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Sep 28, 2006 07:31 PM

Fish tacos for the expecting

Looking for a good recipe for fish tacos that I can make for my wife, who's pregnant. The trouble is, many of the types of fish I've seen recommended for this are in the higher-mercury categories. I know they say pregnant women should just limit, and not completely eliminate, the higher mercury fish from their diets, but I'm perhaps irrationally draconian about this--I feel bad if I serve her anything that's not at the lowest level.

Hence I made fish tacos from a Bobby Flay recipe from the Food Network website las week, but using tilapia rather than what he recommended, and they didn't come out so great. Part of this was that the tilapia wasn't great--I know some people won't even buy it because of the quality problems, but I got a really nice batch last time and so decided to try again, this time with less success.

Other considerations: (1) we live in an apartment, and have no grilling facilities, (2) I have high cholesterol, so a fried-fish approach would be less good for me.

Here's the NRDC's mercury guide, which I've been using.

Any thoughts would be welcome.

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  1. Denis, I love a good fish taco perhaps I can help you satisfy that wahoo craving. I bake the fish and usually use halibut with lime wrapped in the oven til tender and then assembly the taco.

    Ingredients for fish tacos:

    1/4 cup (60mL) fresh lime juice, (juice of 2 limes)reserving 4 thin slices of lime to bake with fish.

    1 Tbsp (15mL) olive oil

    1 Tbsp (7g) cumin powder

    1 Tbsp (7g) chili powder

    1/2 Tbsp (1g) oregano

    1/2 tsp (2g) black pepper, freshly ground

    1 1/2 pounds (170g each) halibut steaks, (four steaks)

    4 flour tortillas, 10-inch (25cm) diameter)

    2 cups (520g) black beans, canned, or made from scratch

    1 cup (110g) reduced fat Monterey Jack cheese, shredded


    In a large zip-lock plastic bag or dish with cover, combine lime juice, oil, cumin, chili powder, oregano and pepper; stir well. Add fish to lime marinade and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

    Prepare oven (325/medium-high heat). Place fish inside foil wrap with slice of lime and cook 8-10 mins until fish flakes easily when treated with a fork.

    While fish is cooking, wrap tortillas in foil and place in oven.

    Place black beans in a microwave-safe dish, cover and heat in the microwave.

    When fish is done, place it in a dish and flake with a fork. Assemble tacos by spooning beans into the center of each tortilla, add flaked halibut and top with cheese and salsa.


    2 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      I have never had halibut steaks, only fillets: can you use fillets instead?

      1. re: AliceS

        No reason why not. You would want to get cuts from the head end rather than the tail end though as the tail end gets pretty thin

    2. For a good, non-traditional style fish taco with tilapia or other mild-flavored whitefish I like to add as much flavor as possible. One of my favorites is to marinate the fish in the sauce (and some pureed chipotle peppers depending on your desired spice level) from a can of chipotle in adobo with a little honey and salt. I usually grill, but baking would be fine. It is best served in grilled corn tortillas with a fruit salsa. I like to use avacado, mango, citrus (be sure to get some lime juice), serrano, cilantro, red onion, salt, pepper and sometimes pineapple, tomato, or whatever else sounds good. Sometimes I go with the more common cabbage and crema as a topping, but I prefer the fruit salsa.

      1. I also marinate the fish in chipotle sauce and peppers. Sometimes instead of cabbage and crema I use lettuce with lemon juice and olive oil. Maybe black beans. No cheese. Yummy and healthy.

        1. Great question, Denis! I'm in exactly the same position, and trying to get my g/f to eat, let alone eat for two, is a challenge!

          Thanks to everyone for the recipes, above,

          - Sean

          1. looking at the NRDC's mercury guide that you are using you would really want to step up to the "moderate mercury" list for the fish options. the fish in the "least mercury" category are generally too small and/or not firm enough. Tilapia generally squeeks by on the firmness factor. Salmon could possibly work, but I would think the flavor would not suit for fish tacos (and quite possibly too oily). Scallops would probably be pretty awesome if you cared to branch over to shellfish.

            In the "moderate category", I would go for Bass (striped over black, because of size) or monkfish, followed by mahi mahi, halibut and cod.

            If you have a good fish market that you go to I would ask your fishmonger for recommendations on stuff they have in store that would be suitable for a pregnant woman. They should be able to give good recommendations and suggest substitutes if the particular fish you are looking for is not available.