning! I wanted to let you know that I featured this deliciousness in my “What I Bookmarked This Week” post – stop by and see if you have a minute.


Elizabeth April 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I made these tonight for dinner, and while they looked like a big old mess, they tasted great. I’m going to reheat the other half for dinner tomorrow. Looking forward to them again.


V April 30, 2012 at 11:40 pm

made these for dinner tonight and they were AMAZING! the cilantro lime crema is the bomb. even my four year old loved the *fish; he ate his with some plain brown basmati rice (*we omitted the cayenne pepper).

keri: salsa fresca is literally ‘fresh salsa’ (as opposed to say salsa in a jar – although that works quite well too, it’s what we had on hand tonight :)


Katie P May 1, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Good golly miss molly! I made these for dinner tonight and my boyfriend could not stop waxing poetic about how good they were. Thanks for the recipe, in the words of my handsome “this is a keeper!”


yours truly, melissa May 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm

this looks and sounds incredibly delicious. i will have to make these this summer


Liz May 25, 2012 at 10:00 pm

These were the second most fantastic things I ever made. THANK YOU for the recipe. I’ll never be able to order fish tacos again, knowing I can MAKE them like THIS!!!!


Katie October 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I’m in the midst of making this! The cilantro crema is awesome! I can’t wait until it all comes together!


Heather March 18, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Made these last night and they were fantastic! I shredded some apple and tossed it on the tacos too. Thanks for this!


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