San Diego Fish Tacos


  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (8 ounce) white fish fillets (such as scrod, pollock, snapper, haddock, halibut, and catfish), pin bones removed and each fillet cut crosswise into 6 pieces (by the fish monger, if possible)
  • 1 small to medium sweet onion such as Vidalia, 4 to 8 ounces
  • 10 sprigs cilantro
  • 1/2 cup light or regular mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt
  • 1 small head green cabbage, 12 to 16 ounces
  • 1 ripe but firm avocado
  • 1 lime
  • 1 (12 ounce) jar medium-hot salsa
  • 12 flour tortillas, about 8 inches in diameter


  1. Put the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Combine the beer, egg, and flour in a medium-size mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in the mustard, cayenne, salt, and several grindings of black pepper.
  4. Put 6 pieces of fish into the batter, coat well, and add to the skillet. Cook for 3 minutes, turn the pieces over, and cook for 3 more minutes until golden brown.
  5. Drain on a paper towel-lined platter.
  6. Repeat with the remaining 6 pieces. Reduce the heat if needed to prevent burning.
  7. While the fish cooks, peel and quarter the onion and remove the leaves from the cilantro sprigs.
  8. Put the onion and cilantro into a food processor and pulse several times, or until coarsely chopped. (Or chop by hand.)
  9. Add the mayonnaise and yogurt to the processor and pulse just once or twice to combine.
  10. Put the onion-mayonnaise sauce into a small bowl.
  11. Halve the cabbage lengthwise and remove the core from each half. Place each half on a cutting surface, flat side down. Cut into thin shreds with a chef's knife. (Or shred using the large holes of a four-sided grater or the grating attachment of a food processor.) You should have about 4 cups.
  12. Put the cabbage into a small bowl.
  13. Halve pit and peel the avocados. Cut each half lengthwise into six slices. Lay the slices on a small plate.
  14. Cut the lime into 4 wedges and put in a small dish.
  15. Put the salsa in a small bowl with a slotted spoon (so you won't get a lot of liquid in your tacos).
  16. Bring all the ingredients for the tacos to the table and allow diners to make tacos one at a time as follows: Put a few tablespoons of cabbage in the middle of each tortilla. Top with 1 piece of fish, 1 tablespoon or so of the onion-mayonnaise sauce, 1 tablespoon of the salsa, 2 avocado slices, and a squeeze of lime.
  17. Fold and eat.

Yield: 12 tacos, 3 per person