We follow a few simple rules in our household: “lips that touch wine are totally fine,” “poodles first, then people, then money, then things,” and “don’t come at me with no fish taco without a cream sauce!” That last one works best when spoken in the voice of your favorite drag queen or aging auntie while wagging a finger all sassy-like. We don’t hold much sacred around here (namely just Our Goddess Who Art in Full Face, RuPaul, May She Live Forever), but fish tacos certainly warrant an honorable mention. We take them seriously and most definitely eat too many in one sitting whenever we make them. After you try this recipe for the first time, I defy you not to feel similarly convicted and come up with a few crazy food-related rules of your own.
Since we live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific ocean, we have access to an assortment of fresh local fish. We usually use ono or opah* in our tacos, but, if your choices are limited, any flaky white fish will suffice (e.g. Halibut, cod, etc.). We like the way opah tastes because it holds its moisture and the mild flavor complements the beer batter in which we dredge it.
The key to these fish tacos is the combination of different elements: the roasted poblano cream sauce (or crema, as Micah will be sure to tell you once you meet him), the smoky corn slaw, and the homemade corn tortillas. You may substitute store-bought tortillas in order to simplify—just make sure you give them a quick sear on the stove to take out the bite—but don’t you dare skimp on the cream sauce. I once told Micah that he could make millions of dollars by bottling his crema and selling it with a cute picture of his abuela on the label, but he said that would never work because the ingredients have to be fresh. I guess that’s one of his rules, but I’ve been tweeting a daily business plan to @RuPaul and @SuzeOrman ever since.
Post your own food-related rules and/or best drag queen names in the comments section below, and we promise to take credit for the best ones. And enjoy—we know you rarely follow the rules, you devil-may-care rebel, you—but this is one recipe certainly worth making an exception.
*Some good fish-taco related drag queen names: Opah Winfrey, Ono She-Betta-Don’t, Big Fish.
- ½ small head of purple cabbage, sliced
- ¼ small red onion, sliced thinly
- 3 ears of corn, roasted or steamed and cut from the cob (frozen works as well; simply thaw a bag before adding to ingredients)
- ½ small red bell pepper, sliced thinly (optional)
- ¼ peeled jicama, cut into matchstick pieces (optional)
- 2 tbsp minced cilantro
- ½ cup greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- ½ chipotle pepper, minced, in adobo sauce (you can find cans of these in the Hispanic foods section of your grocery store)
- 1 tbsp of reserved adobo sauce
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- Combine the cabbage, onion, and corn together in a medium bowl. If using either of the optional ingredients, add these as well.
- In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients together. You may adjust the spice level up or down by increasing or decreasing the additional reserved adobo sauce.
- Add the sauce to the vegetables and mix thoroughly. Let sit in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the meal.
- 3 Poblano peppers
- 4-5 tomatillos, husk on
- 2 peeled garlic cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 large bunch of cilantro
- 1½ cup sour cream, or Mexican cream
- Juice of 1 lime
- Set your oven to broil.
- Toss the first three ingredients with olive oil and salt on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil until scorched and bubbly (approximately five minutes on each side).
- Remove from the oven and place in a glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and and set aside for 10 minutes to steam.
- Peel husk off the tomatillos and pulse in a food processor with the garlic until smooth.
- Carefully peel the skin off the poblano peppers, removing as much of the skin as possible. Cut the stem, remove all the seeds, and add to food processor.
- Combine remaining ingredients in processor until smooth.
- Chill for one hour before serving.
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 (12 oz.) bottle of beer
- 1 lb boneless, skinless white fish, cut into 1x2 inch pieces
- Pre-heat oil over medium heat to 350 degrees in a cast iron or heavy-bottomed skillet.
- Sift together dry ingredients.
- Pour beer into large bowl. Slowly add dry ingredients to beer, whisking constantly to avoid lumps in batter.
- Dip fish into beer-batter and into the hot oil (do not overcrowd). Fry the fish, turning occasionally, until browned and and crispy.
- Remove the fish from the hot oil and transfer to cookie sheet lined with a cooling rack. Keep warm until ready to serve in an oven heated to 200 degrees.
Assembly: Divide fish among the tortillas and garnish with Roasted Poblano Crema, Chipotle Corn Slaw, fresh cilantro, and queso fresco. Serve with lime wedges.