I don’t know what it is about fish tacos that has me so solidly hooked. It could be the tender flaky texture of the fish. Or the always delicious topping that are involved— typically containing some outrageous amount of avocado, lime, and/or cilantro. Or the soft, warm corn tortillas they’re all wrapped up in.
Whatever it is. I’m ALL in. Like every time I see them on a restaurant menu. There is just no other option.
One of my favorite ways to eat fish tacos is when the fish is covered in a crispy, crunchy cornmeal crust. Back last summer when we were in DC (again), we went to this incredible seafood restaurant called Black Salt and, of course, when I saw their Cornmeal Crusted Fish Tacos on the menu, it was a done deal.
You guys. I honestly still have dreams about these fish tacos. The crunchiest cornmeal crust, the most tender, flaky, local fish, the most buttery avocado relish— it was perfection on a plate. And of course they were fried, so that helps 😉
So today is all about recreating those cornmeal crusted beauties. So let’s get to work!
One of the most important parts about the cornmeal crust is the seasoning you add. I like to add some spice to my crust, so I added lots of cumin and red chili flakes, along with some more savory flavors like garlic powder and dried oregano. I also added something completely new to me: dried safflower.
Dried safflower is this beautiful orange spice that is typically referred to as “mexican saffron”. It’s usually used as a natural dye, thanks to it’s gorgeous color, but I loved the earthy taste it adds to recipes, so I decided to give them a try!
Once the fish is crusted and baked (sorry, no frying today guys), the fish comes out tender, flaky, and super crispy on the outside— just how I like it! And then of course, the toppings.
I kept it simple with some freshly made guacamole, using my new molcajete (a guac bowl haha), sliced red onion, fresh cilantro, and a little spicy pepper relish from Cottage Lane Kitchen (right down the road from me in Chapel Hill, NC). That combination of creamy, fresh, crunchy, and spicy was on point!
Now let’s all go make tacos and bask in the fact that it’s SUMMER!!!