best fish tacos

About once a year, my husband and his dad go on a fishing trip for several days.

It’s their thing.

And every time they come back, they unload and clean their catch, and then they describe the trip, which always goes a little something like this: the food was really bad, we didn’t sleep much, the diesel fumes from the boat were so strong they gave us headaches, and we didn’t catch much.

Sign me up.

And yet they keep doing, and they actually seem to like it!

I guess it would kind of be like my describing a Goodwill trip with all five children to them. It’s 48% miserable but 52% exhilarating, so I keep going back for more (only, I haven’t actually gone to Goodwill with all five kids in like a year, so you be the judge between the boys and me about which one of us is finally learning our lesson).

ANYhoo, despite the fact that the boat they go out on always seems to have a record catch on the trip before theirs and then one of those most pathetic catches ever on the actual trip Butch and Shaun go on, they boys always manage to come back with a pretty decent mess o’ fish.

Problem is, I don’t like fish.

Or so I thought until I had really, really fresh fish. But, even when it’s crazy fresh, it’s still not my absolute favorite.

OR SO I THOUGHT until we used some of Shaun’s latest catch to make fish tacos for our friends, Rob and Jolinda, the other night.


They were AH-mazing. I simply cannot exaggerate how wonderful these tacos are, but let me put it this way: they’re rather time intensive in terms of prep, and we got started late, so when the Millers got to our house for dinner, we were madly chopping and dicing and mixing, but we still didn’t get dinner on the table for another hour and 1/2.

And even though they had to wait until their poor stomachs were twisted and growling with hunger, both Rob and Jolinda not only declared these the best fish tacos they had ever eaten, but they unequivocally proclaimed that they were worth the wait and then some.

Have I sold you yet?

Okay, so here’s what you’ll do. There are 4 parts to the recipe, so I’ll break them down separately.


We use corn tortillas for this recipe and usually just rub them with a little butter and throw them on the griddle until they’re slightly browned on both sides right before serving the tacos.

Apple Slaw

3 cups chopped cabbage

1 red apple, 1 granny smith, unpeeled, cored and chopped

1 grated carrot

1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped

2 green onions, chopped (less if strong)

1/3 cup mayo

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

TIP: if you have a food processor, you could cut down your chopping time considerably by  using it to shred the cabbage (or you could buy it pre-chopped), the carrot, and the bell pepper. I would still chop the apple separately since it helps to have different textures within the slaw


Yogurt Sauce

1/2 cup yogurt

1/2 cup mayo

1 lime, juiced

1 jalapeno, minced

1 tsp minced caper

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp dried dill weed

1 tsp cayenne

Note: this can be made ahead of time, but it gets considerably spicier the longer it sits, so you might adjust the amount of jalapeno or cayenne according to the heat you prefer based on when you make it. (Also, we made this without the capers or the dill weed because we didn’t have them handy, and it was still fabulous).


Beer Batter

We used this recipe, and it is so stinkin’ good. Don’t be intimidated by the huge amounts of paprika and garlic powder. They make the recipe.


Also, we used Amberjack, but most fish (the fresher the better) would work. 

Rabbit trail: The day I first made this recipe, Ezra was hugging me goodbye as I dropped him off at his Softa’s house, and he looked deep into my face and said, “Mama, you have wrinkles.” (This will be important in a second).

Cue: major blow to the ego.

As the twins and I made our way through the produce section at the grocery store about an hour after that, a lady walked up to tell me how pretty the girls were. I said, “Thank you,” and then she said, “Girl, I don’t know about you, but if I had twins first, I’d be done!” I laughed and said, “Well, they’re actually my 4th and 5th.” This lady gave me a flabbergasted look and said, “NO! I wouldn’t have thought you were a day over 24! You go ahead with your bad self doing whatever you’re doing, girl, ‘cause it’s working.” (Take THAT, Ezra!).

Ego slightly restored.

And I grinned and grinned. Because, let’s face it, she was just being nice. I don’t look 24 or anywhere close to it. But I’ll take every bit of encouragement I can get. You might be able to argue, though, that her “You GO GIRL-ing” went to my head a little bit because as I got close to the checkout, preparing to buy my first can of beer ever for the fish batter (yes, you read that right; I had literally never bought alcohol before), I thought, “Oh! I guess I need to get my ID out. I mean, after all, that lady thought I looked 24. So, surely I’ll get carded!”

And then? I went through the line, clutching my driver’s license at the ready, and the checker took one look at me, and…scanned the beer with no comment and no request for ID.

Ego completely deflated. Hmmph.

That’s okay, though, because I just ate an extra fish taco later on that night to drown my sorrows, and it totally worked.

The End.


P.S. Seriously. Make these. Even if the ingredients look weird to you. Even if you don’t think you’ll like them. They are pretty much a delicious party in your mouth. I’ve yet to meet anyone that doesn’t like them, and they’re currently in my top 5 favorite foods of all time.


  1. The older we are the younger you young people look, and the converse it true also. That lady in the grocery store probably did think you looked 24. Saw a similar recipe demonstrated on tv yesterday. Not trying yours or hers. Too much work for one meal for one.

  2. Did u end up using a deep fryer for the fish or did u pan fry? This recipe looks amazing but I don’t have a deep fryer:(

  3. Yep! Your exuberance did it! I cannot WAIT to try this recipe!!! Thanks for sharing…it should be a law that any family that makes an amazing recipe HAS to share it on the internet for all to see…us Mommas need help, am I right?!?!

    I’ve had similar ego shattering: I’m a 40 year old (at the time) Mother of 4, ages 10-6, and they’re all with me; I’m at the grocery store, feeling like I looked pretty good that day since it was Bible study day and I always shower AND pick out an outfit that has buttons and zippers, plus complete make-up on…and then the cashier (who was from another country) says “So, Grandma has all the kids tonight,huh?” Wha….wha…what did she just say??? Did I hear…”Grandma”???? Was she referring to….ME????? I quickly replied, before I fully processed it all “Yep, Mom’s always on duty…” and she kind of looked at me, paused, and kept going…

    Yeah….that was super fun 😉

    I bet fish tacos would have made me feel so much better that day 😉

    1. Oh, Megan, what was that lady thinking? Who SAYS that? Maybe making this tacos will make you retroactively better. I think they’re THAT good. : )

  4. Oh! This made me snicker quietly to myself! (Because if I laugh too hard, all the kids come running to see what I’m looking at, and they’re playing so nicely together right now…)
    Anyway, I’ve never bought alcohol either. We have a few beers in the house and a bottle of wine (also makes for some really good fish), but the Hubs has to buy it for me because it makes me too nervous. I think that’s what comes of being raised in a teetotaling, Southern Baptist home: alcohol buying anxiety.

    1. Ha! I actually didn’t feel any anxiety about buying it. I just don’t buy it because I don’t drink it. But it was funny when I realized that I was having a first time experience at 31 that most people checked off their list a LONG time ago! : )

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