Perhaps the most famous Baja street snack, and certainly one of the most frequent reader requests, fish tacos differ a bit from place to place, but are always served with the same basic selection of garnishes. A thin avocado sauce, vinegar-marinated onion rings, shredded cabbage salad, and a selection of red and green salsas are as necessary at a Baja fish taco stand as catsup and mustard at a burger barn. Along both of Baja’s coasts, we’ve tried several, hitting some of the more famous ones in our quest for the perfect fish taco. From Norma’s in San Felipe to Pilar’s in Todos Santos to Hermanos Gonzales in La Paz, we enjoyed every finger-lickin’ minute, but actually found the very best to be, in our opinion, a nameless little street stand on the malecón, at the foot of the pier, in La Paz. The shredded cabbage salad had just enough creamy cole slaw dressing to distinguish it from the bland cabbage-only version found at other places, and the salsas were superb. The owner was happy to share his expertise, and the following recipe is as close as we can come at home to producing Baja-style fish tacos.
- 1 1/2 lb fish filets, cut lengthwise into strips
- 1 cup flour 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, separated
- oil necessary for frying
- corn or flour tortillas, warmed to soften
For the garnish:
- Shredded cabbage, lightly dressed with your favorite cole slaw dressing
- Raw onion rings, marinated in vinegar with a pinch of oregano
- A thin, tomato-free guacamole sauce
- A selection of salsas: red, green and pico de gallo (fresh salsa)
Pat the fish filet strips dry with paper towels.
Mix the flour, salt, pepper, vegetable oil and egg yolks to form a batter.
Beat the egg whites until stiff, and fold into the mixture.
In a large skillet, heat oil to a depth of 1 inch. Dip each fish strip in the batter, fry quickly on one side, turning to fry the other until golden brown. This should only take a couple of minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.
Arrange pieces of fish in softened tortillas and serve at once, accompanied by the shredded cabbage, marinated onions, guacamole sauce, and a selection of salsas.
Cooking on the Sea of Cortez: Culinary adventures in Baja California