3 Fish Taco Recipes for Chillier Days

With the folks at Regal Springs Tilapia, purveyors of sustainable, hormone- and antibiotic-free tilapia, we’re diving stomach-first into fall—with fish tacos. (You read that right.)

I could win the world championship for eating fish tacos—some rough napkin math leads me to believe I’ve consumed as many as 200,000 this summer alone.

All for me.
All for me.
Photo by Julia Gartland

As a world champion fish taco eater, summer is my best season (and if you must know, the fish taco at Tacoway Beach, nestled in the backyard of Rockaway Beach Surf Club, is the best specimen—the perfectly flaky, juicy tilapia shines, elevated by crisp radishes and creamy guacamole). But while official outdoor-fish-taco-eating-season is coming to an end, I’m not slowing down. I’m an all-seasons fish taco gal, and you’ll be happy if you join me.

Come fall, I’ll be swapping watching surfers to watching football inside. But my summer standby will remain constant through all my fall get-togethers—my fish tacos will be dressed up with new toppings: think ancho mole, a tangy Brussels sprout slaw, or hearty stewed beans. Lucky for us, tilapia is super adaptable, easy to find fresh or frozen, and an excellent blank canvas for when seasons change and it’s time to get funky with new produce and toppings.

Hello fall, hello tilapia tacos.
Hello fall, hello tilapia tacos.
Photo by Julia Gartland design by Tim McSweeney

Follow these ideas to jazz up an incredibly easy base recipe for fish tacos:

  • Mole + Herby Relish:  This makes for a rich fish taco. Start with an ancho mole recipe that looks good to you (this one is a star). Then, chop some red onion, cilantro, and mint together for a rough, bright relish. Bonus: You get lots of leftover ancho mole you can keep in the fridge and use on stews, egg sandwiches, grain bowls, or roasted veg. If for whatever reason you are a tortilla averse-person, grilled or pan-seared tilapia with ancho mole spooned on top is an impressive weeknight meal worth making.

  • Slaw + Seeds: Shred, slice, or grate some of the thousands of Brussels sprouts you accidentally bought, squeeze over some lemon, drizzle olive oil, and add a pinch of cayenne: Poof, Brussels slaw! I found that my fish tacos needed very little besides the slaw to taste delicious: only another extra hearty squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of flaky salt, and a few roasted pumpkin seeds atop my grilled tilapia.
  • Squash + Friends: Use a mandoline to slice squash (butternut, delicata, or even zucchini) into thin rounds, spread out on a baking sheet, lightly coat with olive oil and salt, and roast at 375° F until golden brown and crispy. Squash chips’ sweet crunch contrasts perfectly with the hearty black beans and flakey tilapia. But the taco’s crowning glory is the addition of some pomegranate seeds—I know it’s unusual, but the punchiness goes so well with the brightness of tilapia’s fresh flavor. Go see for yourself.

Whether you spring for fresh or frozen fish, a taco is never far away—even in the fall. Mild, sweet, adaptable, hyper-flaky, lake-grown tilapia is a natural pick. We partnered with Regal Springs Tilapia, whose tilapia comes from deep water lakes in Honduras and Mexico, to share ideas for getting your next tilapia fish taco ready for sweater season.

(via Food52)

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