One of my favorite ways to eat the bounty of panfish that the hubs brings home from his ice fishing escapades is in these SoCal style fish tacos. Because panfish are bite-sized to begin with, they’re perfect for this dish but you could easily use a similar white fish that’s local to your area. Add in a little spicy mayo and some tangy slaw for crunch and you’ve got one tasty little taco!
2 C panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 C flour
1 C vegetable oil
16 panfish fillets (8 panfish) or 2 lg tilapia fillets, sliced into small chunks
4-6 small flour tortillas
hot sauce (I like Crystal brand)
Set up two shallow bowls, one with flour, one with eggs. Pour panko into a large Ziploc bag or bowl (I like a bag because it makes it easy to toss). Add salt and pepper and mix well. Meanwhile, add vegetable oil to a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat and begin to heat oil. Oil should be about 1/4-1/2 inch deep in pan. Use a kitchen tongs to dip each piece of fish first into the flour, coating lightly on all sides, then into the egg wash and finally into the panko. Place several pieces into the panko bag and pat the bag to toss the fish within so that the breadcrumbs coat each piece fully. Remove each piece and place on a separate clean plate.
Test temperature of oil by carefully flicking a tiny bit of water or 1-2 panko crumbs into the pan. Oil should pop if it is hot enough. If oil is not hot enough, your fish will soak up oil and be greasy instead of crispy and flaky. Carefully add fish pieces to the hot oil, frying for 2-3 minutes per side and turning with a tongs part way through the process. While fish are frying, set up a plate with 1-2 paper towels. Extract one fish and double check that it is done. Fish should be golden brown and flaky in the center. Transfer fish to the towels to absorb any excess oil. Assemble tacos immediately.
Cilantro Apple Slaw
1/2 granny smith apple, julienned
2 C broccoli slaw mix
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp cumin
In a medium bowl, combine apple, slaw mix and cilantro. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, cumin, cayenne and salt. Drizzle over slaw and toss well to coat.
Spread a thin layer of mayo on each tortilla. Top with several pieces of fish and slaw. Sprinkle with hot sauce.