Lent is once again upon us. Most everyone is acutely aware of the Catholic sacrifice of abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent. That is why suddenly the stores are bursting with sales on fresh and frozen seafood and other meatless entrees. While our entire family loves fish, it is often much too expensive for us to buy and eat on a regular basis during the rest of the year. However, during Lent we stock up like mad and stuff our freezer full of tilapia, shrimp, salmon, orange roughy, cod, tuna and all the other wonderful ocean bounty that is suddenly so affordable. As Paul puts it, it hardly seems sacrificial to eat the way we do during Lent.
This is why we also gave up cheese and sweets of any type. It cancels out a little bit of the joy we get from eating all this yummy fish.
The first meal we made with our luxurious bounty of seafood were these fish tacos. Most fish tacos are heavily breaded and then fried. I really hate frying anything so we decided to make up our own version of fish tacos that are a little healthier and fresher. First, we chose to marinate the fish in a paprika-spiced lime vinaigrette. Cod is pretty bland, so we really wanted some nice flavor and spice to permeate the fish. Next, we breaded the fish using seasoned flour, eggs, and panko bread crumbs for a little crunch. We then baked the fish until crispy and served it on flour tortillas with a generous portion of creamy honey-lime slaw and spicy mango salsa over the top. We served it alongside this Yum Yum sauce for dipping. It was fantastic. The whole family was sitting there eating while humming "yummy" the whole time. In fact, it was so good that we had it two days in a row (that almost never happens) and Matthew has been requesting it nonstop ever since ("We eat the fish for dinner tomorrow, Mommy - you like that?").
We'll probably be making this again come Friday. Sacrificing never tasted so good.
Baked Fish Tacos with Creamy Slaw and Mango Salsa
For the Fish:
1 pound firm white fish (we used cod), cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 garlic cloves, smashed
For the Breading:
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 large eggs
For the Slaw:
1 package store-bought coleslaw mix, preferably angel shredded
1/4 cup mayo (we use Hellmann's Light)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
For the Mango Salsa:
1 ripe mango, cut into cubes
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
Dash of Salt
Chopped Cilantro (optional)
To prepare the fish, mix the lime juice, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and garlic in a large Ziploc bag until well combined. Add the fish, seal the bag, and toss a couple times to coat. Place the bag of marinating fish on a plate and refrigerate until ready to bake. This can be done up to 24 hours in advance.
To make the mango salsa, simply combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat. This can be made one day in advance.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a wire rack over the baking sheet. Spray the baking sheet with cooking spray.
Set out three separate pie plates or shallow bowls. In one of the pie plates, whisk together the flour, garlic salt, pepper and paprika. In a second pie plate, whisk together the two eggs. Add the panko bread crumbs to a third pie plate.
Remove the fish from the marinade. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Working with one piece of fish at a time, dredge in flour. Shake off the excess and then dip in the egg. Let the excess drip off and then generously coat in panko. Set on the prepared wire rack. Repeat with remaining pieces of fish. When all fish has been coated, spray or drizzle lightly with olive oil.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the panko is beginning to brown (parts will still be pale) and the fish registers at least 150 degrees with an instant-read thermometer.
While the fish bakes, make the slaw. Whisk together the mayo, honey, lime juice, vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the shredded cabbage and toss gently over and over until the cabbage is evenly coated with the dressing. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.
To assemble the tacos, warm a stack of fajita-style tortillas in a microwave between layers of damp paper towels. Place some fish on top of the tortilla, followed by the slaw and mango salsa. Enjoy!