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Crispy Fish and Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Spicy Cilantro Lime Dressing

I flew home to Chicago to visit my family for the Fourth of July weekend. I knew I'd miss the family barbecue due to prior engagements but I still wanted to cook something to showcase the skills they've seen me show off on my social media (Instagram - briansivad, Twitter - briansivad, Snapchat - briansivad), so I settled on fish tacos. Keep in mind I made this for 10 people, scale back the ingredient amounts for fewer people.

Crispy Fish and Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Spicy Cilantro Lime Dressing


Spicy Cilantro Lime Dressing

  • 2 cups (packed) fresh cilantro leaves

  • ⅓ cup water

  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and roughly chopped

  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped

  • ½ cup sour cream

  • ½ cup low fat mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • 1 1/2 cups flour

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups light beer

  • 2 - 2 1/2 lbs Cod (any mild white fish - tilapia, halibut etc)

  • Canola oil for frying


  • 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1/4 cup scallions, finely chopped

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin

  • 1-2 lbs extra large or jumbo shrimp

For serving

  • 2 cups shredded purple or green cabbage

  • corn or flour tortillas, warmed until pliable

  • Pico de gallo, either store bought or homemade

  • Lime wedges, for serving


For the Spicy Cilantro Lime Dressing

  1. Put all ingredients for the sauce in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.

For the condiments

  1. Thinly shred the cabbage, thinly slice scallions, jalapenos, cut limes into wedges. Set aside.

For the fish

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, a pinch of salt and pepper. Add beer and whisk to combine. Batter should be slightly thin but still thick enough to coat the fish. Add more beer to thin batter if its too thick.

  2. In a deep, heavy fry pan, dutch oven, or cast iron over medium-high heat, pour in oil to a depth of at least 1 inch. Heat the oil to 375 degrees. While the oil is heating, pat the fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Cut the fish into cubed strips about 3 inches by 1 inch. Using a long pair of tongs, dip the fish pieces into the batter, and then carefully release into the hot oil. Fry the fish, turning the pieces regularly, until they are golden brown and crispy, about 4-7 minutes. Drain the fried fish on paper towels and keep warm in a low oven while you fry the rest of the fish. Be sure to let your oil heat back up before continuing to fry your fish.

For the shrimp*

*You can also fry the shrimp using the same batter as the fish. Skip the marinade, batter and fry for 2-3 minutes at 375 degrees

  1. Peel and devein shrimp. Remove tails.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Pour over shrimp. Set aside for 15 minutes.

  3. While the shrimp marinates, heat your grill. One the grill is hot, dip a few paper towels in canola oil and wipe down to make sure the shrimp doesn't stick. Cook the marinated shrimp on the grill for 2-3 minutes per side.

For serving

  1. Warm the corn or flour tortillas on the hot grill.

  2. Toss the shredded cabbage with cilantro-lime sauce.

  3. Place desired amount of cabbage slaw on a warm tortilla, top with fish and a spoonful of your desired toppings. Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice, if desired, and serve.

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