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Deconstructed Fish Tacos
Deconstructed Fish Tacos
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Nutritional Information


Recipe List

  • Fresh fish baked with lime
  • Fresh citrus salsa
  • Cold vegetable sticks tossed in lime & cayenne
  • Roasted corn and black bean garnish
  • 4 corn tortillas, fried lightly in 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Prepare fresh citrus salsa

  • Zest and segments of 3 limes (segment limes over mixing bowl to catch juice)
  • Segments (and juice, as with limes) of 3 oranges/tangerines/tangelos/grapefruit/mix
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • Juice of 2 more limes
  • 1 jalapeno chili pepper, diced (seed if desired)
  • 1 medium, ripe tomato, seeded and diced
  • 3 basil leaves, torn in tiny bits by hand (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Agave sweetener, or honey, to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cold vegetable sticks tossed in lime and cayenne

  • 3 carrots, peeled, cut in sticks
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeds trimmed out OR use English or Persian cucumbers
  • 1 small jicama, peeled, sliced, cut in sticks
  • 1 small bunch broccoli, flowerets only, blanched and cooled
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Cayenne pepper or other favorite chili powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Place all vegetable sticks in large bowl. 
  • Toss with fresh lime juice and desired addition of pepper and pinch of salt. 
  • Taste and adjust seasoning for preference of heat.

Roasted corn and black bean garnish

  • Corn cut from 3 fresh cobs
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 15-oz can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro leaves (optional)
  • Juice of one lime
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of sugar

Cooking Instructions

Prepare fish:

  • 1 lb. freshest quality fish available; in 4 pieces, about 1/2” thick, i.e., fillets of snapper, tilapia, swordfish, Mexican sea bass, black cod, salmon (please choose wild-caught rather than farmed)
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime (set juice aside)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 Anaheim chili; stemmed, seeded, cored, quartered
  • 1/2 red onion, cut in rings or slices
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lime, cut in 4 slices
  • Coat bottom of shallow baking dish with cooking spray. 
  • Rinse and pat-dry fresh fish fillets, and place single-layer in dish. 
  • Rub with olive oil, and sprinkle with lime zest and cilantro, lay pieces of chili and onion alongside fillets. 
  • Let rest for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F 

  • Drizzle reserved fresh lime juice over fish, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and top each piece with a lime slice. 
  • Bake until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 20 minutes. 
  • Remove from oven, keep warm until serving.

Combine first 9 ingredients for citrus salsa in mixing bowl. 

  • Add sweetener, salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Let rest if possible, before serving or better, prepare several hours in advance. 
  • Refrigerate any unused portion.

For Corn Preheat oven to 424F. 

  • Line large baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray. 
  • Toss vegetables and beans with remaining ingredients, and with rubber spatula, turn entire contents onto prepared baking sheet.
  • Roast in 20 minute intervals, stirring occasionally, until corn is lightly browned and all vegetables are soft, about 40 minutes. 
  • Let cool slightly before serving.

  • Place roasted corn garnish in center of plate, and top with fish and its roasted pepper, onion, and pan juices. 
  • Offer salsa in little ramekins on side of fish. 
  • Add a handful of the cold vegetables to one side, and finish plate with a double-folded warm corn tortilla. 
  • Enjoy meal with tortilla as a “scoop” for all components.

Fish tacos are such a quintessential specialty of southern California.

fish tacos

The tacos part naturally has much to do with our close proximity to Mexico, not to mention Mexican Spaniards having founded and settled our City of Angels. The fish part happens to resonate with our lifestyle, and gratefully, well ... a lot of our best fish comes from Mexican waters.

It isn’t difficult at all to throw together a plate like the one here, but it is important to ensure its deliciousness by selecting quality ingredients, and making the time to prepare everything fresh. If you are committed accordingly, I can practically guarantee this plate will become a regular favorite on you / your family’s meal rotation. This will also surely resonate with those who are seeking a meal that leaves you pleasantly (rather than uncomfortably) full, and feeling virtuous for having eaten healthy.

Only one corn tortilla per plate

One key to its “healthy” idea, is to provide only one corn tortilla per plate. We love La Gloria corn tortillas, made in LA, by La Gloria Foods on our Latin Flavors of East LA tour. If you’re not able to visit East LA for this fine yet ridiculously low-priced purchase, you may find their products at Whole Foods Markets.

Another key is to use fine-quality olive oil, and a little goes a long way. The flavor profile of any dish is heightened with best-quality products, and I am honored to direct you accordingly. Visit our favorite olive oil sources at Beyond the Olive, Monsieur Marcel, and for the Spanish rendition that is good enough for Jose Andres' Bazaar, kindly consider visiting our friends at La Espanola Meats ( contact me for more information about this one if you’d like).

Fresh citrus

Fresh citrus (including lots of fresh, ripe limes - the yellower the better), cob corn, organic black beans, farmers-market-fresh vegetables, and especially heirloom carrots and tomatoes that are now coming into season, are more items that I’d love to see on your shopping list!

Consider reading each segment of the recipe, and gather your ingredients in advance, to prepare this for the first time. After you’ve made it once or twice, you’ll be inspired to improvise and toss in other favorite ingredients as you go, without even looking at the recipe.

Divining your own version of this - one that is even better than mine - is my wish for you. And, that this plate becomes an obsession for you, as it has for me. Just sayin’.

Recipes for all components of the dish are just below ~ now go!

Until next time, I remain,

Your Chef and Tour Maestra,

Diane Scalia

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