Hands down, the best fish taco sauce you’ll ever try, and so easy to make at home with your favorite herbs and spices.
Years and years ago, I came across a recipe for San Diego fish tacos and fish taco sauce. It was good. They sure have a way with fish tacos, those San Diegoans. But, I lost the recipe and have forgotten how to authentically prepare the fish.
Doesn’t matter. It’s hard to screw up a fish taco too badly. The sauce included in the recipe, however, burned a little hole in my brain.
OMG, it’s just soo, soooo good. Forget salsa. Forget sour cream. Forget tartar sauce. You’ll never want anything on your fish tacos except this white sauce, ever again.
I suspect my fading memory and stubborn inability to leave well enough alone has inserted itself on the original recipe. But that’s the beauty of a spice-heavy concoction: You can tweak to your own tastes. So, don’t worry if you’re missing an ingredient from the list, and you’re in the middle of a fish taco craving emergency. It will all be a-okay!
What makes this fish taco sauce so tasty? It’s the unique combination of herbs and spices, including cumin, coriander, smoky chipotle chili powder, dill, and oregano. Plus the perfect hit of heat: not enough to say, whoooaa, tongue and throat on fire! But just enough to be all like, hello, you’re alive, and it’s great to be eating tacos!
And the secret ingredient: capers. Capers have a unique — some would say strange — flavor that’s a cross between bitter and briny. But when you combine it with other assertive flavors, like the spice blend above, it somehow turbo-charges everything else, while hanging out quietly in the background. Use non-pareil capers if you can find them (they’re smaller with a more delicate flavor), and minced them well with a knife, or smash them with a fork.
And then there’s my all-around favorite flavor combo. Lime and cilantro (above) are so natural together, it would not have surprised me one bit to find them growing on the same plant, had I not grown cilantro myself without producing a single lime (I knew better, of course, but was still unreasonably disappointed). There’s plenty of both of these summery flavors in my fish taco sauce!
If you want to create a fantastic rice dish to go with your Mexican-themed dinner, just add butter or coconut oil to the finished rice, and stir. Squeeze a lime into the rice, and stir. Sprinkle a dusting of ground coriander over the rice, stir. And finish it off with a generous helping of fresh, chopped cilantro. (Yeah, stir).
Oh, and use the cilantro rice on your fish tacos with a big dollop of wickedly good fish taco sauce right on top. 😉
Coriander, by the way, is the seed produced by the cilantro plant. Redundant, both sharing a spot in the same fish taco sauce recipe? No, sirreee. Ground coriander tastes nothing like its leafy parent. Gently aromatic and somehow citrusy, it adds a bright flavor to mexican dishes, and is an especially delicious companion to cumin.
So, for you unlucky ducks where cilantro leaves tastes like soap, do not fear the ground coriander!
So, how do you make white sauce for fish tacos? With a whisk, my dears! If you haven’t already, view the video below, and you’ll see that this super delicious sauce is just minutes in the making. So, try this uniquely spiced sauce for your fish tacos – I think you’ll love it!
Making a big batch and need some ideas to use up the leftovers? It’s a fantastic chip dip (Fritos are my favorite!) Or, try it with these recipes:
- 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream (Greek yogurt is delicious as a substitute if you're not a fan of sour cream)
- 1/2 cup reduced fat mayonnaise (you can use full fat, but, the spices are so delicious, you won't miss that particular flavor contribution)
- 1 lime, cut in half
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon capers, minced
- 1 hot pepper of your choice, seeded and minced (jalapeno is delicious, as are the cherry bomb poppers I used in this batch).
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
- In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream and mayonnaise until well blended.
- Squeeze the juice from one lime half into the fish taco sauce mixture, then whisk thoroughly. You'll want the consistency of a pourable, creamy salad dressing. If still too thick, add more lime juice from the other half. If too runny, add sour cream.
- Add all of the spices, whisking to mix thoroughly. Add the capers, minced pepper and cilantro, and whisk thoroughly.
- Cover the bowl with wrap and refrigerate the fish taco for at least one hour — the longer the better.
- Serve chilled. Spoon white sauce over fish tacos, or add into taco salads or rice bowls.
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