Cajun Blackened Fish Tacos – Best on the Planet!

FullSizeRender-8Best on the planet is a bold statement to make about anything. I am willing to stick my neck out on this one though. I’ve had these fish tacos at the Tommy Bahama Cafe in Maui a few times, and was blown away by the layers of flavor. I was looking for one more recipe to cook on our Hawaiian visit and was thrilled to find this one online.

I really like fish tacos and have tasted quite a few – everywhere from food trucks, to chain restaurants, to places specializing in Island or Mexican cuisine. When something really stands out, like these tacos, it’s fascinating to learn how the great flavors are accomplished. Here are the highlights – fish marinated for 12 hours in a spicy coconut milk marinade, then coated with blackening spices as they are cooking – no breading or batter. Not one, but 2 sauces – chipotle aioli and lime sour cream. They’re then topped with a cabbage/jicama slaw and fresh pico de gallo. Just add a margarita and you’ve got street food nirvana straight from your own kitchen!

I recommend making the sauces and slaw ahead of time (either a few hours, or when you marinate the fish.) Then make the pico de gallo about 30-60 minutes before cooking the fish (add the salt just before using, to minimize the liquid from the tomatoes.) If you do this prep in advance, the last few steps come together pretty easily and quickly.

If you’d like to make your own blackening seasoning mix, here’s a link for a recipe.

Cajun Blackened Fish Tacos

Serving Size: 4 servings


  • 1 1/2 lbs of your favorite white fish
  • 8 oz Fish Taco Marinade (recipe below)
  • 8 tablespoons Lime Sour Cream (recipe below)
  • 3/4 lb Asian Slaw (recipe below)
  • 8 tablespoons Pico de Gallo (recipe below)
  • 12 6" corn tortillas - you can use flour tortillas if you prefer
  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite blackening spice (see link for recipe to make your own)
    Fish Taco Marinade:
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup egg yolks, whipped
  • 1 tablespoon, rough chopped cilantro (use basil if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeno, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
    Chipotle Aioli:
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon
  • 1 chipotle pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
    Lime Sour Cream:
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    Pico de Gallo:
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
  • 1/2 cup chopped, seeded, ripe tomato
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro (or basil if preferred)
  • 1 pinch black pepper
    Asian Slaw:
  • 4 oz shredded cabbage
  • 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro (or basil)
  • 2 oz jicama peeled and julienned
  • 2 oz red onion sliced paper thin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste


    Fish Mainade:
  • In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Cut the fish into 1 oz pieces and place into the marinade, mixing to coat fish well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
    Chipotle Aioli:
  • Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer to a squeeze bottle with small tip or small baggie and refrigerate until ready to use.
    Lime Sour Cream:
  • Place ingredients in small bowl and blend together well. Transfer to squeeze bottle with small tip or small baggie and refrigerate until ready to use.
    Pico de Gallo:
  • Combine onion, jalapeno, tomato, cilantro (or basil) and toss to combine. Add salt, lime and pepper. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to use.
    Asian Slaw:
  • Mix all ingredients in bowl to combine
    Serving Instructions:
  • Preheat a large saute pan and melt butter in pan. Drain the marinated fish and gently place into the melted butter. Spread the fish out evenly. Sprinkle the blanketing spice evenly on the fish and let it sit over high heat for 2 minutes. Flip the fish with a spatula and cook on the other side until fish is cooked through.
  • Turn the heat down to very low to keep fish warm while completing the taco assembly.
  • Place corn tortillas into another large saute pan and heat on both sides (this is key to ensure the tortillas are pliable. Work quickly to finish assembly and eat while still warm and soft.)
  • Toss slaw in mixing bowl
  • Lay 2 warm tortillas stacked together (to create a more sturdy base) on cutting board and place 2 oz of cooked fish on each.
  • Top with some slaw, be sure to let drain to minimize liquid in taco.
  • Drizzle with small amount of chipotle aioli and lime sour cream (snip small piece of corner from baggie if you are using this method)
  • Top with some pico de gallo, drain to minimize liquid in taco.
  • Serve immediately


Adapted from Tommy Bahama Cafe recipe

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