Is there a better “newish” hand-held food than fish tacos? Battered or baked, spicy or not… someone was using their brain when they decided tacos deserved a pairing with those aquatic craniate animals. This version goes back to the origins, as fish tacos were born in the Baja area. The first fish tacos were like these: a delicate fish lightly battered and fried, served in a tortilla with a mayo slaw. Are we reinventing perfection here? No, we are sharing it with you.
Halve and peel shallot. Slice halves into thin strips.
Halve limes and juice three halves. Halve remaining lime piece.
Stem cilantro, leaving leaves whole.
Pat tilapia fillets dry and, on a separate cutting board, cut into 2" pieces. Season with ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper.
Quick Pickle Shallot and Make Slaw
Combine shallot, 2 Tbsp. lime juice, and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl.
In another mixing bowl, combine slaw mix, mayonnaise, Sriracha (to taste), and a pinch of salt.
Refrigerate both until plating.
Make the Batter
Combine tempura mix and 2 Tbsp. very cold water in another mixing bowl. Add additional cold water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until the consistency is extremely thin, like heavy cream.
The thinner the batter, the better: A thin batter will ensure fish pieces will be crisp, not greasy.
Warm Tortillas and Heat Oil
Place a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Place tortillas, one at a time, in hot, dry pan and cook until warmed, 30 seconds per side. Alternatively, wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave, 30-60 seconds.
Wrap tortillas in foil to keep warm.
Raise heat to medium-high and add canola oil to pan used to warm tortillas. Heat oil, 3-5 minutes. Test oil temperature by adding a drop of batter to it. It should sizzle gently. If it browns immediately, turn heat down and let oil cool.
Cook the Fish
Line a plate with a paper towel. Dip tilapia pieces in batter to cover evenly.
Working in batches, carefully add tilapia pieces to hot oil and cook until golden brown and pieces reach a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees, 2-3 minutes per side.
Transfer to towel-lined plate. Season finished pieces with a pinch of salt.
Plate dish as pictured on front of card, placing tilapia in tortillas, and topping with slaw and pickled shallot. Garnish with cilantro and squeeze lime wedges over to taste. Bon appétit!