Blackened Fish Taco Bowls

I grew up in rural Wisconsin and was raised on fish fries during Lent. For those unfamiliar with the concept, Lent is part of the Catholic religious tradition that has members of the church avoiding meat on Fridays leading up to the Easter holiday. For a lot of Catholics, that's means turning to fish fries on Fridays, often in the basements or social rooms of churches. And I grew up lucky to have a parish that was really good at said church basement fish fry. Today, I usually partake in Friday fish fries now and again and throughout the year because I just love them, but I also work in other fish-centric dishes because I love fish and I am also more than just a little sentimental about it all.

So Blackened Fish Taco Bowls fit right into that fish-craving sentimental space I just described ... with a little spice tossed in too! These bowls have a pretty long ingredient list, but are actually pretty quick and easy to make and will help give you a bit of warmth during a month known for some pretty harsh cold. I used Mahi-Mahi, but any firm whitefish will work. I just happen to love the texture and flavor this produces. Also, I used a rice blend that included wild, red, and brown rice plus quinoa, but you could choose something with more or less variety or just use your favorite rice.

These are meals on their own. Just pour a frosty beverage of your choice and dig in! If you are looking to trim some time from the meal prep, make the avocado-lime crema, seasoning mix, and begin prepping the fish while the rice blend cooks in your pressure cooker. You'll likely cut the prep time down to about a half hour by doing that and you'll be digging in that much sooner!

Blackened Fish Taco Bowls

  • 1 ¼ cup wild grain blend rice
  • 2 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¾ cup corn kernels
  • ¾ cup cooked black beans
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds Mahi Mahi fillets
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups green cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

Place the rice blend, stock, and butter into the pressure cooker. Close the lid and lock. Set it to cook on high pressure with a timer of 20 minutes.

When the timer is done, carefully do a quick release. After the pressure is released, add the corn and black beans, stir, and allow the mixture to rest while you prepare the rest of the meal. Note: You can make the avocado-lime crema and assemble the seasoning mix while the rice blend cooks.

Add the sour cream, water, avocado, lime juice, and lime zest to a blender. Process the mixture until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Add more water as needed to achieve your desired consistency. Transfer the avocado-lime crema to a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Combine the smoked paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, cumin, chili powder, and black pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle the seasoning evenly over both sides of the fish filets.

Heat the canola oil in a large cast-iron skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the fish to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the desired degree of doneness. The surface will blacken in color quickly so keep a close eye on the fish to keep it from burning. When the fish is cooked to your liking, remove to a plate and keep warm.

Toss the cabbage and red pepper into the still hot pan and stir rapidly until the cabbage wilts and the pepper softens slightly.

To serve, spoon the rice, corn, and bean mixture into the bottom of bowls and top with the blackened fish, sautéed cabbage, sliced grape tomatoes, and a dollop or two of the avocado-lime crema.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes