Whenever I see the words crunchy and spicy together in a menu, it’s pretty much a guarantee that I will order it for my meal.
I’m a huge fan of that combination – for me, the crispier the texture and the higher the heat, the better. But I do have my limits with spice. I no longer seek out ghost chilis, or restaurant dishes that make me cry from too much fiery flavor. Nowadays I prefer my meals to have more balanced flavors – crunch and spice balanced by creamy and tart.
Matt and I are trying to limit our restaurant visits lately so I made a dish at home instead that has all these characteristics. Ladies and gents, I present to you these Crunchy Fish Tacos with Spicy Purple Slaw.
Crunch and spice balanced by creamy and tart. The crunch is provided by crispy pollock tenders and vibrant purple cabbage. The spice is from a quick and easy coleslaw (it gets its kick from a combination of garlic, red onion, jalapenos, and Mexican hot sauce). Creaminess from mayo and diced avocados. Tartness from red wine vinegar and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
It doesn’t hurt that this entire dish is super easy to make (I just threw some frozen fish tenders in the oven) and that it’s pretty (look at all the purple and green). It’s giving me more life.
The fish tenders are courtesy of Gorton’s Seafood. I used their extra crunchy tenders. I come from a country with over 7,000 islands, so I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to seafood. I never thought that I would be regularly buying frozen seafood. But I do rely on it quite often – I always have a bag of shrimp for quick meals, or some pre-made fish sticks or tenders for those nights that require a little bit of fun or nostalgia.
Gorton’s was founded in Gloucester, MA, which is America’s oldest seaport and an important center of the US fishing industry. I’m happy to support a New England brand, and even happier that they offer sustainable, high-quality seafood.
Their extra crunchy fish tenders are so good that some of them didn’t even make it to tacos. I blame Matt. For not stopping me from eating them.
The spicy coleslaw is indeed spicy, but the heat is tempered by the mayo and almost-sweet red wine vinegar. I only chilled it for about 20 minutes but you can make it an hour or two in advance to let the flavors meld together even more. But don’t make it a day ahead, it will get too soggy.
You can easily customize the slaw: mix and match purple and green cabbage, add some shredded carrots, a little sugar, some sour cream. Use apple cider vinegar, or mix it up with some mustard. My mom makes her coleslaw with pineapple bits, and I imagine that would add a nice burst of sweetness to this as well.
It was the first time I made fish tacos at home, and it certainly won’t be the last. These tacos reminded me of the amazing fish tacos I had in San Diego, minus the airfare.
I served the tacos with a bunch of accoutrements – pico de gallo, sour cream, tortilla chips, more slaw, and some fresh limes to squeeze on top of everything. But we didn’t really need to, the tacos were delicious as assembled.
Crunchy Fish Tacos with Spicy Purple Slaw
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
1 box Gorton's Extra Crunchy Tenders
soft white corn tortillas
1 avocado, diced
fresh limes for garnish
Spicy Purple Slaw
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Mexican hot sauce
1 garlic clove, grated
2 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
1/4 cup pickles, diced
1/4 small red onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Make the coleslaw. In a large bowl, combine mayo, hot sauce, and garlic. Add cabbage, pickles, onion, jalapeno, and vinegar. Toss well and season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill.
- Make the fish. Cook fish tenders according to package instructions, making sure to turn over the tenders after about 13 minutes. (I cooked mine for a total of 19 minutes.)
- While the fish tenders are in the oven, chop and avocado and quarter a lime.
- Assemble the tacos. Place two fish tenders in each tortilla. Top with slaw and avocados. Squeeze some fresh lime juice over each and serve. Makes 5 tacos.
I used mission-style/restaurant-style tortillas, which is typically sold in the bread aisle of most grocery stores.
Coleslaw inspired by a Bon Appetit recipe.
This post was sponsored by Gorton’s Seafood. Thank you for supporting Confessions of a Chocoholic and the brands that support this blog.