Fish Tacos with Quick Cabbage Slaw
For the slaw:
- 1 small cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
- 1 small carrot, grated
- 2 to 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 to 1 whole jalapeño chile, seeded and minced, optional
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- Sugar, honey, or agave nectar to taste (optional)*
- Salt and pepper
For the fish:
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika or chipotle powder
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds snapper, sole, tilapia, rockfish, or catfish
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil suitable for high-heat cooking (like safflower or grapeseed)
- 12 corn tortillas
- Torn cilantro leaves
- Sliced avocado
- Lime wedges
To prepare the slaw, place the shredded cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Massage and squeeze the cabbage with your hands to help it release its liquid and begin wilting. Transfer the cabbage to a strainer set over a bowl and set aside to drain for about 15 minutes.
Squeeze the cabbage of its excess liquid, one handful at a time, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the grated carrot, green onions, and jalapeño (if using). Toss to combine. Whisk together the minced garlic, lime juice, and mayonnaise. Taste and add a sweetener, salt, and pepper to taste. Pour over the cabbage mix and toss to combine.
To prepare the fish, combine the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika in a shallow container. Pat the fish dry, then dredge it in the flour mixture.
Heat the oil in a heavy (preferably cast iron) pan over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmery and flows to coat the entire bottom of the pan. Add the fish to the pan — if cooking multiple fillets, arrange them in a single layer with a little space between. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, carefully flipping once with a spatula, until both sides are golden-brown and the fish is opaque and flakes apart easily in the thickest part. Transfer the fish to a clean plate and flake into large chunks.
Meanwhile, heat the corn tortillas, one by one, in a heavy, dry pan, until soft and warm. Wrap them in a clean cloth as you go. (Alternatively, wrap them in a clean dish towel and warm them in the microwave for a few seconds.)
Serve the fish on a platter with the tortillas, slaw, cilantro, avocado, lime, and salsa on the side, letting each diner assemble his or her own tacos.