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Fish Tacos and a Simple Cabbage Slaw

June 20, 2014
by Cornelia Emlen

I confess. As much as I tried, it took me nearly 30 years to be able to really enjoy eating fish.  Growing up, it was just one of a countless foods that I didn’t like (usually without even trying).  None of us kids were very adventurous eaters — it was the 1950s after all!  Our staples were peanut butter and jelly on white bread with the crusts cut off and Lipton’s chicken noodle soup.  Remarkably, all four of us grew up with the love of good food central to our lives.

As a child I’d often accompany my dad to the fish shop in town.  It was run by a father and son team, both wearing long, white aprons whose mid-sections got increasingly stained and smeared with blood as the day went on.  Displayed on piles of ice were unknown species of fish, lying prone with eyes wide open.  Once you selected your fish, the shop owner grabbed it by its tail and unceremoniously “flumped” it down on the counter where it would be swiftly cleaned and be-headed. That was enough for me. Going out the door, they’d toss you a lemon.

In my adult years, I discovered the wonderful tastes of fresh fish: salmon smoked over a pit with cattails in Washington state; brook trout caught locally in our nearby streams; fish steamed with curry in banana leaves and purchased on the street in Southeast Asia; garlic and lime drenched fish tacos in Mexico… all so delicious and each yielding such different flavors.

Whether you are a true lover of fish or tip-toe around the edges, we hope you try this simple meal: it’s quick to make and can be eaten in a tortilla with cabbage slaw or enjoyed plated up with refried beans and a bed of rice.


Serves: 4
A light and flavorful meal that melds the taste of marinated fish with the bright, fresh taste of slaw and the creamy texture of avacado. As beautiful to behold as it is to eat.
  • 1 lb+ fish (delicious with almost any variety)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, washed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for the fry pan
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • salt, to taste
  • cabbage slaw (see separate recipe)
  • corn tortillas, warmed
  • avocado, chopped
  • fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • queso fresco
Farmers To You Ingredients:
Other Fresh or Pantry Ingredients:
  • Onion, Olive Oil, Limes, Corn Tortillas, Avocado, Salt
  1. Wash fish and pat dry. (If not filleted, cut fish steak into ½ inch thick strips.) Place inside a large, clean, plastic bag. Add the onion, juice from 2 limes, olive oil, chopped cilantro, and salt. Gently shake the bag being sure to coat the fish. Allow to marinate, refrigerated, for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
  2. Marinated fish can be cooked on the grill or on the stove top (with finishing in the oven). If you are not grilling, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Saving the marinade, remove the fish from the bag. Place in the heated fry pan and sear each side for 3 or more minutes, depending on thickness of fish.
  3. Now transfer the fish to a heatproof baking dish. Cover with the remaining marinade. Place in preheated oven and bake for approximately 10 minutes. Flip filets in pan. Turn heat to broil and finish off until fish and marinade begins to brown and get a bit crispy. Remove from oven.
  4. Warm corn tortillas either in the oven or wrapped in a paper towel in the microwave for 30+ seconds. Place tortilla on a plate and top each with a generous amount of fish, slaw and some fresh, chopped avocado, tomato and if desired, queso fresco. Couldn't be better!


Cabbage Slaw
Serves: 6
A versatile cabbage slaw, delicious eaten alone, as a side dish, or inside a fish taco.
  • ½ cup mayo
  • 2 limes, juiced (see note)
  • 2 handfuls+/- cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely diced (you can use red or yellow onion or scallion)
  • 8 cups +/- thinly sliced cabbage (all green or a combination or green and red)
  • chipotle chili, to taste (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Farmers To You Ingredients:
  • cilantro, cabbage
Other Fresh or Pantry Ingredients:
  • mayonnaise, lime, onions, red caggabe, chipotle chili
  1. Combine mayonnaise, lime juice, cilantro, garlic and onions. Add salt to taste. If you desire a slightly spicy flavor, add a bit of chipotle or other chili. Set aside.
  2. Thinly slice cabbage. Combine with the mayonnaise mixture. Enjoy!