Tequila Marinated Fish & Shrimp Tacos

Happy Cinco de Mayo! As I’ve said before, I love this holiday. Mexican food is the ultimate comfort food, to me, so there’s nothing better than having a great excuse to make Mexican food for a week or two straight (yes, this is exactly what I did). I especially love how versatile tacos are. You can fill them with anything and you can top them with anything – the possibilities are truly endless. Kramer’s birthday is next week, too, and we are considering continuing with our street taco extravaganza and going out for Mexican for his birthday, too (probably to our favorite spot, La Superior). I made these tacos when my parents were visiting last weekend, because even though they live in Scottsdale, they don’t eat Mexican food very often and I wanted to show them how clean and healthy Mexican food can be! I had the perfect reason, too, because I was lucky enough to receive a bottle of Sauza Blue Tequila two weeks ago at an event that I was invited to. The tequila is quite smooth and is made with 100% pure agave, so it’s no surprise at how perfect it is not only to cook with, but to drink! As you can see, I had a great time at the event, especially when I was enjoying a cocktail or two with my friend, Lindsey, of Little Seed, Big Apple. Can you blame me? It’s almost summer!

I had never made fish tacos before, believe it or not, but these were some of the best I’ve had, not to toot my own horn or anything. I used panko crumbs to coat the fish, so that it was slightly crisp without being heavy. The tequila added a fresh, light flavor to the fish, and paired perfectly with the orange and lime juice. I think that the tequila and citrus penetrated the fish just the right amount, too, because the fish was tender, flaky, and delicious. The same goes for the shrimp, which were bursting with a light orange and lime flavor, and sweetened slightly from the agave in the tequila. I especially loved the fish, though, and I really couldn’t get enough! I topped the fish tacos with some of the red cabbage salad that I shared with you yesterday, along with some pico de gallo. I garnished the shrimp with, again, some fresh pico, as well as some mango that I quickly diced up. The best part about these seafood tacos is that because fish cooks so quickly, it only takes about an hour to have a festive Cinco de Mayo meal on your table! There’s no reason not to celebrate this exciting holiday, and with so little time and effort required, I hope that you do!

Tequila Marinated Fish & Shrimp Tacos
This will be all you need to marinate your shrimp and fish!

Tequila Marinated Fish & Shrimp Tacos
If you have enormous shrimp, like I did, you will want to cut them in half so that they actually fit inside the taco.

Tequila Marinated Fish & Shrimp Tacos
Zest and juice your orange and lime (I used lime zest, but I think it was too bitter and have omitted it from the recipe).

Tequila Marinated Fish & Shrimp Tacos
Add your minced jalapeno pepper to the marinade, along with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.

Tequila Marinated Fish & Shrimp Tacos
Place the shrimp in a sealable container or bag, and marinate for about 25-30 minutes. You don’t want them to sit too long, because of the acidic citrus.

Tequila Marinated Fish & Shrimp Tacos
Do the same with the fish marinade, but only let the fish sit for about 10 minutes, again, because of the citrus.

Tequila Marinated Fish & Shrimp Tacos
Get out what you will need to coat the fish.

Tequila Marinated Fish & Shrimp Tacos
Combine the panko crumbs, flour, salt, ancho chili powder, and black pepper.

Tequila Marinated Fish & Shrimp TacosTequila Marinated Fish & Shrimp Tacos
Heat some canola oil up in a large skillet over medium-high heat and remove the fish from the marinade. Toss the fish in the panko mixture and fry on each side for 2 minutes or so, until cooked and lightly golden.

Tequila Marinated Fish & Shrimp Tacos
In another skillet, heat some canola oil over medium-high heat, drain the shrimp from the marinade, and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes, until pink and cooked through.

Tequila Marinated Fish & Shrimp TacosTequila Marinated Fish & Shrimp Tacos

Tequila Marinated Fish & Shrimp Tacos
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
Shrimp Marinade
  • 2 lbs. shrimp, peeled and de-veined, sliced in half if they are too large to fit inside a taco
  • juice of 1 orange
  • zest of ½ an orange
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • ¼ cup tequila
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
Fish Marinade
  • 1.5 lbs. fish (cod, tilapia, catfish, flounder - any flaky fish), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • juice of 1 orange
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons tequila
Cooking the Fish
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
  • 20-25 corn tortillas, warmed
  • lime wedges, for garnish
  • red cabbage salad, for garnish
  • diced mango, for garnish
  • pico de gallo, for garnish
  1. You are going to make two marinades: one for the shrimp and one for the fish. Start by making your shrimp marinade. Combine the orange zest and juice, the lime juice, jalapeño, tequila, and sugar. Place the cleaned and cut up (if necessary) shrimp in a large Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over them. Let them marinate for 20-30 minutes. Don't let them go for any longer, due to the acidity of the citrus.
  2. Now prepare your fish marinade. Cut your fish into bite-sized pieces and place in a Ziploc bag. Combine the orange juice, lime juice, and tequila, then pour it over the fish. Marinate the fish in this for no more than 10 minutes, again, due to the citrus.
  3. When everything is ready to cook, prepare two large skillets: one for the shrimp and one for the fish. Heat each over medium-high heat. In the shrimp pan, add about 2 tablespoons of oil. In the fish pan, add about ¼ cup of oil. Allow them both to heat before adding in the seafood.
  4. To make the breading for the fish, combine the panko, flour, salt, ancho chili powder, and pepper. Whisk to combine and drain the marinade from the fish. Dip the fish in the breading, then add to the hot oil in the pan, frying in batches for 2 minutes or so on each side, until golden and cooked through. Remove the cooked fish from the pan with a slotted spatula and set on another plate, then cover with foil to keep warm.
  5. For the shrimp, drain them from the marinade and cook them in batches over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side, until pink and cooked through. Place them on another plate and cover with foil until ready to serve.
  6. When you are ready to serve, heat your tortillas in the oven or on your burner, fill with the shrimp or fish, and top with your favorite toppings. Happy Cinco de Mayo!


19 Responses

  1. Suong says:

    I absolutely LOVE fish tacos, these look amazing! I love that you used purple cabbage, together with the mango and pico de gallo it looks really pretty!

    • Sydney says:

      @Suong: Thank you! :)

      @Chris: I take them all myself – sometimes it’s hard to remember, but I do my best!

      @Aarthi: I hope that you do!

      @Tina: You must try some! I’m sure you could whip these up in no time. :)

  2. Ok… I seriously need to stop reading your blog before lunch! Hahahah. These look AMAZING! By the way, do you take the pictures yourself or does your husband? I am such a messy and busy chef that I find it hard to stop and take pictures, and when I do, they rarely look as well done as yours.

  3. Aarthi says:

    WOW…I love mexican food a lot…This looks mouthwatering..I am surely gonna try this

  4. Tina From Pa says:

    I will make this real soon! I’ve never had fish tacos before ( can you believe it?) We only have wantabe Mexican restaurants around here , all of our mexican meals are homemade, I’m always looking for new ideas! Thank You soooo much for sharing, I really can not wait to try these! Love the combo of flavors!

  5. Handful says:

    Fish tacos have always sounded gross to me but this looks good. I guess I always had it pictured as a beef taco would be, seasonings and all the toppings. Now I have to try it!

    Question: what does the acid do to the fish? I have only marinated fish twice. Salmon once with honey and soy – yum! Tilapia (or some kind of whitefish) not so yum. Actually was nasty and the texture was mushy and disgusting. It may have had lemon in it. Is this the acid factor you are speaking of?

    • Sydney says:

      Handful: It can just eat away at the fish and destroy the flavor if you let it sit for too long, which is why it was mushy when you used lemon. I’m glad that you think these fish tacos look good!

  6. Handful says:

    Thanks Sydney. And fish tacos are on the menu this week.

  7. allison says:

    hey i found an awesome mexican food restaurant. it’s definitely not a hole in the wall, but they have some amazing stuff. It’s on Bowery & E. 3rd

    hecho en dumbo

  8. Taylor says:

    This was a tasty tasty dish! Loved the flavor the tequila, orange, and lime gave to the fish. It would have been even better if I knew how to pick the perfect mango! The one I grabbed was mostly red like they say to look for, but it lacked any sweetness that a mango should have…any suggestions on how to grab a good one?

  9. Erin says:

    I made this on Sunday with my roommates for family dinner and it was a great success!! Can’t wait to try another recipe for this Sunday

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  11. […] favorite grocery spot, Chelsea Market. We headed over to The Lobster Place, because I was making tequila marinated shrimp and fish tacos. My dad, however, stopped in his tracks when we walked past the vast display of oysters. At first, […]

  12. […] favorite grocery spot, Chelsea Market. We headed over to The Lobster Place, because I was making tequila marinated shrimp and fish tacos. My dad, however, stopped in his tracks when we walked past the vast display of oysters. At first, […]

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