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Maybe it was the sun breaking through June’s marine layer. Maybe it was the half dozen blue ribbon mangos arriving in our fruit-of-month box. Maybe it was the burning craving that hounded me since seeing a sign for fish tacos at Taste of Chicago last weekend.

Kendall gets her first real Taste of Chicago, even though she was born right there in one of those buildings behind her.

A festivalwhere one should dabble in indigenous char dogs and deep dish pizza, or foods from favorite haunts, but not the tangy, spicy, crunchy, drip down your hand bites of fish tacos of the southwest. I figured I could get the best fish tacos right in my own Southern California backyard. And then, with asale on Mahi Mahi at Whole Foods, how could I not whip up fish tacos in my own backyard. Satisfied…and the mango salsa was, to friggin’ die for….

It has taken me eight years to work with mangos. Two years to get up the nerve to buy them and six to learn how to cut them. Here’s where I elaborate for people, well, like me. So, if you are solid in your mango relationship, move down a paragraph or two.

Mangos are like avocados: super soft pulp tucked with in an inedible, clingy peel. Where they differ is the pit. The avocado pit is easy to remove; whack your knife blade into the pit, turn it slightly to loosen, and discard. The mango pit is a pee-yotch; you can’t remove it, so you must cut around it which would be easy if it was round, but the mango pit is like an oval disk, requiring that you slice two side halves and then work around the middle section.

The trick is slicing it while it’s still in its peel and then scooping it out with a spoon or cutting with a knife. For salsa we want small diced pieces, so you just slice hash marks into the pulp and cut away.

Once you get the hang of it and once you remind yourself of the taste of them, mangos will become your friend. When mixed with a simple ingredients, mangos turn into a succulent salsa that’s sweet with heat.


But we’re here to talk about the fish tacos. Borrowing ideas from Bobby Flay -vah Flavor, I marinated mahi mahi with a little spice and lime juice for just 15 minutes, then grilled. Easy.

Having purchased fresh tomato salsa, salsa verde (made green with tomatillos), some freslyh sliced cabbage from the salad bar at Whole Foods – chpeasy (cheap+easy), I had enough options for three variations of grilled fish tacos.


Grilled fish – then cabbage – then a lime cream sauce (see below) – then mango salsa – then a lime wedge for spritzing.

Grilled fish – then cabbage (shredded lettuce for the kids) – then tomato salsa – then lime cream sauce – then fresh cilantro.

The fish, the cabbage/lettuce – then tomatillo sauce – then edible pansies.

I cherish build-your-own meals at the table, but I like the idea of serving these already prepared because they style up easily and look appetizing. Also, little tortillas are like bite-size Snickers bars; next thing you know you’ve eaten 4 or 13. A note about the packaged foods. Read the labels for clean foods and preparations. Simple, recognizable ingredients make for the best foods. Mmmm – Taste of Baja California.

savory fish tacos with fresh mango salsa

preptime 20 minutes serves 3-4

cooktime 10 minutes

grilled fish

1 lb mahi mahi (or other sturdy white fish such as halibut or orange roughy)

1 lime, juiced

1/8 c canola oil

2 T chopped cilantro

1/2 t chipotle chili powder

1/2 t salt

  1. Combine all ingredients except for the fish, for the marinade.
  2. Add the fish into the marinade and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  3. Place on medium heat grill. Cook for 5-8 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish.
  4. Turn fish and cook another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Remove from grill and let rest for a few minutes.

mango salsa

1 ripe mango, diced

1-2 t jalapeno pepper, minced

1/4 c chopped cilantro

2 T lime juice

Combine ingredients and serve.

lime cream sauce

1/4 c fat free sour cream

2 T lime juice

1/2 t sriracha hot sauce or other hot sauce, adjust to taste

1 T milk or cream

Whisk all ingredients together into a smooth, sauce. Taste and adjust to your taste and the consistency you prefer.

tacos + suggested toppings

corn tortillas

shredded cabbage

shredded lettuce

diced tomatoes

pico de gallo

salsa verde

tomato salsa


lime wedges

  1. Warm tortillas in pan.
  2. Assemble
  3. Serve. Eat. Drink with fresh Margaritas

crunchtimewarp (faster version)

  1. Don’t marinate fish.
  2. Omit cream sauce.
  3. Purchase mango salsa.
  4. Get as many ingredients off a grocer salad bar.
  5. Let people assemble at the table.
  6. Serve mango salsa with grilled chicken or leftover fish the next night.

recipe provided by your friends at crunchtimefood.com


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