0 (0)

Fish and Shellfish, Healthy Eating, Mains

Achiote-marinated fish tacos

Achiote-marinated fish tacos
Los Angeles Times

It's hard to pin down what's great about a great taco. Is it the succulent, smoky carne asada? The tender, charred hand-made tortilla? The sweet, ripe, spicy brightness of pico de gallo? More likely it's the way all those things ... Read more

Total time: About 50 minutes, plus 1 hour marinating time | Serves 4

Achiote paste

  • 4 rounded tablespoons achiote seeds (also called annatto seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 12 whole allspice

Step 1Mix the spices and grind them in batches in an electric spice or coffee grinder as finely as possible. In a small bowl, stir together the ground spices and enough water to make a stiff paste; we used about 3 tablespoons. You will have more achiote paste than is called for in the recipe. Store it well-wrapped in plastic in the freezer.

Chipotle mayonnaise

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo, roughly chopped

Step 1In a food processor or blender, blend the mayonnaise, garlic, oil, lime juice, salt and chipotle peppers. You will have more chipotle mayonnaise than is called for in the recipe. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Fish tacos

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons achiote paste
  • 1 pound yellowtail fillet, skin removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 small corn tortillas
  • 1 cup finely shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup chipotle mayonnaise
  • 1 lime, cut into 8 wedges

Step 1In a small bowl, combine the garlic, salt and achiote paste. Put the mixture into a 1-gallon sealable plastic bag with the fish. Refrigerate for an hour.

Step 2On a cast-iron griddle or in a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Scrape some of the extra achiote paste from the yellowtail, then grill the fish, about 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until done. If the fish is cooking too quickly or unevenly, adjust the heat as necessary. Let the fish rest for a few minutes before slicing it thinly across the grain; if the fish breaks apart, that's fine.

Step 3Warm the tortillas on a pan over medium heat; place on a platter or individual plates, two per person.

Step 4Divide the fish among the tortillas and top with shredded cabbage and a teaspoonful of chipotle mayonnaise. Serve immediately, with lime wedges.

Note: The achiote paste recipe is adapted from "The Essential Cuisines of Mexico" by Diana Kennedy. Annatto seeds are available at Latino markets.


Bulgur latkes with pomegranate sauce
Bulgur latkes with pomegranate sauce

Pecan-crusted spareribs with Kentucky bourbon barbecue sauce
Pecan-crusted spareribs with Kentucky bourbon barbec...

Maury Rubin's pumpkin pie
Maury Rubin's pumpkin pie

Slim Sloppy Joes
Slim Sloppy Joes

Have a specific question about a recipe or found a problem? Let us know at food@latimes.com

More recipes in Fish and Shellfish

Chipotle roasted salmon
Poached mackerel with ginger-soy sauce and soba noodles
Garlic Shrimp With Asparagus
Rhode Island red chowder