Pecan-Crusted Fish Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Tina Wasserman
fish tacos

Here is a perfect example of the migration of Jewish cooking. I created this taco to incorporate all the flavors of the Southwest United States while adhering to the tenets of kashrut.

I serve it topped with fresh homemade Pineapple-Mint Salsa and Ancho Chili-Margarita Mayonnaise.

1 pound fish fillets, skin removed (salmon, sea bass, halibut, or black cod), cut into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
6 ounces regular (not lite) beer
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4–6 flour tortillas
  1. Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, beer, and minced garlic in a glass loaf pan or small casserole. Add the fish and marinate for no more than 1 hour.
  2. Combine the chopped pecans, flour, salt, and pepper on a plate. Firmly press all sides of the fish into the pecan mixture to coat well.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  4. Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat for 20 seconds. Add the olive oil and butter and heat until the butter is melted and bubbling.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium high, and add the fish fillets to the pan. Cook on one side for 1–2 minutes until the nuts are golden brown.
  6. Flip fish over, place the entire frying pan in the oven, and bake for 3–4 minutes more or until the fish is firm but still springy.
  7. Serve on a flour tortilla with  Pineapple-Mint Salsa or Ancho Chili-Margarita Mayonnaise.

Tina Wasserman is the author of Entrée to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora and Entrée to Judaism for Families and is a visiting lecturer and scholar-in-residence throughout the country. She serves on the boards of ARZA and URJ Camp Newman, and is a member of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, TX. Her recipes can be found at Cooking and More and throughout, where she serves as food editor. Tina can be reached for congregational and organizational events through her website.

Tina's Tidbits: 

  • Never fry in just butter, because it has a tendency to burn. Use half the amount of butter called for in a recipe, and substitute olive oil for the difference. This will give your food a higher smoking point so it won’t burn and you will still have the flavor of butter.
  • Never use salted butter for frying under any circumstance, as it will burn even faster and the salt will pull moisture out of the environment and cause more splattering.
  • Mexican mint marigold grows in warmer climates but tastes very similar to tarragon, for an easy substitution. Basil could be used as well.