Skillet Fish Tacos: A quick and easy way to turn panfish into a feast

IMG_3351_Original.jpegBy Aaron Hepler 

As in many states, bass and trout fishing win the popularity contest in Pennslyvania. Most of that fishing is catch and release; people either want to protect the resource or they don’t prefer the taste of the fish they are after. I would consider myself a bass fisherman for sure, but every now and then I find that it’s a good idea to leave the bass gear at home so I’m not tempted; I’ll pack gear to only catch a pile of whatever kind of panfish my destination has to offer.

Fish tacos in part are a great way for making your significant other very happy about any fishing adventure. Recently I was so excited to go catch a few hand and a half-sized bluegills, that I forgot to take meat out of my freezer to thaw while I was fishing and my wife was at work. Redemption is all the better when you come up with a cover plan. Skillet fish tacos are the ticket!

These tacos really aren’t the traditional, battered and fried fish tacos. They are fresh, lightly flavored and really hit the spot any time of year. 

Recipe is for 1- 1.5 lbs of fish fillets (my favorite for this recipe are bluegills, perch, crappies)

 

Marinade:

  • 2/3 cups lime juice
  • 4 garlic cloves or equivalent minced garlic
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil

 

Build it yourself toppings: 

  • Hard or soft shells
  • Cabbage slaw mix (just use shredded cabbage and grated carrots if you want to make your own)
  • Sliced avocado
  • Grilled or pan-charred jalapeños
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese or queso
  • Salsa or taco sauce

 

Directions:

  • Place fillets in marinade and mix together
  • Allow fish to soak up a good amount of marinade (about 10-20 min. You won’t want to make it longer as the fish will get mushy)
  • Prep veggies while soaking
  • Preheat to med/high a flat cast iron skillet or griddle pan (don’t allow meat to smoke, turn heat down if it does)
  • Cook the fillets until done (white and flaky should take about 3-4 min per side)
  • Lay the table out and build them yourself
  • Black beans and Spanish rice make awesome sides for these tacos

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The Pennsylvania Chapter of BHA represents a diverse and enthusiastic group of outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen who seek to protect and improve wild places in the Keystone State and beyond.

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