Cornmeal & Safflower Crusted Fish Tacos


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.


Cornmeal & Safflower Crusted Fish Tacos {gluten free} //


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!


Cornmeal & Safflower Crusted Fish Tacos {gluten free} //

Cornmeal & Safflower Crusted Fish Tacos {gluten free} //


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!!!


Cornmeal & Safflower Crusted Fish Tacos {gluten free} //

Cornmeal & Safflower Crusted Fish Tacos

Serves 2-4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 22 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Main Dish


  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried safflower (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2lb fresh wild cod
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • toppings: guacamole, red onion, cilantro leaves, spicy pepper relish


*I used Cottage Lane's Spicy Pepper Relish in this recipe


Step 1
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Step 2
Mix cornmeal together with salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, red chili flakes, and dried safflower. In a separate bowl, whisk one egg. Cut the fish into 5-6 equal sized pieces, then dip each piece in the egg, followed by the cornmeal mixture. Place on a foil lined baking sheet.
Step 3
Bake fish for 12-15 minutes, depending on thickness. For the last 2 minutes of cooking, place tortillas on a baking sheet and pop into the oven to warm up (2-3 minutes).
Step 4
Now it's time to assemble! Place one piece of fish on top of each tortilla and top wit guacamole, red onion, fresh cilantro leaves, and some spicy pepper relish*. Of course with lots of chips and salsa on the side!

Cornmeal & Safflower Crusted Fish Tacos {gluten free} //


Hi, I’m Liz and this is my food blog where I share my love of healthy foods and whole ingredients. You will find mostly vegetarian dishes, plenty of sweets, and lots of love from this little kitchen in Durham, North Carolina!


    • Thanks Rachel!! So simple too— aka perfect for a summer night 🙂

  1. Perfect for summer and I’m totally into the fact that they’re baked! I’m curious if I can find safflower around here, sounds like a great flavor to test out 🙂

    • I’m sure your local Whole Foods would probably have it. It’s totally optional too– just adds a bit of earthiness 😉

    • It was super fun to experiment with! Definitely recommend 🙂

  2. YUM! Fish Tacos, there is just something about them that get my taste buds excited! Especially when topped with guac!

  3. Pingback: Blog Posts

Comments are closed.