Pescado con Vino - Mexican fish with white wine marinade, served in tacos - Diversivore.com

Pescado con Vino – Fish with White Wine

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Pescado con Vino

White Wine-Marinated Fish

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This post is co-sponsored by The Marine Stewardship Council and Nobilo Wines.
I have been compensated financially to produce this recipe, but all opinions presented are my own.

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again – there’s room in the world for more than one fish taco.  Oh sure, the fried-fish Baja-style taco with shredded cabbage and pico de gallo is deserving of its status as an unparalleled classic in the Mexican food pantheon.  But I think I can speak comfortably for all seafood lovers when I say that we’re doing ourselves a disservice by focusing so much of our attention on that one (admittedly delicious) recipe.  So when the opportunity arose to develop a new recipe with Nobilo Wines and the Marine Stewardship Council my mind turned (as it often does) to all things taco.  It wasn’t tough coming up with ideas really – the pairing of Nobilo’s bright, crisp Sauvignon Blanc and MSC certified fish was full of wonderful (and affordable!) land-meets-sea potential.  So with tacos, fish, and Sauvignon Blanc in my head (not literally mind you – I paced myself on the wine) I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do from the outset.  And yet, it was actually surprisingly tricky to research Mexican fish recipes for inspiration.  It seems that the omnipresent Baja fish taco has so thoroughly planted itself in the minds of English-speaking taco-lovers around the world that it absolutely dominates search results.  Thankfully, some careful word choice, Spanish-language googling, and old-school offline research (namely reading through my ever-growing collection of cookbooks), gave me some good leads and culinary starting points.  Eventually I half-remembered/half-stumbled across a wonderful recipe called Pescado Rodrigo.  The talented (and ridiculously-nice-in-person) Pati Jinich has a recipe for it in her wonderful cookbook Pati’s Mexican Table, where she describes it as a beloved classic in Mexico City. The original recipe use lightly bread and pan-fried fish fillets dressed with a scallion, olive oil, and citrus salsa loaded with cilantro.  It’s one of those great versatile recipes, working equally well in tacos or as the main on a plate, and coming together in a snap to boot.  With Pescado Rodrigo as my starting point, I looked to the Mediterranean-infused cuisine of Veracruz in order to create a recipe that really worked with Nobilo’s crisp Sauvignon Blanc. The white wine swaps in for the citrus (though some lime juice is retained), and fresh oregano takes over for cilantro.  Serrano peppers add a distinctive New World kick without ramping up the heat too much.  Finally, I wanted to add a bright and tangy punch to round things out, so I turned to what might well be my favourite taco condiment: a good quick-pickled onion.  This particular pickled onion is also made with white wine and oregano (another bit of Mexican-meets-Mediterranean fusion, though with a more Yucatecan twist), and is way too tasty given how little effort it requires.  It doesn’t hurt that it’s pretty stunning on the plate either.

This isn’t the first time I’ve explored Veracruz-style seafood; the heavy focus on olive oil and other Mediterranean ingredients combines with African, Caribbean, and native Mexican elements to make a really wonderful and uniquely Mexican food culture.  A number of the ingredients in this recipe can be found in my halibut escabeche, – another recipe that does double-duty as a taco filling or stand-alone main course.  But the escabeche is definitely a slow-food sort of experience, whereas this recipe comes together very quickly, making it ideal meal for a weeknight dinner.  You can also easily increase or decrease the serving size, making it nicely adaptable to your situation.  Add in the fact that it gives you an excuse to open up a bottle of wine, and honestly what more could one ask for?  Best of all, when you bite into that taco and toast with a glass of wine, you’ll know that you’re making a difference by focusing on sustainability.  So cheers to that.

Teach a Man to Fish…

I always consider potential partners carefully when I take on sponsored work. Diversivore is and always will be focused on cooking from scratch while exploring the social and biological implications of the food we eat, and I hope my choice in collaborators reflects that.  So when I had a chance to work with the Marine Stewardship Council I was quite pleased.  They were open to any of their certified sustainable, ocean-friendly seafood being used here (which makes me happy, because I love me some options), but I was drawn to sole because of it’s agreeably mild flavour, ease of cooking, accessibility, and ability to really soak up flavours.  There are a number of other fish options you could consider (more on that in the Recipe Notes below), but regardless of the direction you choose to go in you’ll want to look for the MSC blue fish label on your packaging.  That label (which you can see in the photo below) indicates that the fish in question comes from a fishery that has been assessed based on a number of sustainability-focused metrics and determined to be a good environmental choice.  MSC certified fish can be found at hundreds of different grocery retailers on a wide variety of products, so don’t be afraid to do a bit of exploring.  Here in Canada you’ll find a lot of products from a diversity of brands at Loblaws stores, Whole Foods, Costco, Walmart, Sobeys, and more.  Given that seafood is an inherently biodiverse and complex food for consumers to work with, it’s wonderful to be able to rely on a certification system to help you make environmentally conscious decisions.  If you want to explore more sustainable seafood recipes, I’ve got a whole collection of my own right here, and another collection from a group of other bloggers right here.

Wine & Dine

Let’s talk wine, shall we? White wine and white fish go hand-in-hand, but you tend to see the pairing in classically European dishes.  Interestingly, Mexico has a long history with wine (thanks primarily to Spanish colonialism and the wine-making efforts of the early Jesuits), but it hasn’t been a big wine-consuming culture until more recently.  A rising middle-class coupled with increased attention toward some stellar wine-growing regions is starting to give wine a more prominent place in the Mexican market.  I figure that this is only going to lead to more and more interesting flavour pairings, as there are plenty of bright and distinctive ingredients in Mexican cooking that pair quite nicely with a fresh, crisp white like Sauvignon Blanc.  And as it stands, the aforementioned Mediterranean influence seen in the Mexican cuisine of the Gulf Coast is already crying out for wine pairings.  Nobilo produces a classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with a crisp, bright, dry profile.  It’s got a citrusy tang and melon notes, along with more subtle fruity tropical flavours.  Basically it’s an ideal white for this type of marinade/salsa.  My fellow Canadians can find it in British Columbia at BC liquor stores and private retailers, and in Ontario at LCBO, Sobeys, and Loblaws locations.

Recipe Notes

Whether I’m diving into a complex culinary experiment or working with the simplest of weeknight-friendly recipes, I’m all about giving you the details you need to really nail the recipes on Diversivore.  Fortunately this recipe is pretty darned easy to put together, so if you’re feeling confident already you can jump right to the recipe below.  But if you’re looking for information about variations or the methods involved, I’ve got you covered.

Marinade

As I mentioned above, this recipe is inspired by a classic from Mexico City called Pescado Rodrigo.  That dish doesn’t marinade the fish, instead frying the fillet separately before dressing it with an olive oil and citrus based sauce.  I didn’t want to bread the fish, so I decided alter the cooking style and flavour profile by converting the sauce into a marinade (and then… back into a sauce).  The key here is that the marinade is not too terribly acidic, which means that the sole can sit in it for a while without cooking like a ceviche.  That being said, the white wine, lime juice, and added vinegar will start to cook the raw fish if left too long, so make sure you plan out your cooking time and try not to leave the fish in the marinade for more than an hour.

If you don’t have access to fresh oregano you can switch up the herbs in this recipe quite nicely.  A good flat-leaf parsley would be nice, though a little simple.  Cilantro is a classic Mexican ingredient of course, and would work nicely here too, though it tends to be better uncooked, so I would consider using less of it in the marinade and instead simply sprinkling it over the finished dish.  You can also use dried oregano in the marinade, but do so with caution.  Dried oregano can have a more intense flavour than fresh, so you’ll want to decrease the amount you use.  I would personally only use about 2 teaspoons.

If you’re pressed for time, you can take a step back towards Pescado Rodrigo by skipping the marinating step, frying the fish separately (breaded or unbreaded), and dressing everything with the salsa (either cooked or uncooked).  That being said, if you do choose to marinade the fish, make sure you finish the sauce by cooking the leftover marinade and keeping things food-safe.

Chili Choice

Chili peppers work wonderfully with herbs, oil and wine – in fact that’s one of the reasons that Mediterranean influences combine with Mexican cooking so well.  I used serrano peppers here because I love the flavour and their moderate heat (four kids ate this meal, so I had to keep the spiciness to a minimum).  My serranos seemed especially mild, but overall the small quantity of peppers is spread out in the marinade enough to keep the final dish quite mild.  Jalapeño makes a great alternative pepper, and is generally milder than serrano (though do note that they’re generally larger, so you’ll only need one).  If you want to ramp the heat up a bit you can add a couple of extra serranos, or a fiery, fruity chili like habanero.

If you feel like you want more heat still, or like you want to ramp up the chili flavour component in this recipe, consider making a dried-chili salsa like my smoky k’uut bi ik.  A little goes a long way, and it keeps in the fridge for ages.

Wine-Pickled Onions

The onions are really a second mini-recipe and technically optional, but they’re too easy and too tasty to skip out on.  They’re fairly similar to a classic recipe from the Yucatan (which I just happen to have right here on Diversivore), but they use wine and wine vinegar in place of Seville orange juice.  The addition of oregano ties the onions to the flavours in the marinade while adding an earthy, herbal note.

The onions really are as easy as can be, but if you’ve got time I would urge you to make them a day ahead.  They’re still great as long as they’ve been sitting for at least an hour, but the flavour tends to mellow and blend best after 24 hours.  The colour becomes more pink and vibrant too, so that’s a nice touch.

You can swap the red onion for a sweet white onion (e.g. Vidalia).  The flavour will be quite similar, though you do lose out on that wonderful colour.

The finished pickled onions will keep in the fridge for weeks, should you happen to end up with extras.  They’re great with all kinds of seafood, and on many other types of taco.

Sustainability and Fish Variations

I work with seafood a lot, and sustainability is always one of the first things I’m thinking about.  Unlike so many of our foods which have been effectively ‘domesticated,’ seafood is still heavily reliant on wild ecosystems.  As such, it’s especially important for us to pay attention to which fisheries are ecologically viable over the long term, and which are depleting natural resources in an unsustainable fashion.  MSC certification helps consumers make an environmentally informed choice, allowing them to choose seafood that has come from fisheries that are good for our oceans.  Certification involves a detailed chain of custody and is backed up by genetic testing – two important factors in a food industry that has struggled enormously with transparency.

Luckily for those of you who like to experiment a little, MSC certification also covers a broad array of choices.  MSC certified seafood covers a broad spectrum, including tuna, haddock, cod, shrimp, salmon, and more.  When it comes to this recipe in particular, that gives you a lot of options to work with.  Sole and other flatfish like plaice would be my first choice because of the thin profile of the fillets, but other good choices include halibut, cod, haddock, pollock, and tilapia (which is frequently farmed and therefore subject to related ASC [Aquaculture stewardship council] certification).  As much as I love salmon and oily fish, I would personally stick with flaky white fish for this recipe.  That being said, I think that a good sustainable shrimp variety would make a nice variation.

Any fish fillet can be used in this recipe without changing the cook time substantially.  Sole fillets are thin enough to cook quite fast, which makes it easier to cook this for even a large crowd.  If you want to cook a thicker, meatier fish like cod or halibut, make sure to adjust your cooking time accordingly.


Note: Nutritional Information is given for a 1/6th portion of the total recipe (3 tacos, including tortillas, fish, marinade/salsa, and onions).

Nutrition Facts
Pescado con Vino - White Wine-Marinated Fish
Amount Per Serving
Calories 452 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 34%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 51mg 17%
Sodium 620mg 26%
Potassium 453mg 13%
Total Carbohydrates 40g 13%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 2g
Protein 19g 38%
Vitamin A 6.7%
Vitamin C 9%
Calcium 13.6%
Iron 13.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional Summary

GOOD NEWS:
Lean, protein-rich, and low in calories despite being quite filling, this is easily one of the healthiest ways to enjoy fish tacos.

BAD NEWS:
Not terribly high in vitamins, this dish would do well to be served alongside a veggie-rich side.

TRIM IT DOWN:
Already quite lean, this dish can be trimmed down further by ditching the tortillas and serving it as a main with a side of vegetables. Going easy on the marinade/salsa also cuts come fat and calories from the olive oil.

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

No pantry 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.

  • Dairy-free
  • Gluten free
  • Pescetarian
4.88 from 24 votes
Pescado con Vino - Mexican fish with white wine marinade, served in tacos - Diversivore.com
Pescado con Vino - White Wine-Marinated Fish
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Marinading
1 hr
Total Time
30 mins
 

White wine, olive oil, fresh oregano, scallions, and MSC-certified sustainable sole combine with tangy wine-pickled onions for this simple to prepare fish dish that's perfect in tacos or as a stand-alone entree.

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: mexican fish with white wine, mexican fish with wine, non fried fish tacos, sustainable seafood, tacos
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 452 kcal
Ingredients
  • 680 g sole fillets - MSC Certified (or similar MSC certified variety - see notes)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil for frying
  • 18 corn tortillas for serving (optional)
Fish Marinade/Salsa
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano chopped
  • 2 serrano peppers seeded and minced
  • 6 large scallions white/light green portions only, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
Wine-marinated Onions
  • 1/2 large red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (see above)
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
Instructions
Wine-marinated Onions
  1. Combine the thinly sliced onions with the remaining ingredients in a large container.  Shake to combine and set aside for at least one hour and up to overnight.  The colour and flavour improves with time, so don't be afraid to make these well before you need them.

Fish Marinade/Salsa
  1. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl.  Lay fillets out in a large dish or plastic bag and pour the marinade over them.  Cover and let stand for 1 hour.

  2. Remove the fish fillets from the marinade, brushing off clinging scallions and oregano.  Keep the marinade too cook in the next section.

Cooking & Serving
  1. Preheat a large skillet with 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the fillets a few at a time without crowding the pan.  Cook until slightly browned and nearly cooked through (see note if using a thicker fish fillet), then flip and cook for about 2 more minutes.  Repeat with remaining fillets.

  2. Once the fish is done, remove it from the pan and add the reserved marinade/salsa.  Bring it to a low simmer, then cook for an additional minute.  Remove from heat and set aside to serve over the fish.

  3. Heat the corn tortillas in a skillet.  Serve pieces of fish in tacos with onions and the finished wine salsa.  Alternatively, put all of the fish in a serving tray and scatter with onions and salsa then serve family-style along with tortillas, rice, or another side of your choice.

Recipe Notes

This recipe is easy to adapt to a number of different white fish varieties, so you can adjust it depending on what you have available.  MSC certified sole is generally easy to find, but there are other sustainable options you can explore too (just look for the blue MSC label).  If you're using a thicker fish fillet (cod or haddock for example), you'll want to extend the cooking time a little longer both before and after flipping the fish.


More Fish Tacos!

Halibut Escabeche

Halibut Escabeche

Yucatecan Fish Tacos

Yucatecan Achiote-Spiced Fish Tacos

Broiled Fish Tacos

Broiled Fish Tacos with Avocado Grapefruit Salsa

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Comments


  1. Fish tacos are one of our favourites. Fish tacos and wine…well that is the perfect summer entertaining meal for sure. I always look for good quality fish to cook with. It does make a difference. These taco are fun to make and fun to eat…so it is a win all the way around. So many varieties of fish to choose from, you can make them different (and always delicious) every time.

    1. Author

      It’s hard not to love a good fish taco, isn’t it? Glad you like the recipe, and I’m glad to know the versatility is appreciated!


  2. We love fish tacos! And the wine pickled onions sound delicious! I need to branch out and try some other varieties of fish. We usually stick with the same two or three kinds.

    1. Author

      As much as I love developing new taco recipes, I have to say that I might like working on the toppings even more. I’ve loved red onion pickles for ages now, and white wine just seemed like a great way to riff off of the basic recipe. I’m glad you like the idea too! And as for branching out with your fish, all I can say is YES! So many of us get stuck in a rut with a few kinds of fish and it’s so much easier to branch out than we realize. Sole in particular is wonderfully easy to work with, and delightfully mild.


  3. I love the idea of wine-pickled onions! This brings such a fun twist to these tacos that I’m sure everyone appreciated. I also agree with your first statement, there is room in this world for more than one fish taco, and I for one and happy to sign up to taste test them all. I particularly love the use of serrano chilis in this fish recipe because I am a huge chili fan myself, and think this would be a wonderful choice for any summer dinner!

    1. Author

      Thanks Jenni! Glad you like them. If you happen to see that taco sign-up sheet around, let me know. I’ll sign up right after you. Cheers 🙂


  4. This recipe checks all the boxes for me. I LOVE Mexican food, wine, and serrano peppers, so I’m definitely making this as soon as I can get my hands on some halibut (my favorite fish). And those white wine pickled onions are a complete game changer. I would just eat them as a snack 🙂

    1. Author

      Glad you like it Daniela! And I’m glad to see that the onions are such a hit here in the comment section. Halibut would be an excellent choice (and one I’m thinking about making myself). Enjoy!


  5. Our son and grandson are visiting us while we’re on vacation. We’ve eaten out five times and two out of those times I’ve had fish tacos. I LOVE them. We eat a lot of seafood and that great because Hubby loves to fish. This is a win-win. And our favorite white wine is sauvignon blanc. I haven’t marinated our fish in the wine but I’m really looking forward to trying it out. I haven’t heard of Nobilo wines but I’ll be sure to keep my eye out for it. One thing is for sure – we don’t eat any farm raised fish. The only kind we get is the wild-caught variety or Hubby catches them. I can’t wait to make this recipe. Hubby gets Flounder which is very much like sole. You certainly have given me lots of great info.

    1. Author

      Hey, it’s hard to say no to a fish taco, isn’t it? I mean honestly, it’s hard for me to say no to a taco period, but you get it. As for farmed fish, I would say not to judge all products the same way – there are some fantastically sustainable and delicious farmed fish out there. There are also some farmed fish that I avoid entirely. The methodology used is a huge factor to consider. Look for the ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) logo, or for information about individual species on the Monterey Bay or OceanWise websites.


  6. Preachhhhh! THANK YOU for branching out on the fish taco AND for giving such an incredible wine pairing!! I think tacos and wine are SO underrated! I love Nobilo wines!! Love the addition of the pickled onions too – this dinner has everything I need.

    1. Author

      Fun fact: for a second there I misread that as Perchhhhhh. And hey, perch would be good too. Gotta show some love to the freshwater fish too. Lol.

      Glad you like the combination, and I’m going to have to agree re: tacos and wine. Beer might be the obvious go-to, but a crisp white like this is AMAZING with good tacos. Cheers!


  7. I love Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc! Especially on a hot summer day. I never thought to marinate it in wine though. GENIUS! I’m off to the store to pick up a bottle (or two).

    1. Author

      Oh man, I get it. It’s an EXCELLENT white for a hot summer day. Definitely pick up two bottles – one for the recipe, and one for enjoying the recipe. Haha. Cheers, and thanks for commenting Trish!


  8. Definitely room for another fish taco recipe. I could serve them everyday and not get any complaints. Love the wine suggestion too. Nice pairing. I’m going to make a simple cabbage salad to go with, and I’m not even going to wait for Tuesday to roll around!

    1. Author

      Always room, right? For what its worth, I could EAT them everyday, so we’re good to go. Cabbage salad sounds like an excellent idea (and a timeless classic with fish tacos). Enjoy!


  9. You know I’m a-okay with another fish taco recipe! Sole is a great fish for this. The clean flavor works with pretty much any flavor combo. And! The fillets are meaty enough to stand out amongst other toppings. Thanks for an awesome recipe, Sean! You know your seafood.

    1. Author

      Glad to hear it friend! I’m glad you like my fish choice – sole is so easy to work with, and so tasty. I really think you sum them up nicely. Cheers, and thanks for commenting Dana!


  10. This is a delicious variation on the common fish taco. I want to serve this to our adult friends, delicious and perfect for summer. Great recipe Sean, thanks! (And I adore Nobilo Sauv Blanc😋)


  11. This is such a lovely, simple recipe! I adore the addition of serrano peppers and pickled onions!

  12. Pingback: Instant Pot Coconut Curry Fish Soup | Food Bloggers of Canada


  13. I always look for that MSC stamp!! Good fish makes the whole meal taste better, for sure. And I haven’t tried that brand of wine yet- I’ll look for it!

    1. Author

      I agree! Food can be hard to enjoy when you’re worrying about the impact it’s having on the planet. It’s good not only to be part of the solution, but to promote a system that’s trying to make major changes. I hope you get a chance to find the wine too – it’s lovely, and perfect with seafood!


  14. You are preaching to the choir here! This looks absolutely Ah-Mazing! Love that you’ve pickled the onions with vinegar AND wine — that’s genius. We drink Nobilo on a regular basis in our house consequently, this recipe is definitely happening here! The fish looks perfectly prepared too. I’m salivating.

    1. Author

      Thanks Lisa! I’ve always loved cooking with wine, and given the chemical kinship between wine and vinegar I figured it only natural to try pickling with the stuff. It turned out beautifully, and I’m glad it’s speaking to you too! Hope you enjoy the recipe (and the wine!).


  15. I was just a the grocery store and saw this wine and picked up a couple of bottles so I know exactly what’s going to happen. Your recipe looks light and delicious which is perfect for these horribly hot days.

    1. Author

      NICE! Well you’re in for a treat – both for the wine and the recipe! (Am I allowed to say that about my own recipes? Eh, let’s roll with it, Canadian humility aside). It’s definitely a nice recipe for hot weather, especially given the quick cook time. I hope you have/had fun with it!


  16. Love fish tacos! With those wine pickled onions, it really amps things up and makes it extra special! Perfect for date night or a random Friday night, alike. Just have to save some wine to cheers along with 😉 Happy weekend, Sean!

    1. Author

      Fish tacos for life. It’s tough to get tired of something so tasty and versatile! Glad you like the onions too – they seem to be something of a star so far. The colour and bright, punchy flavour definitely adds that perfect touch to the fish. Cheers!


  17. My husband LOVES fish tacos so I was so pumped to find this recipe! I love the white wine addition!

    1. Author

      That’s great Liz! I’m glad to hear it, and glad you like the white wine. Hope you both enjoy the recipe!

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