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At Barracuda Cantina, a beloved taqueria on the outskirts of Todos Santos, Mexico, classic Baja-style fried fish tacos and refreshing agave-based cocktails are an understated art form. Here, the traditional local taco features fat strips of whatever firm white fish is fresh that day—after all, the Pacific Coast is only 5 minutes away and large species like halibut, maji maji, grouper, and snapper are abundant in the surrounding waters. 

At Barracuda, fish can be ordered virtuously grilled or, as in this recipe inspired by the restaurant, spectacularly beer-battered and deep-fried. A tangle of lightly dressed coleslaw, soothing guacamole, fiery habanero salsa, and refreshing pico de gallo balance the rich crunch of the fish’s crisp and featherlight breading.

Featured in: “The Quest to Find the Ultimate Fish Taco.”

Yield: makes 8 tacos
Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

For the cole slaw:

  • 2 cups thinly sliced green or white cabbage
  • ½ cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • ⅓ cup coarsely grated carrot
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise

For the fish tacos:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup light beer
  • 1 lb. cod, halibut, mahi mahi, or other firm white fish, cut into 4- by 1-in. strips
  • Eight 6-in corn tortillas, warmed
  • Pico de gallo, guacamole, and habanero salsa, for serving
  • Lime coins, for squeezing

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, toss the green and red cabbage and the grated carrot with the salt and lime juice. Set aside until the vegetables have softened slightly and released some of their liquid, 15–20 minutes. Stir in the mayonnaise to coat the vegetables, then cover and refrigerate the slaw while you prepare the tacos (or up to 24 hours ahead of time).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and black pepper. Slowly whisk in the beer to make a smooth batter and set aside.
  3. Dip the fish strips in the batter to coat, then fry the fish in batches, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through, 3–6 minutes per batch. Use a heatproof slotted spoon or spider skimmer to transfer the fish to the lined baking sheet to drain while you continue frying the rest.
  4. Dip the fish strips in the batter to coat, then fry the fish in batches, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through, 3–6 minutes per batch. Use a heatproof slotted spoon or spider skimmer to transfer the fish to the lined baking sheet to drain while you continue frying the rest.
  5. Serve the fish in warm corn tortillas, topped with the reserved cole slaw, pico de gallo, guacamole, and habanero salsa, and lime coins on the side.

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