Skillet Tilapia Tacos with Mango Salsa
This recipe is from Good Enough.
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I was truly devastated when our favorite neighborhood taco place closed because I could no longer get their amazing fish tacos whenever I wanted. For my at-home version, I don’t make my own tortillas fresh to order like they did, but these are awfully close. If you have helpers, the tacos can come together even faster because someone can do the fish and tortillas while the other person makes the salsa. The preparation might seem complicated the first time you make it because there are three components, the tortillas and fish have to be done quickly, and you want everything to be ready at the same time and eaten right away so moisture doesn’t wreck the tortillas . . . you know, tacos! But they are fast and easy and yummy and feel so nourishing, so just lean into it. You can do this.
- 1 large mango peeled and finely chopped
- 1 shallot finely chopped (or half a red onion)
- 1/2 red bell pepper finely chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 large or 8 small fillets of tilapia skin removed and thawed from frozen
- 1 tablespoon fine sea salt plus extra as needed
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground paprika
- 1 teaspoon black pepper freshly cracked
- 8 to 16 corn tortillas (see note)
- 2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil such as canola
- lime juice freshly squeezed
- Make the salsa: Combine the mango, shallot, bell pepper, cilantro, lime juice, and salt in a medium bowl, stir, and set aside to let the flavors mingle. It helps if they get to know each other.
- Make sure your tilapia fillets are fully thawed, then pat them mostly dry with a paper towel. Place the salt, cumin, paprika, and pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine, then lightly coat the tilapia on both sides with the seasonings. Set the tilapia aside while you deal with the tortillas.
- Preheat the oven to 125°F.
- Heat a dry cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, toast the tortillas in the pan until they puff up and develop a few brown spots, 1 minute or so per side. As you finish toasting them, place the tortillas in the warm oven on an oven-safe plate, under a towel. This should keep them warm and pliable until you are ready to assemble the tacos.
- When you’re done with the tortillas, turn the heat under the skillet up to high. Once it is nice and hot, add a tablespoon or so of the cooking oil. Working in batches so you don’t crowd them, gently place 2 or 3 pieces of tilapia in the pan, cover, and let cook for 2 minutes. Flip and cook until they are just cooked through, beginning to flake apart, and ideally have a few brown spots, about 2 minutes more. Remove to a plate and place in the warm oven. Repeat until you have cooked all of the tilapia; replenish the oil in the pan as needed.
- Taste the fish. Sprinkle with more salt, if you like, and squeeze fresh lime juice over the tilapia to finish.
- To assemble the tacos, place 1 or 2 tortillas on a plate (see note above) and top with 1 large piece of tilapia or 2 small ones (don’t worry if they break up, that just means they’re lovely and tender) and a generous spoonful of mango salsa. I recommend two tacos per person.
Note: If your corn tortillas are small and a little flimsy, you will want to have 2 per taco (for a total of 16), but if you have larger, sturdier ones, you should need only 1 per fish fillet (for a total of 8).