You wouldn’t be able to tell from what I’ve posted on this blog so far, but Mr K and I absolutely love eating fish. Which isn’t a surprise really, seeing as how we lived only a stone’s throw away from the beach for most of our lives. Fish and sea food in general, were easy to come by and were fresh (most importantly). But take those coastal folks and drop them in the middle of the US, many miles away from a beach and pretty soon withdrawal sets in. After all there’s only so much you can do with all that vacuum sealed frozen “goods” and whatever that’s relatively fresh is far too expensive to be consumed even on a semi-regular basis.
So when Cinco de Mayo rolled around a few weeks ago and we came across some fresh Tilapia that was on sale at a local grocery store, I knew what to do with it right away. I’m a big fan of Mexican food (the inherently high tolerance we have for heat and spice helps), but one of the things I haven’t tried much surprisingly, is Fish Tacos. So we corrected that anomaly by celebrating Cinco de Mayo with our version of Fish Tacos – Crispy Allspice Fish Tacos with Salsa and Roasted Grapes!
One of my favourite ways to have fish when I was young was to take lightly floured and spiced fish and fry it until it was super crunchy! You cannot do this for some fish of course, and we did this mostly with fresh sardines and some types of white, lean, flaky fish – like Tilapia!
I wanted the tilapia to be crispy and have peppery and smoky flavours! I knew it would be perfect in tacos, especially when paired with a lovely spicy, herby salsa like this from one of my favourite bloggers.
I also paired this smoky, crispy, allspiced fish with some deliciously sweet roasted grapes for a surprisingly beautiful contrast in flavours! The juicy, sweet grapes go really well with crispy tilapia and will also complement any kind of salsa or guacomole you’d like to have with your tacos.
In this recipe you will be frying the fish till the exterior is nice and crispy. Some may wrinkle their nose at this extended frying time, but this is something I’m particularly fond of from my childhood, and it still makes the fish incredibly flavourful. You do have to use the right kind of fish for it though, I mean I would never use salmon for this!
- 2 Tilapia fillets
- ½ tsp Smoked paprika
- 1 tsp Allspice
- ¼ tsp Salt (more, if needed later)
- 1 tbsp Lemon/lime
- ¼ tsp Turmeric
- ½ tbsp ground fennel (or 1 tbsp fennel seeds, ground)
- 2-3 tbsp milk
- ⅓ cup corn flour
- Oil for deep frying
- 1 ½ cups Green grapes
- 2 tsp vegetable oil or olive oil
- 6 mini tortillas
- Sliced jalapenos
- Chopped Avocado
- Slices of Lime
- Chopped Cilantro
- Sour cream or Crema
- Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl.
- Cut each tilapia fillet in half, and then each half into 2-3 “fingers” and place them in the marinade and coat them well.
- Leave to marinate for about 30 min - 1 hour.
- Heat oil to 350°F/ 180°C.
- When the oil is heated, take each piece of the fish and coat it with the corn flour.
- Deep fry 2-3 pieces at a time, without over crowding the pan, for about 4-5 minutes (depending on the thickness) or until the fish starts to turn dark golden brown in colour and looks crispy on the outside.
- Place on paper towels to drain.
- Preheat oven to 400°F/ 200°C.
- Wash and dry the grapes and lightly coat them with oil. Place these on a non stick baking mat or a parchment paper lined baking tray and bake them for about 10 minutes or until the grapes start to turn light brown and wrinkle.
- Remove the grapes from the oven and let them cool completely. Cut them into halves and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
- Place a couple of tilapia fillets on a small tortilla. Squeeze some lime juice over this.
- Top up with your favourite salsa, avocado, sliced jalapenos and some roasted grapes.
- Drizzle with sour cream or crema and chopped cilantro.
- Serve immediately.
That allspice flavour is amazing with white, flaky fish! I was genuinely worried that there wouldn’t be enough fish left for dinner, because I kept wanting to eat (and I did, in fact) the fish on its own as soon as it was done frying.
The crunchy texture of the fish is also wonderful with the soft tortillas. The juicy grapes give these tacos a burst of flavour that’s perfect with the crispy fish and the fresh, herby and refreshing salsa which in turn complements the warm, spicy tilapia. Needless to say Mr K was absolutely thrilled with dinner that night, and this will no doubt make for a fantastic, easy to make weeknight dinner for you too! 🙂
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