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OPINION | FRONT BURNER: Fish tacos with zucchini slaw a spicy, cool dish

by Kelly Brant | June 16, 2021 at 1:59 a.m.
Fish Tacos With Zucchini-Avocado Slaw (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)

I usually top fish tacos with a quick slaw of red cabbage, red bell pepper, radish (if I have some), shredded carrot (if I have one), avocado, cilantro and lime juice. Simple and easy.

While browsing through "The Best Mexican Recipes" from America's Test Kitchen I came across a recipe for zucchini-avocado slaw. In the cookbook the slaw was paired with potato fritters, but I just knew it would be delicious on fish tacos.

It was essentially the same as what I've been making, but with shredded zucchini in place of the cabbage.

I made a few adjustments — swapping in pickled jalapeno for a bit more acid, reserving the cilantro for garnish and skipping the green onion because I didn't have any — and it was just as good as planned.

In a departure from the norm, the fish for these tacos is not battered and deep fried. Instead, it is generously seasoned and pan cooked. Use any mild, firm white fish you like — haddock, cod, mahi mahi, tilapia or halibut. You could even make these with catfish.

If you have any slaw leftover, it's great on its own.

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Fish Tacos With Zucchini-Avocado Slaw

  • 1 pound zucchini, shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • Fresh or pickled minced jalapeno, to taste
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or chopped
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 2 mild white fish filets such as haddock, halibut or mahi mahi
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 to 6 corn tortillas, warmed
  • Desired garnishes such as cilantro, sour cream, hot sauce, sliced radish

Wrap the zucchini in a towel and squeeze out excess liquid.

In a large bowl, combine the squeezed zucchini, bell pepper, avocado, jalapeno, lime zest and juice and garlic; season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well, cover and refrigerate while you prepare the fish.

In a small bowl, mix ground red pepper, garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper.

Season fish on both sides with the seasoning mix. You may not need all of the seasoning.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add fish and cook for about 4 minutes on each side, or until flaky. Using a fork, break the fish into bite-size pieces.

Serve fish in warmed tortillas topped with zucchini-avocado slaw and garnish as desired.

Makes 4 to 6 tacos.

Slaw recipe adapted from "The Best Mexican Recipes" from America's Test Kitchen

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