Coconut Crusted Fish Tacos

Hello everyone! How has your week been?

Here in San Diego it’s finally feeling like summer. And I mean REALLY like summer. I feel like it went from lower 60s and gloomy mornings to straight up 90℉ and muggy overnight. Which is odd, because a) normally there isn’t as significant of a weather change here in SoCal and b) humidity is not really the norm here.

Did San Diego and Boston switch places?! That’s what it’s starting to feel like.

I was actually back in New England last weekend for one of my best friend’s weddings. And it was HOT, just as New England tends to be in the middle of July. But it wasn’t terribly humid, and normally it is uncomfortably humid. Like walking around in a sauna. The church for the wedding, though, was HOT. The thing about New England being so old is that a lot of churches and other buildings are also old and original, which means a lot of them are not air conditioned. So stick 100 people in an un-air conditioned brick church with no open windows at 1PM in 80℉ weather…PHEW it’s steamy. My cousin was a bridesmaid as well, and also 9 months pregnant. How her water didn’t break right then and there is still a mystery…

While back in the Boston area I always try to see my family and friends and spend as much quality time with them as I can. And for me, quality time usually involves food.

One afternoon I went out to lunch with two friends. Just a local place that has all sorts of random food; steak tip salad, wings, burgers, chicken pot pie, and fish tacos to name a few.

I opted for the fish tacos.

They weren’t great, but they weren’t bad. In my opinion at least. I offered (more like peer pressured) a bite to one of the people I was with… he literally had to spit it out. Could not swallow the thing. “That’s absolutely nasty, how can you eat that?”

Like I said, not great, but not bad. “I think they’re fine,” was my response. To him, apparently, they were so bad he refused to come within 5 feet of me until I brushed my teeth.

I still think that might have been a little over dramatic. I mean, I never got sick or anything so how bad could they have really been?

To prove that I actually know what a good fish taco is I have made these coconut crusted fish tacos. The fish itself is the bomb-dot-com it’s so flavorful and good. But the mango salsa just gives it a little extra something. Finish off with some sour cream or queso fresco and you’re looking at a masterpiece of a fish taco.

If I were to go back and change one thing, I’d make these with flour tortillas instead of corn. I feel sometimes that the taste of corn tortillas can slightly overpower the filling, and the texture isn’t always the most pleasing to me. But that’s just a personal preference.

For the tacos::
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
pinch cayenne
juice of 1 lime
4 tilapia fillets
16 taco sized tortillas
1 avocado, diced to garnish
queso fresco or sour cream, to garnish
For the mango salsa::
1 mango, diced
1 roma tomato, cored and diced
½ small red onion, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
½ cucumber, peeled and cut into quarters
small bunch of cilantro leaves (about 1 cup), chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

Aroma Air Fryer
about 16 tacos, depending on how much you fill them
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes

1. In a shallow dish or plate, mix together the coconut, panko, garlic powder, cumin, and cayenne. Set aside.
2. Take two of the tilapia fillets and squeeze some of the lime juice on both sides. Dip the fillets into the coconut mixture being sure to coat all areas and that the crust sticks.
3. Place in the nonstick pan of the air fryer and close the lid. Set the cooker to MED and the time to 10 minutes.
4. When the timer goes off after 10 minutes, open the lid and use a spatula to flip over the fish fillets. Again close the lid, keep setting to MED and cook an additional 7 minutes.
5. When the fillets are done, remove from the cooker. Repeat breading and cooking the other two fillets.
6. While the fish is cooking, make the mango salsa.
7. Mix together the diced mango and cut vegetables in a bowl.
8. Add the cilantro, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
9. When the fish and salsa are complete, assemble the tacos: add the fish, salsa, avocado chunks, and cheese to warmed tortillas and serve immediately.

Recipe inspiration from Lively Table

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