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Alaska from Scratch: Halibut tacos make the most of a fresh catch

  • Author: Maya Evoy
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published July 2, 2015

While visiting this last week, my sister-in-law's husband caught a halibut in Kachemak Bay. Their one request before they headed back to Central California was that I make them some halibut tacos. So, with fresh-caught halibut fillets ready and waiting, we headed to the store in search of caffeine and the perfect ripe mango, as we talked about topics from helicopters to Subarus, craft beers to coffee, from cooking shows to Alaska adventures.

Once home, with tacos on the table, my sister-in-law asked between bites if the recipe for these tacos had been published yet. I assured her that I'd do it this week so that she could make this recipe when she got back to California.

And here they are: fresh halibut, crisp cabbage, cooling lime crema and bright mango salsa with avocado, cilantro and red onions, all held together by a perfectly steamed corn tortilla and topped with Tapatio hot sauce.

A couple of quick notes: to season the halibut, I use homemade taco seasoning -- a mixture of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and salt. I like corn tortillas steamed or warmed in the pan until they're pliable and soft for fish tacos, as is traditional. If your corn tortillas are fragile, double them up as pictured. However, this recipe is also excellent on freshly fried and salted corn tortillas, either as tacos or tostadas. I just wouldn't recommend flour tortillas here. Trust me.

Halibut tacos with mango salsa and lime crema

Serves 4

For the lime crema:

1/3 cup sour cream

Juice of half a lime

2-3 tablespoons milk (until thin enough to drizzle)

1 teaspoon taco seasoning

1-2 teaspoons hot sauce (like Tapatio), to taste

Salt to taste

For the mango salsa:

1 ripe mango, cubed

1 ripe avocado, cubed

1/3 cup red onion, minced

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

Juice of half a lime

Salt to taste

For the halibut:

1 1/2 pounds wild Alaska halibut fillets

2 tablespoons taco seasoning

Salt

Oil for the pan, such as avocado oil or canola

To assemble the tacos:

1 dozen corn tortillas, steamed

Shredded cabbage

Lime wedges

Tapatio hot sauce

1. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, lime juice, milk, taco seasoning and hot sauce until smooth. Season to taste and add more milk as needed until the crema can be drizzled. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, gently stir together the mango, avocado, red onion, cilantro and lime. Season to taste and set aside.

3. Pat the halibut fillets dry with paper towels. Season the fillets generously on both sides with taco seasoning and salt. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl with avocado or canola oil. Sear the halibut until cooked medium to medium-well (being careful not to overcook and dry out the halibut). Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fillets (mine were thinner and only required 3 minutes per side). Remove the halibut from the heat and break the fish into large flakes.

4. To assemble the tacos: Place a steamed corn tortilla on a plate. Top with flaked halibut, followed by a handful of cabbage, a drizzle of lime crema and a spoonful of mango salsa. Serve with Tapatio hot sauce and serve promptly.

Maya Evoy lives in Nikiski and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com. Have a food question or recipe request? Email maya@alaskafromscratch.com and your inquiry may appear in a future column.

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