Skillet Tilapia Tacos with Mango Salsa

A large white oval platter with 4 tacos full of mango salsa and grilled fish. Lime wedges are nestled under the edges of the tacos. It is full of color, yellow, red and green. The plate rests on a slate background.

This recipe is from Good Enough.

Good Enough cover

My newest creation, Good Enough, is a self-care cookbook that offers personal and vulnerable storytelling, delicious recipes, and encouraging advice to teach you how to accept yourself, love yourself, and find peace through the act of cooking. Learn more! I have more cookbooks, too!

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.

A large white oval platter with 4 tacos full of mango salsa and grilled fish. Lime wedges are nestled under the edges of the tacos. It is full of color, yellow, red and green. The plate rests on a slate background.
Skillet Tilapia Tacos with Mango Salsa
Print Recipe
TL;DR: Make salsa. Season tilapia. Toast tortillas in pan and keep them warm in oven while fish cooks. Assemble tacos and douse in salsa.
Servings
8 tacos
Servings
8 tacos
A large white oval platter with 4 tacos full of mango salsa and grilled fish. Lime wedges are nestled under the edges of the tacos. It is full of color, yellow, red and green. The plate rests on a slate background.
Skillet Tilapia Tacos with Mango Salsa
Print Recipe
TL;DR: Make salsa. Season tilapia. Toast tortillas in pan and keep them warm in oven while fish cooks. Assemble tacos and douse in salsa.
Servings
8 tacos
Servings
8 tacos
Ingredients
Mango Salsa
  • 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
Skillet Tilapia Tacos
  • 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
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Preheat the oven to 125°F.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Taste the fish. Sprinkle with more salt, if you like, and squeeze fresh lime juice over the tilapia to finish.
  7. 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.
Recipe Notes

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).

This one’s for you — and me

Cover of Good Enough

It’s been a while, but I’m back with a new book, Good Enough, available January 4, 2022: A self-care cookbook that offers personal and vulnerable storytelling, delicious recipes, and encouraging advice to teach you how to accept yourself, love yourself, and find peace through the act of cooking.

I’m going to be very real with you: after the unexpected success of Good and Cheap, I felt lost and purposeless, unworthy and uncertain. Then I got sick while I was pregnant with my daughter and fell into the life-changing experience of new parenthood. For a long time I didn’t feel like myself. I had changed, grown and learned. I knew I had so much to share, but I didn’t know how and was afraid to make a mistake. 

That soul-searching was the groundwork for Good Enough. I had been living for the approval of others for a long time, and I could see that reflected in how I cooked and fed myself. I needed to do something differently because I also knew, deep down in the wisest part of me, that cooking is freedom and joy and healing. Good Enough is my way back to you, but most importantly to myself. It is how I learned that cooking can be both an act of self-care and an expression of love for yourself and others.

Here is a short story from the book:

A page from Good Enough telling the story of Leanne's childhood dream to invent magical pink carrots.

Good Enough imparts my cooking philosophy through personal and vulnerable storytelling. Perfection isn’t the goal of cooking. For me—and many other cooks—cooking is a safe space where I can make mistakes, learn, grow, and become more resilient.

The Good Enough philosophy has helped me get through the last couple of years of the COVID-19 pandemic and the everyday struggles of being a person. It has even helped me find my courage to write and publish this book. I hope that Good Enough can be a lantern for you in dark times. It was for me. I’ll share this quote from the introduction:

“My intention is for this book to be a gentle hug and a whisper in your ear that you are stronger than you know, and you deserve love and care, wherever you are, whoever you are, and no matter what anyone else might have told you.”

Here is a recipe spread:

A recipe spread from Good Enough, showing My Spicy Umami Pasta.

It means so much to be able to share this book and enter into conversation with you again. I wish I could put this book in each of your hands with a gentle hug, but instead I have to ask something from you. If you feel moved, please ask your local bookstore to order it or pre-order at Amazon, Amazon.ca, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, or Powell’s. Pre-orders make a big differencefor getting the book into stores, on best-seller lists, and in front of people who otherwise might not see it.

Thank you for considering — I am so grateful for your support and to be in a position to ask.

Free ways to support the project:

  • Tell your friends
  • Follow me @leanneebrown on Instagram, where I will be posting regularly
  • Ask your local bookstore to order the book

Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading, for being here for me, and for your patience. 

Yours,

Leanne

Salted Maple Butter Tarts

salted maple butter tarts

Around the holidays in Canada, butter tarts—a pastry case full of a sort of butterscotch goo often with raisins added—are everywhere. The filling is very sweet, a little grainy and delightfully in between liquid and solid. The original recipe is simply butter, brown sugar and eggs, and it’s wonderful. But swapping some of the sugar for maple syrup, adding a hint of nutmeg, some extra salt on top and an optional lime spiked whipped cream brings some depth. I find these perfect for a moment of quiet reflection with a cup of hot tea.

The crust I’m using here is kind of between pie and tart dough. A bit flaky, but not sweet and easier to work with than pie dough. 


salted maple butter tarts

Salted Maple Butter Tarts

Print Recipe

A flaky pastry case filled with rich maple caramel and topped with a little extra salt and an optional lime spiked whipped cream.
Servings
12 tarts

Servings
12 tarts

salted maple butter tarts

Salted Maple Butter Tarts

Print Recipe

A flaky pastry case filled with rich maple caramel and topped with a little extra salt and an optional lime spiked whipped cream.
Servings
12 tarts

Servings
12 tarts

Ingredients
Crust

  • 1/2 cup


    unsalted butter (1 stick)

  • 1 1/2 cups


    all purpose flour

  • 1 tsp


    sea salt

  • 1


    large egg

  • 2 Tbsp


    water

Filling

  • 2


    large eggs

  • 2/3 cup


    granulated sugar

  • 1/4 tsp


    freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

  • 1/2 cup


    maple syrup

  • 1/2 tsp


    sea salt (plus more for finishing)

  • 1/3 cup


    unsalted butter

Lime Whip (optional)

  • 1/2 cup


    whipping cream

  • 1 Tbsp


    granulated sugar

  • zest of


    1 lime

Instructions
  1. Freeze the butter for 10 minutes.

  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Using a box grater, grate the butter into the flour mixture and gently mix with hands so flour is coating the butter.

  3. In a small bowl, crack the egg and add the 2 Tablespoons of water and whisk. Pour it into the bowl and quickly and gently mix the dough until is forms a reasonably coherent dough. You are not going for smooth, just together.

  4. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and let it chill for 1 hour or longer.

  5. When ready to make the tarts, set the oven to 375 F. Set out a 12 tin muffin tray.

  6. Cut the cold dough into 12 equal pieces and roll them into rough circles, being careful not to overwork. Sprinkle some flour on the counter to prevent sticking and roll out each piece until it is about wide enough that you can fit it into the muffin tray like you would be making a little cup with at least ½ inch of excess pastry coming above each tin.

  7. Do this for each of the 12 tins then set the whole tray in the fridge while you make the filling.

  8. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until they are slightly lighter yellow, about a minute. Grate in the fresh nutmeg if using, then add the salt and maple syrup and whisk to combine. Finally pour in the melted butter and whisk until light and smooth.

  9. Using a ladle, fill each pastry lined muffin tin with filling, fill a little below the top so the filling has a bit of room to expand.

  10. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the bottoms are browned and the filling is bubbling all the way through. After you pull them out, sprinkle each one with a generous pinch of sea salt or flaky finishing salt like fleur de sel if you have it. Let them cool in the tins completely or remove while still warm to fully cool on a rack or plate.

  11. If making the whipping cream simply whisk the cream, sugar and lime zest together until soft peaks form. Dollop onto the tarts and enjoy!

Leanne Brown

Hi! I'm Leanne Brown, a home cook in Brooklyn by way of Canada. I write cookbooks, like the ones below!

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Good Enough cover

My newest creation, Good Enough, is a self-care cookbook that offers personal and vulnerable storytelling, delicious recipes, and encouraging advice to teach you how to accept yourself, love yourself, and find peace through the act of cooking. Learn more here!

Good and Cheap cover 2nd edition

Good and Cheap is a gorgeous cookbook for people with limited income, particularly on a $4/day food stamps budget. The PDF is free (ahora en Español!) and has been downloaded over 15,000,000 times. For more info, see All About Good and Cheap and Donation Impact.

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