Favorite Crispy Fried-Fish Tacos

Has this ever happened to you:  a magazine subscription starts showing up in your mailbox, and your not sure how it got there? This happened to me (twice actually), and it is how I ended up getting this recipe for fish tacos which has become a favorite in our household.

My only explanation is that I must have subscribed to a trial offer for Food and Wine magazine a few years back, and had forgotten about it.  I only received a few issues, however every year after, their annual cookbooks started showing up at my doorstep.  This recipe is from the 2011 edition.

Dave and I started making these Asian crispy fried-fish tacos within the first few months of our courtship.  Now they are often in our week night meal rotation. For me, it’s the hoisin mayonnaise that makes this dish worthwhile.  For Dave, I think he just likes to fry things. Admittedly, the prep work is a little time consuming, but you’ll thank me when it’s all over.  Even if you have dishes overflowing in the sink.

Note:  It’s helpful to have an oil/candy thermometer on hand to monitor the temperature of the oil.

Crispy Fried-Fish Tacos
From Tomas Lee via Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2011
Makes 12 Tacos

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 lb tilapia filets, cut into 4-by-1-inch strips
2 large eggs, beaten
3 cups panko bread crumbs
3 cups vegetable oil, for frying
12 corn tortillas, warmed
Shredded green cabbage, lettuce leaves, cilantro and sliced scallions, for serving

1. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the hoisin sauce, sweet pickle relish and fresh lemon juice and set aside.

2. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and white pepper.  Seal the bag and shake.  Add the fish and shake to coat.

3.  Put the eggs and panko in separate shallow bowls.  Dip the fish in the egg and then in the panko. Transfer the fish to a wax paper-lined platter.

4. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil to 350 degrees.  Add half the fish and fry over moderate heat, turning once, until golden, about 3 minutes.  Drain the fish on a paper towel-lined platter. Repeat with the remaining fish.  Serve the fish in the tortillas, passing the hoisin mayonnaise, cabbage, lettuce, cilantro and scallions for serving.

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