By Rick Lawrence
This blackened Crappie tacos recipe is easily manageable for a weeknight dinner. ‘Blackening’ is a flavorful technique for cooking fish, and it’s fast.
The most important thing to know about making blackened fish is that it creates a lot of heat and smoke. An outdoor grill is ideal, but if you’re cooking indoors be sure to use a cast iron skillet and turn your exhaust fan to the highest setting. Cast iron is a great choice for high heat cooking.
Brush the fish with oil or melted butter and sprinkle on the blackening spices: paprika, brown sugar, oregano, garlic powder, salt, cumin and cayenne.
Heat up your cast iron skillet over high heat – on the grill or on the stovetop. Get it nice and hot. Then add the fish and sear it. It will only take 2-3 minutes per side to cook through.
The high heat of the cooking surface creates a fragrant black spice crust on the fish while keeping the inside tender and juicy.
Fish tacos – putting it all together
1. Make the Slaw: Combine sour cream, cilantro, lime juice and jalapeños in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Toss onions and cabbage with the cilantro lime sauce.
2. Make The Spice Mix: Combine paprika, sugar, oregano, garlic powder, salt, cumin and cayenne in a small bowl.
3. Heat the Tortillas: preheat oven to 350ºF Stack tortillas and wrap them in foil. Heat them in the warm oven for 5-10 minutes.
4. Blacken the Fish: Turn on your hood vent. Heat a large dry cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. (if you don’t have a cast iron skillet, heat your grill) Lay fish out on a platter or on waxed paper. Brush a little oil on each side and sprinkle the top of each fillet with 3/4 teaspoon of spice mix. Place 2 fillets, spiced-side down, in the pre-heated skillet. Then sprinkle the top side of each fillet with 3/4 teaspoon of spice mix. Cook for 2 1/2 – 3 minutes per side or until spices are blackened and fish is cooked through. Transfer fish to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Wipe the pan clean to avoid a burnt taste. Repeat with the other two fillets.
5. Assemble the Tacos: Divide fish, slaw and avocado evenly among warmed tortillas. Spoon on any remaining sauce from the bottom of the bowl of slaw.
Ingredients for the Slaw:
1 cup thinly sliced white onion
1 cup shredded or very thinly sliced red cabbage
1/2 cup sour cream 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves plus extra leaves for garnish
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 jalapeño peppers, seeded, deveined and roughly chopped
For the Blackening Spices:
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Fish and other ingredients:
4 (6-ounce) skinless fillets of crappie or other firm white fish such as talapia, halibut, or snapper
1 tablespoon light cooking oil
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 ripe avocado, peeled and thinly sliced
4 lime wedges
Cilantro leaves, optional