Summer is synonymous with sun, sand, and a slower pace of life.
It could also mean that these delectable fish tacos are on the menu.
“Every bite of these fish tacos transports me to the surf and sand of California and its southern neighbor, Baja California, Mexico,” said Pati Jinich, chef, cookbook author, and television host.
“Both are famous for their fish tacos, but no one knows when the craze began,” Jinich added.
For a new summer recipe, try these Cali-Baja fish tacos. Pati Jinich (Pati Jinich)
“My recipe is inspired by the Ensenada, Baja California, Mexican version, with an extremely fluffy, puffy batter or capeado — achieved by folding in softly beaten egg whites.”
“In addition to that pillowy batter and really fresh fish, a good fish taco needs a delicious salsa and a tangy, creamy slaw.”
Tacos de Pescado / Tacos de Pescado de Cali-Baja Pati Jinich’s Cali-Baja serves 6 people.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Time to cook: 25 minutes
2 beaten egg whites
1 cup all-purpose flour plus additional flour to dust the fish
1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt, plus more to season the fish
1/8 teaspoon cumin powder
1 cup Mexican beer (preferably light) (but anything short of a very dark bitter beer will work)
For frying, use safflower or canola oil.
1 pound mild firm white fish cut into 1×4-inch strips, such as cod, haddock, or halibut
To taste, freshly ground black pepper
6 corn tortillas
Salsa macha, creamy slaw, marinated jalapeos in lime juice, salt to taste are optional accompaniments.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg whites until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Take the bowl out of the mixer.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, salt, and cumin, then add the Mexican beer. Gently fold the flour mixture into the egg whites in four additions, being careful not to deflate the egg whites.
- Heat the oil in a heavy, wide skillet or casserole to a depth of 14″ for at least 5 minutes over medium heat. Dip a wooden spoon or the tip of a piece of fish into the oil to test the temperature: it should bubble happily around whatever you introduce into it. Cover a cooling rack with paper towels and place it on a baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with paper towels if you don’t have a cooling rack.
- Season and flour the fish strips while the oil heats up. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Flour a plate and gently press each fish strip into it, then flip over and flour the other side. Tap off any excess flour before placing on the rack.
- When the oil is hot, dip the floured fish strips one at a time into the batter and immediately, but gently, place them in the hot oil. Fill the pan with as many as you can without overcrowding it. Fry until crisp and lightly golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes; flip and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until crisp and lightly golden brown.
- Remove with tongs — the type with the heat-resistant coating on the ends are best if you don’t want to tear the batter — or a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined rack. To keep warm, cover loosely with foil. Serve with macha salsa and creamy slaw on a flour tortilla. Add pickled red onion and a jalapeo marinated in fresh squeezed lime juice and salt to taste if desired.