Oh, how I miss the food of Southern California!
Especially all the delicious authentic mexican food.
It’s funny, when I first moved there from rural Wisconsin, the extent of my below-the-border cuisine had consisted of Chi-Chi’s, Taco Bell and Taco Johns. Carne asada? El Pastor? FISH IN A TACO? It all sounded pretty strange to me.
Thankfully, over the years my palate grew accustomed to what is “real” mexican food, and once I discovered it there was no turning back. I even ended up as the VP of Human Resources for Wahoo’s Fish Taco, the absolute best place to get good grub in SoCal. Sadly, Northern Virginia just doesn’t offer the vast array of great mexican food that was so readily available out west, so occasionally I just have to find my fix in my own home kitchen.
These fish tacos don’t fall under the authentic category, especially when you add in the wasabi creme fraiche. But the flavors meld together surprising well, and offer a nice alternative to your typical fish taco. They also make a fabulous appetizer that will really feed a crowd!
Fish Tacos in a Cup
- 24 wonton wrappers (find them in your produce section of the grocery store)
- 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 3 tilapia fillets, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 avocado, halved, pitted and cut into small cubes
- 1 mango, peeled and flesh cut into small cubes
- 3 green onions, finely chopped
- 3 cups coarsely chopped baby arugula
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche (I just used sour cream and called it a day)
- 1 tablespoon wasabi powder (I get mine in the international aisle of my grocery store)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the wonton cups: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Using a pastry brush, brush each side of the wonton wrappers with canola oil. Gently press the wonton wrappers into the bottom and sides of two 12-count muffin pans. Bake until lightly golden, about 6 minutes (watch them carefully; they burn easily). Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Gently lift the wonton cups out of the pan and cool completely, about 10 minutes.
For the filling: In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Drizzle the tilapia fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the fish in a single layer in the pan and cook until the flesh is flaky and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Set aside to cool slightly.
For the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the lime juice. Season with salt, to taste. Add the avocado, mango, green onions, and arugula. Toss until all the ingredients are coated.
For the creme fraiche: In a small bowl, mix together the creme fraiche, wasabi powder and salt until smooth.
To assemble the tacos: Put the wonton cups on a platter and divide the avocado mixture into the cups. Top each with a small piece of fish. Spoon about 1 to 2 teaspoons of the creme fraiche mixture on top of the fish. Serve and enjoy!
Note: I made 24 appetizers in a regular sized muffin pan, but serving them this way requires utensils; making them in mini-muffins tins would be a nice way to serve them as bite-size apps.