As a fishing guide in Montana, Alaska and Hawaii, it’s a requirement to have dozens of go-to fish recipes. But I have to say that fish tacos are probably the most popular.
But you need two key things to ensure they’re great: tortillas made from scratch (or the raw, uncooked ones from your grocer’s refrigerated section) and a killer sauce. My favorite is a caper and yogurt-based sauce that I’ve have been tweaking for years, and I’m confident it’ll become one of your favorites too.
Although this recipe is for fried perch tacos, you can use just about any type of fish, grilled or fried. I usually find myself with a little free time during Montana winters, and the frozen lakes provide fantastic tacopportunities … see what I did there?
Serves 4 to 8
5 to 10 perch or walleye or 1 or 2 pounds of boneless trimmed filets
Batter for Frying
I recommend “Shore Lunch” batter mix, Original Recipe. Follow package directions to prepare.
Add 2 teaspoons of any creole seasoning to the prepared batter (I recommend Original Tony Chachere’s)
Canola or vegetable oil for frying the fish after it’s battered
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced finely or crushed with garlic press
1 tablespoons capers, crushed
2 teaspoons caper juice from jar
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
3 to 4 tomatoes, finely diced
1/2 purple onion finely diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon salt
1 package of small, fresh uncooked flour tortillas – I recommend Tortillaland. Raw tortillas are found in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores. If you can’t find raw tortillas, we recommend a locally made cooked 8- to 10-inch tortillas.
8-ounce package of shredded Mexican cheese
For the sauce, add all ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste and add more cayenne if desired. The heat from the cayenne will get stronger the longer the sauce sits. The sauce can be made several days ahead and will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
For the vegetable topping, chop the vegetables and mix them in a large bowl. Add the lime juice and mix again. (Add the salt right before serving.)
Frying the fish
Heat oil in a deep pan. The pan will need approximately 2 or 3 inches of oil so that fish fillets can float freely. Heat the oil to 350 F.
Once oil reaches 350 F, dredge each perch fillet in batter. Pull one fillet out of the batter at a time with a fork. Remove excess batter by pulling the filet against the side of your batter bowl. Gently place fillet in hot oil and repeat with another fillet until each floating piece of fish has room in the pan to fry without touching the other pieces. After a minute, take your fork and rotate the filets in the oil so the side that was on top is now facing down in the pan of oil. Once the batter turns a light golden color, remove each filet with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel covered plate. You’ll want at least 3 sheets of paper towels on the plate to soak up excess oil.
Continue frying fish in batches until all the filets are fried.
Cooking or warming the tortillas
On the last batch of filets, you can start cooking the tortillas. Heat a griddle or frying pan to approximately 350 F. Lightly spray the hot surface with nonstick cooking spray. Place a tortilla on the sprayed surface. If you are using raw tortillas, small bubbles will form on the bottom of the tortilla after about 1 minute. Flip the tortilla using a spatula and add enough shredded Mexican cheese blend to the entire surface of the cooked side of the tortilla. The tortilla is ready to remove from the heat when most of the cheese is melted.
If your tortillas are already cooked, you will place the tortilla on the hot surface after spraying with nonstick cooking spray. Immediately place a light layer of cheese over the entire surface of the tortilla and heat it until most of the cheese is melted.
Assembling the tacos
Place the tortilla with melted cheese on an individual plate. Top with a filet of golden battered fish, spoon the tomato and onion mixture over the fish, and finally top it off all with a generous dollop of the yogurt sauce. Add more if desired. Roll your tortilla and enjoy!