Skip to content

Fish Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce

July 16, 2013

By Kath Dedon

Carrie made a terrific Cooking Light recipe last night. Fish Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce is definitely a keeper and I look forward to making it again.

However…..we learned an important lesson. Cooking Light uses tilapia. I like to use wild fish instead of farmed fish, so I went to the market looking for an alternative. There were some nice looking “flounder” fillets that were marked “wild” and they were reasonably priced. It seemed like a good choice for tacos. Boy, was I wrong!

The fish turned to mush. It was truly like a fish paste. Turning to the Internet, I learned that “arrowtooth flounder” has an enzyme that turns the flesh to mush when it is heated. The label on my fish simply said “flounder”, not “arrowtooth flounder”, but I’m convinced that it definitely was the arrowtooth variety.

So why would a market sell it? Some Internet posts suggest that it turns out okay if it is soaked in lemon juice or vinegar for a brief time before it is cooked. One site said it is often used for sushi (no heat there). Next time I will simply choose a different variety of fish.

Do try Fish Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce. It’s a great recipe that is very quick to make. Just don’t use flounder. I’m sure tilapia would work fine. I’ll probably use cod or mahi mahi.

(Thanks, Carrie, for making dinner! Sorry I bought the wrong fish.)


Fish Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce


Fish Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce

(Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe) a


(print the recipe)


Serves 4 a


Cooking Light uses only half of a jalapeno pepper. We liked the heat of a whole pepper. Just use half if you want a milder sauce.a


3 garlic cloves

2 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed

1 medium jalapeno pepper

½ cup cilantro stems

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

½ teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 cups very thinly sliced red cabbage

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1½ pounds fish fillets (Try tilapia, cod, or mahi mahi)

Salt and pepper for seasoning the fish

Light olive oil to coat the pan

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves


1. Turn the broiler on high. Broil the garlic, tomatillos and jalapeno on a foil-lined tray for about 3 minutes on each side or until blackened.

2. Put the garlic, tomatillos, jalapeno, cilantro stems, mayonnaise, sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt in a small food processor and process until it’s smooth.

3. Mix the cabbage, lime juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil together.

4. Preheat the oven to warm. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat until hot. Put the tortillas in the dry skillet, heating them for about 30 – 40 seconds on each side. When all of the tortillas are done, wrap them in foil and keep them in the warm oven.

heating tortillas


5. In the same skillet, add a small amount of olive oil to coat the pan.

6. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on the fish fillets and add them to the hot oil in the skillet. Cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 2 – 3 minutes on each side. (Timing will depend on the thickness of the fillets.)

7. To serve, top each tortilla with a piece of fish. Then add about ¼ cup of the cabbage mixture, some of the tomatillo sauce and a sprinkling of cilantro leaves.


10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2013 6:18 pm

    I want tomatillo tacos right now! They look DELISH!

    • July 17, 2013 6:23 am

      This really is a great recipe, Laura! I think you would like it! 🙂

  2. July 18, 2013 9:04 am

    try substituting avocado for the mayo in the blender. and mahi or cod is a good call too. i would try shark but cant find any lately.

  3. July 24, 2013 9:58 am

    YUM!! Gotta love Cooking Light!

  4. July 31, 2013 12:25 pm

    I agree, Cooking Light is a great resource! (As is this blog, Kath!)

  5. March 26, 2014 1:31 pm

    Yeah! Avocado is a good idea! Thanks for the idea!

    • March 27, 2014 5:20 pm

      You’re welcome, Helen! Avocado is really great with these tacos.

  6. September 4, 2021 1:52 pm

    I love fish tacos. Thanks for the recipe.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: