Yucatecan Fish Tacos with Green Peach Salsa

In Recipe by Sean23 Comments

Yucatecan Fish Tacos

With Green Peach Salsa

If you’re going to change something great, you’d better give it some serious thought.

Tacos are great. Fish tacos are fantastic. But I feel like I see a lot of the same thing over and over again. White fish, pickled onions, cabbage, guacamole, tortilla. It’s undoubtedly a delicious combination (I’m actually making myself hungry here), but there’s no reason to get stuck in a rut. Change can be good – as long as it’s done well. Modifications and variations can be very forgettable at times; there’s a common temptation to change things up by swapping out or adding one ingredient (salmon for white fish, mangoes in the guac, etc.) and calling it a whole new recipe. And let’s be honest, that’s not really changing things up that much. Sometimes a single ingredient makes a big difference, and I love a good variation as much as the next guy, but sometimes it’s nice to go back to the drawing board all together.

So I decided to forget the standard recipe and do something based around an entirely different Mexican cooking style – Yucatecan achiote. These fish tacos are all about the spice. I don’t mean the heat, I mean the actual spices used to add dimension to the fish. As the name suggests, there’s some heavy Yucatecan influence in the form of the achiote-style spice blend (especially the allspice and annatto), but there’s also a bit of Puebla in the mix thanks to the ancho chile powder. As for the toppings, in addition to some pepitas and Mexican crema, I’ve chosen something simple but distinctive – something designed specifically to go with this fish (though you could easily use them elsewhere too). Instead of a standard tomato salsa or guacamole, the bold and earthy spices get to play against a sweet, tangy, slightly spicy salsa made from green (under-ripe) peaches. Why under-ripe peaches? Well, two reasons – one, I really wanted to see what I could do with them (short answer: salsa), and two, they give you something fun to look forward to when the only peaches you can get are basically baseballs. Sweet peaches are great, but they’re REALLY sweet, and that makes for an overwhelmingly sweet salsa to put on a savoury dish (some mango salsas suffer from the same problem). Rock hard peaches are slightly sweet and nicely tart. They also soften up nicely when sliced and mixed with all the other ingredients.

I certainly haven’t reinvented the wheel, but I have made an awfully good taco, if I do say so myself. It’s not going to replace the ‘standard’ fish taco – nor is it meant to. But Mexican cuisine offers an enormous variety of flavours, spices, and ingredients that are worth exploring. There’s no reason to call it quits with one great recipe. After all, can you really have too many tacos?

Recipe Notes

As with taco recipes in general, there are some variations, tweaks, and tricks you can use while making these.

FISH

You can use any number of firm white fish varieties for this – you are adding a lot of spice, so I’d stay away from very flavourful and fatty fish (e.g. mackerel). Halibut, cod, and black cod make excellent choices, but you could certainly try a host of others. You could even substitute shrimp. When you do cook the fish, make sure it’s not overcooked; you’re shooting for pieces that are just flaky, while still remaining very moist and springy to the touch.

SPICES

Annatto is a spice and colouring agent made from ground seeds of a bushy tree called achiote. It’s usually available from Mexican, Caribbean, and Central American grocers, as well as online. It is sometimes labeled in Spanish as achiote molido (ground achiote) but note that it is NOT the same as achiote paste.  Achiote paste, aka recado colorado is a seasoned pasted made from annatto along with allspice, cumin, and other spices.  In this recipe, you’re basically making an achiote paste of your own by adding all of the other ingredients.  In the event that you’re very short for time or unable to get the spices, you could substitute store-bought achiote paste into the recipe and reduce or omit the allspice, cumin, coriander, cloves, and peppercorns. You’ll have to play with the balance to see what you like.

TOPPINGS

The salsa can be made ahead of time, though the peaches will get softer and the salsa more watery if left for more than a few hours. If peaches are out of season, you could use firm green mango, or a mix of ripe mango and green papaya. Green mangoes and papayas are often available from East and South Asian grocery stores.

Mexican crema is basically Mexican sour cream (or crème fraîche). It can be obtained from good Latin American grocers, or made at home (check out my buttermilk enchiladas with spot prawns for more info and a basic recipe). You can also substitute other ingredients to your personal taste quite easily. Many people use standard sour cream, but I really like using non-fat Greek yogurt. It provides the sour tanginess that compliments the fish so well while remaining comparatively guilt free.

Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) are widely available, both roasted and un-roasted.  I prefer roasted ones, but make sure not to use a flavoured or heavily salted variety.


Nutrition Facts
Yucatecan Fish Tacos with Green Peach Salsa
Amount Per Serving
Calories 228 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 14%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 43mg 14%
Sodium 261mg 11%
Potassium 114mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 6g
Protein 20g 40%
Vitamin A 8%
Vitamin C 11%
Calcium 2%
Iron 4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional Summary

This nutritional information is my best estimate, as accurate nutritional data for under-ripe peaches isn’t generally available. Note that information given uses halibut as the white fish and allows for true Mexican crema; a low- or no-fat Greek yogurt will have less fat.

GOOD NEWS:
Very high in protein (two tacos will give you 80% of your daily protein needs) but very low in fat, these are wonderfully healthy, assuming you don’t drown them in crema.

BAD NEWS:
A little low in vitamins. Add a good veggie side (or even some guacamole) to bring some greenery into the meal.

Ingredient Pages

No ingredient pages have been written yet for any of the ingredients in this recipe.  Like to see one?  Let me know in the comments below or by email.

Pantry Pages

  • Pescetarian
  • Gluten free
  • 30-minutes

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Yucatecan Mexican Fish Tacos with Green Peach Salsa - Diversivore.com
Yucatecan Fish Tacos with Green Peach Salsa
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Servings Prep Time
12 tacos 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
7 minutes 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 tacos 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
7 minutes 15 minutes
Yucatecan Mexican Fish Tacos with Green Peach Salsa - Diversivore.com
Yucatecan Fish Tacos with Green Peach Salsa
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Servings Prep Time
12 tacos 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
7 minutes 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 tacos 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
7 minutes 15 minutes
Ingredients
Fish Tacos
Peach Salsa
To Serve
Servings: tacos
Units:
Instructions
Fish Tacos
  1. Toast the allspice, cumin, coriander, and black peppercorns in a heavy frying pan over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until the cumin starts to darken slightly. Transfer to a spice grinder (or mortar and pestle) and pulverize. Add the remaining spices and mix thoroughly.
  2. Debone the fish if necessary. Cut into 3-4 cm (1-1.5 inch) pieces. In a large bowl or container, toss the fish with the spice mix and minced garlic until evenly covered.
  3. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the fish in an even layer and fry until it begins to firm up. Carefully turn the fish pieces and continue to cook until the fish is done. This will take 4-5 minutes on average, but will vary depending on the fish and the size of the pieces. When cooked, the fish should still have a slightly bouncy, gelatinous look and feel. Overcooked fish will look very dry and/or fall apart quite badly.
  4. Serve the fish in warmed corn tortillas with the peach salsa and all of the other fixings (cilantro, crema, limes, pepitas, and anything else you might enjoy).
Peach Salsa
  1. Peel and pit the peaches, then dice them into small cubes.
  2. Combine the peaches with all the remaining salsa ingredients (including the jalapenos, if using) and toss/stir to combine. Allow the salsa to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes

The salsa can be made ahead of time, though the peaches will get softer and the salsa more watery if left for more than a few hours.

Mexican crema is basically Mexican sour cream (or crème fraîche).  It can be obtained from good Latin American grocers, or made at home.  You can also substitute other ingredients to your personal taste quite easily.  Many people use standard sour cream, but I really like using non-fat Greek yogurt.  It provides the sour tang that compliments the fish so well while remaining comparatively guilt free.

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Comments

  1. I remember when I first had fish tacos. It was in Tofino on my honeymoon, nearly 13 years ago at the Taco Bus. They were amazing, I think they were appropriately named “Killer Tacos”. I think we ordered one and after one bite quickly ordered a couple of more! Your recipe looks awesome and what a creative idea to use underripe peaches to make a salsa! Your pictures are amazing too!!

    1. Author

      I haven’t been to the Taco Bus, but now I definitely want to! It’s so easy to just keep eating them. I’m glad you like the salsa too – it’s certainly not traditional, but it was really tasty and a fun variation on the idea of a fruit salsa. The tartness and sweetness play on the spiced fish really well. Thanks for the compliment on the photos too – I’m always happy to hear that people are enjoying the visuals.

  2. This recipe has my mouth watering, big time! I’m loving your blog Sean! I’ve never heard of Annatto but will check at a few stores in town to see if I’m in luck. It’s been way too long since I’ve had either fish tacos or peach salsa and am excited by the combo! I’m dairy-free so will replace the sour cream for guacamole….which I don’t think I can go wrong with here. Thanks for the delicious looking recipe Sean! 🙂

    1. Author

      Thanks for the kind words! Annatto is a really interesting spice, from a bizarre looking plant. Latin grocery stores should have it.
      Your dairy replacement sounds absolutely perfect – should be a hit!

  3. I really love how you’ve stepped outside of the box with these! What a great way to use under ripe peaches. And pepitas! I love throwing those into unsuspecting dishes – this is a great example of that.

    Awesome stuff as always, my friend!

    1. Author

      PEPITAS! Fun to say, fun to eat. Thanks Dana! It was a cool recipe, and I really loved the peach salsa. I love cooking with fruit, but I don’t like when savoury meals are overwhelmed by sweetness, so it was a nice compromise.

  4. We love tacos here…all kinds of tacos. They are perfect for entertaining…and these sound delicious. I really like making homemade tortillas as well…they are the best!!

    1. Author

      I couldn’t agree more – I just started making my own tortillas this month and I LOVE it. The taste is unparalleled.

  5. Oh yum! I agree that switching up tacos can be daring (if it ain’t broke, am I right?) but I love the idea of doing a heavily spiced fish and top it with a green peach salsa! I love the crispy/cool and soft/warm combination they must have. Awesome looking recipe!

    1. Author

      I know, I mean I’m still going to eat the ol’ standby Baja-style taco – but it’s fun to have something else to fall back on too! Thanks for the kind words.

  6. Fish tacos are the one thing I can not pass up!! Especially come summer, they are one of my favorite meals. Cod loin is usually my fish of choice for fish tacos – meaty and flavorful enough to manage the spices and grilling. This recipe sounds delicious Sean! Can not wait to try 🙂 And can I just spread a little Friday gratitude for what a wonderful and active member of the FBC community you are! Thank you for encouraging positive exchanges like you did today on Facebook, it is so inspiring. I hope our paths cross in the real world some day! Have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Author

      I think you could use cod quite nicely here. I’m a bit of a fiend for halibut, but the price can get up there. Pacific cod is a great fish and I really like it. Lingcod is wonderful too, and would work equally well here.

      And thank you so much for your kind words about my participation in Food Bloggers of Canada. It’s a wonderful organization full of wonderful and talented bloggers (such as yourself!) and I feel privileged to participate and lucky to have been welcomed so warmly.

      Cheers!

  7. I’ve never met a fish taco I didn’t love, and these are no exception to that rule. The use of achiote paste and the tangy peach salsa is positively inspired… I could totally go for a couple of these babies right about now. (OK, maybe more like a dozen. Mmmm… tacos.)

    1. Author

      Tacos may be the only food that rivals pizza in terms of that “Just one more” feeling you get while eating. So yeah, I hear you on the ‘dozen’ idea. 🙂
      Thanks Isabelle!

  8. Real talk: I’ve never tried a fish taco before! I was always a bit hesitant, not being a huge fish lover myself. But these might have to draw me to the dark side, so to speak. I think the pumpkin seeds, cilantro and lime added to garnish just make the flavours even more complex and delicious. Thanks for sharing, Sean!

    1. Author

      Oh Cassie, you have to dive in. I didn’t grow up eating much seafood (apparently I was the lone hardcore seafood lover – I just didn’t know it until I was older), but I can safely say that fish tacos have a near universal appeal. The garnishes are a great way to bring everything together, but I promise you that the fish itself is very easy to love. I hope you’ll try some soon, and thanks for the comments!

  9. I love your inventive take on fish tacos, Sean! As usual, delicious flavour profiles, colours and textures. You and Dana have me craving fish tacos now! There’s a little market close by that makes the best corn tortillas — I think I’ll pick some up this weekend! Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

    1. Author

      Thanks Justine! Truth be told, I’m a tinkerer, and I freakin’ love tacos, so it’s kind of inevitable that I’ll put together new recipes. Can’t be helped. Dana’s take on shrimp tacos was pretty righteous too (that seems like appropriate taco lingo)!

  10. You most certainly cannot have too many tacos. I will agree and confirm with that statement. I am the self-appointed, official representative of taco fiends everywhere and there is an overwhelming consensus that one taco is not enough, two tacos are not enough, three tacos are not enough, four tacos are not enough, nor are 5 tacos enough. There is never enough tacos.

    PS. Sean – this post is great. GORGEOUS tacos, by the way 😉

    1. Author

      Just FYI, your official status is recognized here. You have taco diplomat status as far as Diversivore is concerned.

      Thanks Kristy 🙂

  11. Pingback: What's Up Wednesdays: A Sweet Escape » Beyond the Rhetoric

  12. YUM. I feel inspired to make fish tacos now for dinner, hehe! I love how you’re tackling a cuisine month-to-month. I love Mexican food and I’ve learned so much already here! Very thorough post, your blog is jam packed with goodness.

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