Corn tortillas are stuffed will cilantro lime slaw then topped with spicy blackened fish. These blackened fish tacos take only 20 minutes to get on the table and are packed with flavour from the homemade seasoning mix.
I still remember the first time I had blackened fish at a restaurant many, many years ago. I had never experienced that level of flavour on fish before and I was instantly in love! These blackened fish tacos combine my love of tacos and my love of blackened fish. Basically, they are fish tacos on set on fire and they perfect for those of you who are looking for an easy to make flavor-bomb of a meal.
What does 'blackened' mean you might ask. It comes from a method of cooking called 'blackening' where you dip the food in butter and slather it with a cajun inspired spice mixture then pan fry it in a hot pan. The result is a bit of a crispy black crust of flavour, and when something is cooked that way it's called 'blackened'
These blackened fish tacos take a bit of a shortcut to the blackening method. I've skipped coating the fish in butter and just went straight to seasoning it and then frying in a hot non-stick skillet with a bit of oil in it just to keep it low fuss.
The result is all of the mouthbursting flavour you expect from a blackened dish without the step of coating the fish in butter.
Why you're going to love this
- Quick & easy meal - you can easily have this meal on the table in 20 minutes. Simply mix up the seasoning, rub it on the fish, give it a quick pan fry then toss the slaw.
- Homemade seasoning - if you have fairly stocked spice cabinet you probably already have everything you need to make blackening seasoning. Make it yourself also allows you to tailor the flavour profile to your liking.
- Full of vibrant flavour - Blackening seasoning is just PACKED with flavour. It's smoky, spicy and earthy all at the same time. Paired with a simple slaw, this meal is perfectly balanced for flavour.
- Flexible - There are a wide variety of spices used in blackening spice so if you are missing one or two just increase a couple of the others. Also, I've used cod here but you can use any firm white fish you like.
- Spices - paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, thyme, sea salt & pepper. There's a lot of different things going on here, but that's what gives us the flavour punch. This mix is spicy, so if you don't like heat reduce the cayenne.
- Fish - My fish of choice for fish tacos is usually Icelandic cod because it's dense, economical and sustainable. You can use any white fish you like though but I suggest other firm fish like halibut or mahi-mahi.
- Tortillas - corn tortillas are my favourite but flour will do.
- Cabbage - I love a mixture of both red and green cabbage, but this is flexible. A bag of pre-shredded coleslaw will also do if you want to reduce the prep time.
- Onion - red, white or yellow will do.
- Avocado oil - I love avocado oil here because of its neutral flavour but you could use any oil you like.
- Lime juice - fresh or bottled both work equally well here.
- Cilantro - you can't have a cilantro lime slaw without it!
How to make them
Make the seasoning mix. Mix together the paprika, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder, basil, oregano, thyme, sea salt and black pepper in a bowl. This mix is a bit spicy, so if you're not into heat reduce the cayenne by at least half.
Rub the seasoning on the fish. Sprinkle the seasoning over the first side of the fish and then press it into the flesh before turning the fish over and covering the second side.
Mix the slaw together - Add the cabbage, onion, avocado oil, lime juice and cilantro into a medium sized bowl then mix it all together. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
Cook the fish. Heat a large nonstick skillet to medium high and add a bit of oil. Cook the fish a couple of minutes per side. If you are using one big piece of fish as I did, you might want to use a fish flipper to keep the fish from breaking as you turn it.
Flake the fish into bite sized chunks and serve with corn tortillas and the cilantro lime slaw. For extra flavour serve with some buttermilk ranch dressing drizzled over top.
What to serve with them
These blackened fish tacos are a complete meal to me - you've got everything you need between the fish, the slaw and the tortilla - but if you're looking for something else to serve them with you could add:
- Guacamole or pico de gallo and some tortilla chips. Both of these would taste great on the tacos too!
- Mexican black bean and corn salad . This quick and easy salad is perfect to serve as a healthy side dish.
Tips & Tricks
Blackening seasoning is very versatile. If you're out of one ingredient don't worry you'll still have a great tasting seasoning mix.
A non-stick pan is essential. Fish is delicate and prone to sticking and working with a non-stick skillet is the best way to ensure success.
Buy a bag of coleslaw mix to save time instead of shredding your own cabbage.
Switch it up! This seasoning and cooking method works great with shrimp and chicken too!
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Blackened Fish Tacos
- 1 lb cod or other firm white fish like halibut or mahi mahi
- 12 tortillas
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 1⁄2-1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon basil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon oregano
- 1⁄2 teaspoon thyme
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 2 cups red and green cabbage
- 1 small onion
- 1⁄4 cup cilantro minced
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
Optional but recommended toppings
- crema or sour cream
- ranch dressing
- lime slices
- Mix together the paprika, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder, basil, oregano, thyme, sea salt and ground black pepper.
- Pat your fish dry then coat both sides of the fish with the spice rub and press it into the flesh.
- Add the cabbage, onion, cilantro, lime juice and avocado oil to a medium sized bowl then season well with sea salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Heat a large non-stick frying pan to medium high heat then add a touch of oil. When the pan is hot place the fish in it and cook on the first side for 2-3 minutes. Flip the fish over carefully and cook the second side for the same.
- Remove the fish from the pan for it to cool then flake into chunks.
- Serve together on tortillas.
- when using the full teaspoon of cayenne the fish is quite spicy. Stick to half a teaspoon or less is you don't like things on the spicier side.