The beer-battered fish in these tacos is fried twice—the first can be done up to a day ahead; the second is done quickly right before serving. Mexican oregano is stronger than the Mediterranean variety and can be found at Latin markets or at penzeys.com; you can also substitute the Mediterranean version.
Makes: 12 tacos (6 servings)
- 1¼ pounds white fish such as catfish, tilapia, or striped bass
- ½ lime
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. granulated garlic or garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp. cayenne
- ¼ tsp. dry mustard powder or prepared mustard
- ¼ tsp. Mexican oregano, crumbled
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- 12 ounces beer
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 Tbsp. lime juice
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 12 (6) corn tortillas, warmed
- Finely shredded green cabbage
- Lime wedges
- Pico de gallo (Get the recipe)
- Bottled Mexican hot sauce (optional)
- Diced red onion (optional)
- Cilantro sprigs (optional)
Total time: 50 minutes
Cut fish into 12 pieces. Squeeze lime half over fish and sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt. Cover fish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
To make batter: Whisk together flour, baking powder, garlic, cayenne, mustard, oregano, remaining ½ tsp. salt, and black pepper until well blended. Stir in about 10 ounces beer to make a batter with the consistency of pancake batter. Stir just until no large lumps remain.
Place a heavy-bottomed pan, at least 4 deep, on a back burner (in case oil spatters). Pour oil into pan to a depth of 1½ to 2. Heat over medium to medium-high heat until oil registers 350° on a deep-fry thermometer or a drop of batter immediately cooks and floats to the surface.
Pat fish dry with paper towels. If batter has thickened, add a little more beer. Mix fish in batter, coating evenly. With a slotted spoon, lift a piece out of batter and slip it into the hot oil. It will sink and form bubbles around the edges, then float to the surface; when batter on the bottom sets, carefully flip to cook the other side. (If fish sticks to pan, leave it alone—it should release itself.) Cook a few pieces of fish at a time until batter is set but still very light in color. Remove to a rack to drain; reserve oil. (If serving later, store in refrigerator.)
To make lime crema: Mix lime juice and mayonnaise.
Right before serving, reheat oil to 350° and fry fish again, a few pieces at a time, until batter is very crisp and golden brown.
To serve: Top tortillas with fish, lime crema, cabbage, a squeeze of lime juice, and any other accompaniments desired.