Carlsbad: Great Friends & Fish Tacos (photography by Kristina Chartier)

I just returned from a 3 week adventure, where I visited Austin, Phoenix, Yuma and San Diego.  One common theme throughout my travels was my undeniable craving for Mexican food.  From the queso at Polvo’s in Austin, Texas to the machaca burritos at Mr. G’s in Yuma, Arizona I never grew bored with the mouth-watering flavors of Mexico.  My cravings were so strong that I didn’t dare leave the area without spending a small fortune to ship myself a rather large package filled with my favorite eats.

During my travels I stayed with Kristina and Christophe Chartier in Carlsbad, California.  Kristina is a beautiful woman and a true artist!  I have known Kristina for several years.  I am still in awe how she was able to capture every precious moment my husband and I shared on our wedding day.  You can find her beautiful work at Kristina Chartier Photography.  I was fortunate to have Kristina do a photo shoot of me at a lagoon in Carlsbad and document my time in her kitchen.

My love for cooking was another common theme throughout my travels and the desire to share this love with friends close to my heart.  A few days before arriving at the Chartier’s home, I got a hankering for fish tacos.  Once I found out it was one of Christophe’s favorite dishes I started envisioning the menu and this is what I came up with.

Fish Tacos with Slaw, Pico de Gallo, Avocado & Goat Cheese
Serves: 4

6 red snapper fillets, cleaned and bones removed
1 organic fish taco seasoning packet
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
canola oil for sauteing

bag of slaw with dressing packet inside

2 tomatoes, small dice
1/2 yellow onion, small dice
1 jalapeno, small dice
1/2 lime
1 T cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

1 avocado
1/2 lime
salt & pepper
goat cheese crumbles

  1. Place goat cheese crumbles in small bowl and set aside.
  2. Remove seed from avocado and slice.
  3. Squeeze juice from 1/2 a lime onto the avocado slices.
  4. Season avocado slices with salt & pepper and set aside.
  5. Small dice tomatoes and place in clean bowl.
  6. Small dice yellow onion and place in same bowl.
  7. Small dice jalapeno and place in same bowl.
  8. Squeeze juice from 1/2 a lime over mixture.
  9. Finely chop cilantro and place in same bowl.
  10. Season with garlic powder, salt & pepper, mix and set aside.
  11. Mix slaw with enclosed dressing packet and keep in refrigerator until time to serve.
  12. Cut fillets into strips.
  13. Using a plate, pour bread crumbs and panko bread crumbs onto plate.
  14. Sprinkle 1/2 of the fish taco seasoning packet over bread crumbs and fish strips.
  15. Dredge the fish strips in the bread crumbs, lightly coating both sides.
  16. Add a small amount of canola oil to saute pan and heat over medium to high heat.
  17. When oil is hot enough (oil displays ripples and sizzles when a strip is added to pan) work in batches and start sauteing fish.
  18. Approximately 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through.
  19. Remove strips from pan and place on paper towel.
  20. Repeat steps 17 – 19 until all fish is cooked.
  21. Place fish in oven set to warm until ready to serve.

Serve with warm flour or corn tortillas and layer your taco with fish, slaw, pico de gallo, avocado slices and goat cheese crumbles.

Cooking Notes:

  • You can substitute red snapper with mahi mahi or another sturdy fish.  A fish that when cut into strips won’t crumble during the cooking process.
  • If you enjoy mild food, finely chop 1/2 jalapeno or remove seeds when following the pico de gallo portion of this recipe.
  • You can substitute goat cheese crumbles with cheese of your choice.
  • For more instructional information on sauteing, visit this article.

Chili Lime Corn
Serves: 4

4 ears of yellow corn on the cob
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 lime
chili powder
salt & pepper

  1. Using a stock pot, fill pot 3/4 full with water and bring to boil.
  2. Add milk, sugar and ears of corn.
  3. Cook until corn is tender, approximately 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. Remove ears of corn and place on clean plate.
  5. Take juice from 1 lime and evenly coat all 4 ears.
  6. Season with chili powder, salt and pepper.

Cooking Notes:

  • You can cook the corn as little or as long as you like, cook until desired tenderness.
  • Adding milk and sugar to the boiling water, brings out the sweetness in the corn.
  • I skipped the butter in this recipe because the lime and chili powder offer such a kick I don’t think you will miss it. (Sorry, Paula Deen)

Spanish Rice
Serves: 4

2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, medium dice
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 cup instant 5 minute white rice
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

  1. Using a deep fry pan with sides, add extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, salt and pepper.
  3. Continue to stir until onion is translucent.
  4. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.
  5. Add rice and saute until golden brown.
  6. Add can of tomatoes.
  7. Fill can with chicken broth and add.
  8. Cover and reduce heat slightly.
  9. Cook until broth is absorbed and rice is cooked thoroughly.  Approximately 5 – 10 minutes.

Cooking Notes:

  • It is imperative that you use instant rice.  I have tried several times to use long boil rice and every time it turns into mush.
  • You may need to add chicken broth if you find you need additional cooking time. 

Enjoy! From a friend’s kitchen to yours.

Bookmark and Share

Subscribe to Z is for zest and have recipes delivered to your inbox.

Kristina Chartier Photography

Heather & Kristina

Christophe & Elina

Pico de Gallo (Kristina Chartier Photography)

Spanish Rice (Kristina Chartier Photography)


Seasoning Fish Fillets (Kristina Chartier Photography)

Full Moon (Kristina Chartier Photography)