Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Crema — The Somm Chef

Summer is all about Fish Tacos!

I really love all things food, but tacos are amongst the top top favorite. The beer batter is SUPER EASY to make and it’s flavorful and with the easy citrus slaw on top and the cilantro avocado crema… mmmmm. It’s perfect. It’s just perfect.

So here’s how you go about making all this fabulous things to make one of the best (and I mean it, best) fish tacos I’ve ever had.

The Cilantro Lime Crema

This is an amazing addition to these fish tacos. You can make the crema and store it in your refrigerator, tightly covered, for about 4 days. However, it’s best if you can use it as fresh as possible. This sauce is quite easy to make and ready in less than 5 minutes! All you have to do is throw the ingredients in a blender and voila! Taste it and make it your own — if you want more lime, go for it. If you want less, go for it. It’s ready to be drizzled on to your tacos.

The Tortillas

For the tortillas, I like to put them on the grill pan right before serving, as the salmon is frying. However, if that’s too much to think about last minute and you’re doing this family style — feel free to wrap a bunch of corn or wheat tortillas in foil and place them in a 350ºF oven for about 15–20 minutes.

Slaw and Other Sides

The slaw can also be made ahead, or can purchase some pre-cut slaw ahead of time and squeeze some lime and orange juice over it. I typically use carrots, green cabbage and shaved radish, but feel free to make it your own. The reason why this is so great in fish tacos is that it provides a nice crunch and refreshing bite to prevent the fried fish from overwhelming your palate.

As for other sides, I also like to serve this dish with blistered beans, it’s quick and easy and I can simply throw them in a skillet near the frying fish so I can keep an eye on everything. Also beans are Ian’s favorite food so it’s always a welcome sight for him to see them. They can also be made right before you start working on your fish and kept warm in the pan until you’re done with the fish.

The Fish

These are fish tacos after all! As for the fish — you can usually purchase the filets well cleaned, and often portioned, (which is great if you are making this for yourself or just one other person — halve the recipe below if so!) so all you need to do is to cut the portions into strips and lightly salt and pepper them. Then you can make your beer batter while your frying oil is heating up.

Also, about the fish. The photos shown here used salmon. If you’re interested in trying something a little different, I typically used Arctic Char for this recipe when I was working in the restaurants. I love Arctic Char because the filets are much thinner, so portioning is a bit easier and it’s not quite such a big bite. If using salmon, cut from side to side rather than top to the bottom of the tail when making your filets, if you’re comfortable with removing the fish skin.

How to Cut The Salmon for Fish Tacos

You can see from this photo the salmon filets I had.

I was going to use this salmon for another recipe, so I had 2 center cut portions from my fish monger. They weren’t quite large enough to make into thirds so I cut each in half.

As you can see these made for a very “meaty” taco, which definitely wasn’t a bad thing!

If you want to have more control with your portion sizing though, get one of the tail-end filets that’s fairly even-width, with the skin still on. Remove the skin and cut that accordingly into strips.

You can also ask your fish monger to do this as well! Tell him/her you are making tacos and need it in even strips. Typically they are able to do it within 10–15 minutes while you do your shopping.

Cilantro Lime Crema

2 Avocados, halved with pits and skins removed
1 Tablespoons of Mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Sour Cream
3–6 Limes, depending on taste and consistency
1 Bunch of Cilantro, well washed and stems removed.
1 Garlic Clove, smashed
A pinch of Salt and Pepper

  1. Start by juicing 3 of your limes into a blender. Place the rest of your ingredients and blend. You may need more liquid, so add juice from another lime if so, followed by 1 Tablespoon of water.
  2. Blend again and taste the sauce — if you prefer more lime, add the rest of them!*
  3. Once the proper consistency, add more salt or pepper as needed to taste. Reserve and chill, well covered until ready to use.
    *This method may seem a bit unnecessary, however it prevents you from accidentally over thinning and over-lime-ing your sauce.

Citrus Slaw

1 Cup of Shredded Cabbage (~1/4 of a large cabbage)
1/2 Cup of Shredded Carrots
1/4 Cup of Shredded or sliced Radishes
Juice of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1/2 Orange
Juice of 1 Lime

Mix the juices together and pour over the shredded vegetables. Mix well and set aside until ready to use.

This slaw will also keep well for a few days in the fridge so long as it’s tightly covered. Great for an addition to a lunch!

Beer Batter Fish Tacos

1 Qt or less Oil for Frying
1 # filet of fish of choice* cut into strips about 1/2″ wide and 3–4″ long
1 Cup of AP Flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 Cups of Beer — good quality light beer
1 Tbsp of Turmeric Powder
~16 Small Tortillas (or 1 tortilla per 1 large or 2 small strips of fish)
2 Avocados, sliced (optional, for serving)
Extra limes and cilantro (optional, for serving)

  1. Place enough oil in a deep pot to cover about 2.5″ high**
  2. Heat oil on medium low to ~350ºF. If you don’t have a thermometer, carefully take a fork and dip it in your batter and drop a small drop into your oil. If it bubbles and begins frying right away, your oil is hot enough.
  3. Cut the portions of fish in half or thirds depending on the size of the filets you have. They should simply fit your tortilla size. Lightly salt and pepper each piece.
  4. Mix the flour, salt, pepper, turmeric, and beer together. Grab a large plate or cookie sheet and line it with paper towels — (to set your cooked fish on).
  5. Dip each piece of fish into the batter and gently shake off the excess, making sure the entire piece is covered. Then, gently place it in your hot oil. Do a few pieces at a time so you don’t crowd your pot and the pieces don’t touch.
  6. When each piece is golden brown all the way around, remove using a slotted spoon or fry-strainer and place on the prepared plate or cookie sheet to drain.
  7. Repeat until all the fish has been cooked.


**When Frying fish (or anything): There should be at least 4″ left of space in your pot (the oil will bubble up as you place food in, so to be safe always make sure there’s plenty of space in your pot for that).

***For the fish — you can use center cut pre-portioned fish found in your store, but cut your pieces in half lengthwise and possibly even width-wise so that they aren’t quite so large. Otherwise simply cut in half and use 1 piece / taco.

Serving Fish Tacos

Assemble taco ingredients with the crema, slaw and tortillas and a plate of your hot fish. Serve with a side plate of limes and extra cilantro!

How did it go? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this recipe!

Originally published at on July 7, 2021.




Chef, Sommelier, Writer, Consultant. Loves food & wine, will travel.

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Sydney Eliason

Sydney Eliason

Chef, Sommelier, Writer, Consultant. Loves food & wine, will travel.

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