Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw and Spicy Mayo

A couple of years ago, at our local watering hole, a new chef, Shiobahn Allgood, took over the kitchen and provided an excellent menu featuring the flavors of Baja, Mexico. My favorite dish that she made was her Baja Fish Tacos, 2-3 strips of lightly fried fish, a cabbage slaw with a spicy chipotle mayo sauce all piled into a small soft white tortilla. I don't think I had ever had a fish taco until I tried these. I had seen fish tacos on menus and heard of people liking them but never knew what all the fuss was about until I partook in this fresh and flavorful dish. The chef that I will always remember for her amazingly tasty and spicy fish tacos left our local watering hole to participate in the reality show, "Hell's Kitchen". Season 7 premieres tomorrow, Tuesday, June 1, at 8/7 Central on Fox, and I can't wait to cheer on this talented chef, who introduced me to delicious Baja cuisine.

Since her departure, I have tried my hand at my own fish taco recipe, which with I have been very satisfied. If you are looking for a healthful meal that is still tons of fun to eat and enjoy with friends and family, then look no further than fish tacos!

Lizzy M.'s Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw and Spicy Mayo

Cod, Mahi Mahi or Halibut, 3-4 oz. per person (Choose any sturdy white fish that you like or that is on sale when you visit your fish counter.)
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup Flour
1 tbsp smoked Paprika
Juice of one lime
Flour tortillas (Whole wheat or whatever kind of soft tortilla you like is fine.)

Cabbage Slaw

3 cups green cabbage, sliced thin
Small red onion, sliced thin
1 green onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
Zest of lime (Use the zest of this lime and then use the lime juice for the fish.)
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Spicy Sour Cream Mayo

1/2 cup light sour cream or light plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup light mayo
1 tsp Chinese chili sauce
Splash of Worstershire sauce
Splash of rice wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
Sea salt


1. Prepare slaw. Add sliced cabbage, red onion, green onion, cilantro, vinegar, lime zest, salt and pepper. Mix well and cover. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Can also make the slaw the day before.

2. Prepare spicy sour cream mayo. Mix sour cream, mayo, chili sauce, worcestershire sauce, vinegar, smoked paprika and a dash of salt to taste. Mix well. Add more chili sauce and smoked paprika if you like it super spicy. If it is too spicy for you, then add more sour cream to bring down the heat. Store covered in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

3. Prepare the fish immediately before eating. Start by drizzling the fish with extra virgin olive oil and the juice of a lime. Season the fish with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Next, mix the flour, panko bread crumbs and smoked paprika on a dish. Dredge the seasoned fish in the breading mixture for a light coating on the fish.

4. In large heated
pan, drizzle extra virgin olive oil. Once heated through, add the breaded fish to the pan and cook on each side for about 3 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending upon the thickness and sturdiness of the fish. 3 minutes on each side is more for a thinner cod than a thick halibut. Use your best judgment and don't overcook the fish!

5. Serve by placing a flour tortilla on a plate and spreading the tortilla with the spicy sour cream mayo mixture. Break up the fish into large chunks and place in the tortilla with a pile of cabbage slaw on top. Serve with extra spicy sour cream and enjoy!

I hope you will try this recipe inspired by the former chef from our local Philadelphia spot. To see her in action and more of her Baja cooking style, check out Shiobahn Allgood tomorrow night (Tuesday, June 1st) on the premiere of Hell's Kitchen, Season 7 at 8/7 Central on Fox.


Paesano's: Home of the Modern Hoagie

In the middle of an unassuming block of West Girard Avenue on the border of the Northern Liberties and Fishtown sections of Philadelphia, you will find a quaint town home with a red awning, which is actually the best new hoagie shop around, Paesano's. After a lovely stroll through the farmer's market at the Piazza at Schmitz, a newer condominium community that surrounds a giant open square, friends of my husband I brought us a few blocks over to partake in what they said was their "new favorite hoagie in Philadelphia". After that bold statement, we were more than intrigued.

As we approached this clean
little sandwich shop with outdoor seating and a line to get to the counter, I knew this was going to be good. Paesano's menu is written in chalk on a board above the counter, which we studied for a bit before deciding on the "Daddy Wad-an Italian hoagie with sharp provolone, arugula, tomato, onions, and sweet and hot peppers". High-quality, thick slices of ham, salami, mortadella and sharp provolone provide the perfect mixture of spiciness, nuttiness, and saltiness. The heaviness of the Italian meats and cheese is cut with the peppery bite of arugula, sweet tomato slices, and tangy sweet and hot peppers all piled into a soft-on-the-inside but crispy-on-the-outside sesame-seeded hoagie roll.

With the fresh creativity of thi
s sandwich menu, I know I will return to try some more of Paesano's hoagie creations. The "Daddy Wad" is just the beginning as the menu brings meaty items like the "Paesano-beef brisket, provolone, roasted tomato and horseradish mayo with a fried egg", or the "Arista-whole roasted suckling pig, broccoli rabe, Italian longhots, Jus, and provolone cheese". With a new spin a hot dog that will have you spinning, try the "Tuscan Tony-all beef dog with sopressata, bolognese (meat sauce), provolone and Italian longhots". There is no shortage of variety at Paesano's with items like the "Diavlo-spicy chicken with salami, roasted tomato, provolone and broccoli rabe", the "Gustaio-roasted lamb sausage with sun-dried cherry, mustarda, Gorgonzola and fennel", or the "Zawzeech-sweet Italian sausage, caramelized peppers and onions, and sharp provolone".

For something on the lighter side, go
for the "Tuna Italiano-tuna salad with hard-cooked egg, green olives and roasted tomato". Vegetarian items include the "Panelle-Sicilian chic pea pancake with roasted tomato, fennel and Godzuki sauce (sour cream, lemon, garlic, rosemary and hot sauce)" or the "Giardina-roasted eggplant with fennel, peppers, fresh mozzarella and basil pesto". After checking out this menu thoroughly, I am ready to head back and order a Panelle today! The chefs and owners of Paesano's also own the lovely BYOB across the street called Modo Mio, another must-try restaurant in the Philadelphia area offering a unique yet authentic Italian menu. Head to the edge of Northern Liberties and Fishtown for a modern twist on the classic hoagie.


152 West Girard Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19123




Guacamole and Pico de Gallo

Last Wednesday sneaked up on me, and I almost forgot the importance of it until my husband mentioned something about saving the avocados for Wednesday. Of course, it would be Cinco de Mayo, one of those holidays that I gladly embrace in order to partake in the delicious cuisine and libations from the beautiful country of Mexico. All dinner and meal plans for the week were altered to accommodate a Mexican feast on Wednesday. Being just my husband and I, I didn't go too crazy but certainly managed to whip up some fresh guacamole and pico de gallo. For our entree, we decided on lime and cilantro-marinated grilled chicken fajitas and chili-cumin grilled corn.

My favorite component to this meal is by far the guacamole. Nothing satisfies on a warm evening sitting outdoors sipping on a Corona more than the indulgence of the creamy, tangy goodness of homemade guacamole. When it comes making guacamole, keep it simple and keep it fresh. The same goes for the pico de gallo. Sure you can buy those jarred salsas and save plenty of time but it does not do the trick like pico de gallo, which is more of a condiment made from tomatoes, onions, spices and lemon or lime. Nothing captures the freshness of the produce of the spring and summer seasons than a bowl full of freshly-made pico de gallo. You can make these snacks for your friends and family in no time. Be sure to make enough because from my experience these snacks go quickly.

Lizzy M.s' Guacamole

2-3 avocados (Use one avocado fo
r two people but for a more generous serving use one avocado per person.)
Sea salt
Juice of half of a lime

1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp red onion, minced
1 Roma tomato or small tomato, chopped


1. Chop the cilantro, onion and tomato; and add to a mixing bowl.

2. To open the avocado, slice carefully down the middle of the avocado until you hit the core. Slice around the core until the avocado opens into two halves. The core usually falls out easily. If it is hard to get out, then use a knife to poke the core, and carefully pull the core out away from you. Next, with a spoon scoop out the avocado from each half into the bowl.

3. Add lime juice and salt, and begin to crush the avocado into the other ingredients until you reach a dip like consistency.

4. Serve and eat immediately with tortilla chips. Avocados can brown quickly. The use of lime juice can slow down the browning slightly, but you still want to prepare this snack just before eating.

Lizzy M.'s Pico de Gallo

4-5 Roma tomato
es, chopped (Use whatever tomato you have but the small Roma tomatoes work perfectly. Judge how many tomatoes to use depending upon the size of the tomatoes and how many people you are serving.)
1 small red onio
n, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced (Remove the seeds and ribs of the pepper.)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 garlic clove, minced or grated
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp lime zest
1 tsp lemon zest
Juice of one lime
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar


1. First chop the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and pepper. Add to a bowl. Also, use a hand grater to grate the garlic directly into the bowl.

2. Next, add the salt, black pepper, lime and lemon zest, lime juice, and vinegar. Stir well.

3. Let the pico de gallo sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes to an hour for the flavors to marry.

4. Taste the pico de gallo at this point. Add more salt or lime if needed. Serve with guacamole and tortilla chips.

Guacamole and pico de gallo are always a crowd-pleaser. Invite your friends and family over to enjoy an outdoor happy hour complete with Mexican beer like Corona or Sol and Margaritas! Happy belated Cinco de Mayo!

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