Welcome to On Board in 20: a recipe series where we share wholesome, family-style meals you can prepare in about 20 minutes. The recipes always contain whole food ingredients and are intended to be brought to the table for family members to build and construct their individual plates as their senses guide them. Along the way, we bring you tips and tricks for speeding up prep and clean up for those busy weeknight meal times.
There have been 12 installments in the On Board in 20 series and I can’t believe I haven’t shared a recipe for fish tacos here yet! Fish tacos are such a quick, family friendly meal — and by quick I mean lightning speed. Sometimes proteins can be tricky to get on the table in 20 minutes. They usually require some handling (pounding or mincing) and you have to keep a close eye on them. Most fish, however, requires little to no handling and cooks through in about four to five minutes.
The key is ensuring you start with very cold fish (unlike other animal proteins where you want to bring them to room temperature before cooking) and a smoking hot pan. The sear is essential to preventing the fish from falling apart when you remove it from the pan, and a good fish spatula doesn’t hurt either.
I selected cod for tonight’s dinner but easily could have used snapper, halibut or even salmon. Cod is nice because it comes boneless (as with any fish, always keep an eye out though) and flakes really well on high heat. As the cast iron gets to a smoke hot temperature, you can mix the rub and season the fish.
This recipe is very mild and suited for a little one’s taste buds, but a bit of Cajun seasoning or cayenne would give it a nice kick. The cabbage adds a much needed crunch and red cabbage would work equally well.
The avocado crema has several options for variety. If you don’t have a mini processor you could simply layer the avocado, sour cream and cilantro on each tortilla shell and add your own healthy dose of lime. We like the smooth texture of bringing them all together.
And finally, I wouldn’t skip the feta. You could also use queso fresco or Cotija but they are harder to find in our neighbourhood. A small amount of dry feta gives a perfect briny balance to the rich crema and smoky fish.