By Tara Richter
My absolute favorite fish/seafood dish is hands down fish tacos. Not only are they incredibly easy & fast to make, they make a great family-friendly meal! I prefer my fish tacos with a bit of a twist though, complete with a chipotle-mango salsa. Mangos, chipotle, and fish you say? Trust me – it is awesome!
Up until recently I hadn’t ever really given much thought to the fishing practices of where my favorite seafood came from. That is, until I heard about the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Buying products with the MSC label means that the seafood comes from a sustainable wild-catch fishery that has been independently certified to the MSC standard AND is fully traceable to a sustainable source. As a parent of a growing boy, that was something that was important for me as a consumer.
I set out on my ingredient shopping trip at my local Loblaw store to make these tasty fish tacos. I have to say it was super easy to instantly locate fish that was caught sustainably by MSC’s recognizable label. I literally didn’t have to search for the fine print to determine what fish to buy- there it was RIGHT in front of me on the packaging, making my choice easy. In fact, once I was familiar with the MSC label, it practically jumped out at me on every item I looked at. I was amazed at how many seafood products were available with this certification. As it turns out, Loblaw stores sell the widest range of MSC-certified wild caught seafood in all of Canada. There was everything from crab meat, to fish sticks, to various types of fresh and frozen fish filets.
After browsing through the fresh/frozen fish isle and selecting the Halibut, (mildly sweet but firm-textured) I ventured over to the produce section for tomatoes, cilantro, limes, avocado and of course the mangos! Last but not least, a can of chilies and tortillas to wrap it all up in. Just placing all the ingredients in my cart was making my mouth water thinking about the juicy fish, with the smoky spices of chipotle softened by the sweetness of mango.
At the check-out counter, I had a curious stranger comment that “they wanted to come to my house for supper” based on the delicious looking contents of my cart. After a few laughs, I just had to point out the fact that I was going to be making fish-tacos with this new MSC-certified fish. With curiosity, my grocery store stranger asked what that meant. I took the opportunity of course, to share that it means the fish is caught in a sustainable and responsible way – in order to protect fisheries and eco-systems. They were really impressed and noted they’d “have to keep that in mind for next time”. I was pleasantly surprised that in less than 30 seconds I was able to influence someone’s consumer choice by sharing a few quick facts!
Preparation for the dish is incredibly easy. The most labour intensive part is the preparation of the mango salsa. It involves a bit of cutting, slicing and chopping of a few ingredients. But trust me, this flavor combination is really what makes this dish shine! If you’re running short on time, the salsa can be made the day or two before and kept in the fridge. I actually find this works best since the ingredients tend to blend for a much richer flavor.
With the mango salsa complete, it’s time to move on to the fish fillets. The great part about making this fish, is that it takes under 10 minutes to cook through; making it perfect for those nights where cooking up a big complicated meal is the LAST thing you want to do. As a family with a very busy schedule, a simple, fast, and healthy meal is a definite bonus!
The final stage, and the most fun, is the assembly of the individual tacos. The great part about fish tacos is that it allows each person to customize exactly how they like to fill their shell. Personally I like a little bit of lettuce or kale for extra flavor and crunch. My 3-year-old niece on the other hand, wants just the “chicken” as she called it; which brings me to my next point. If you or your kids have a hard time with the idea of eating fish, halibut is a great option because of its meaty texture. It ends up seeming a little bit ‘like chicken’ and yet you still get all the great benefits of eating fish!
I’d suggest that these would also make great left-overs, but there aren’t ever ANY leftovers when its Fish Taco night in my house!!
Next time you head out to buy your favorite fish or seafood, take a minute to look for the MSC label to ensure that the fish you buy are coming from fisheries that are practicing sustainable measures. This alone will help to ensure that the oceans remain abundant for future generations!
- 2 to 4 MSC-Certified Halibut Fish Fillets
- 3 TB oil, divided
- 1 ½ tsp paprika
- 1 tsp chipotle chili powder **
- Chipotle Mango Salsa
- 2 mangos, peeled and cubed
- 12-15 cherry tomatoes
- 1 avocado, pitted and chopped
- 1 chipotle in adobo – chopped (from canned chipotle chilies)**
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ lime, juiced
- ¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro
- pinch salt and pepper
- ¾ tsp garlic powder
- ¾ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp oregano
- pinch of salt & pepper
- corn or flour tortillas for serving
- In small bowl, mix together the paprika, chipotle chili powder, garlic & onion powder, oregano and salt & pepper. Drizzle the oil (1-2 tablespoons) over fish and generously rub mixture on each fish fillet. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, place together the mango, tomatoes, chopped avocado, chipotle in adobo, garlic, cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper. Mix gently to combine.
- Heat a skillet on medium heat and had remaining oil. When the pan is hot, place the fish in the skillet and cook approximately 4 minutes per side (or until cooked through). Remove from pan and either chop or flake fish apart.
- To assemble the taco, simply add the fish pieces and cover with mango salsa. Fold in half and ENJOY!
- The left-over mango salsa makes a great addition to other dishes as well, or even as a salad topper. Unfortunately, these fish tacos are such a hit in my house, we rarely ever have left overs!