Oven Crunch

Fish tacos are a popular spring and summer menu item where I live. However, despite the many health benefits of enjoying fish, some of the options offered at local restaurants are loaded with lots of fat and calories because the fish is either deep fried or pan fried. Both options can leave tender fish caked with oil and heavy breading. To avoid that, I make mine at home and bake it in the oven. Before you wonder if it can still be crunchy by taking that route, feast your eyes on this:

Tender chunks of white fish (choose your favorite variety - anything from cod to tilapia to white bass will work) get sliced into bite-sized pieces and then tossed into a bag of delightfully seasoned panko crumbs. You could use other bread crumbs, but I highly recommend panko because it has a lot of natural crunch to it and lends that readily to the fish. Once coated with the seasoned crumbs, the fish gets a short visit to a very hot oven and presto!, you've got crunchy, delicious fish to tuck into a taco and dress up however you'd like.

There are about as many ways to serve these tacos as there are people who will make them. Me? I opted to toss a little cilantro pesto with some hot cooked rice and add that to my tacos as well. You can add any number of condiments and add-ins to yours, too. Black beans, shredded cabbage, and a dollop of sour cream all make nice additions to these tacos. However you assemble them, enjoy making them yours and knowing they're a quick, simple, and healthy dinner choice.

Crunchy Oven-Baked Fish Tacos

  • 1 lb. firm white fish, sliced (I used white bass)
  • 1 c. panko crumbs
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 T. canola oil
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • Guacamole and salsa, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Slice the fish into 2″ long pieces and set aside.

In a resealable plastic bag, mix the panko, smoked paprika, garlic, salt, and oil. Place the fish into the bag, seal, and shake.

Once the fish is coated in the panko mixture, spread the pieces on a foil or silicone baking mat-lined sheet pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes until the panko crust is golden brown. Wrap your tortillas in foil and throw them in the oven for the last 3 to 5 minutes of baking to warm. Serve the fish wrapped in the tortillas with guacamole and salsa.

  • Yields: 4-6 wraps, depending on full you make them
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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