Many times when GW & I go out to eat and he finds a new dish he really likes, he will say ~ I know you can make this. I think it’s half challenge, half encouragement and definitely always in his favor as he is the ultimate taste tester. It’s a win/win for the GW. We were in Columbus at a Wine Bistro after ordering and enjoying their Gourmet Popcorn when he looked up at me and said ~ oh yeah, this is another one you have to make. I will share that one later.
My Blackened Tilapia Soft Taco with Avocado Cilantro Dressing is one that he calls menu worthy. I did my research and then tweaked things here and there until it is the way that I (ultimately GW) likes how it turns out.
Instead of throwing away used jars like pickle or jalapeño, I keep them to be used for spice concoctions that I create and label them (with a sharpie on the glass – nothing fancy) to cut down on prep time for future uses.
I use frozen Tilapia that are individually packaged giving me the ability to choose how little or how much I make. This past weekend, it was just GW and I at home and I thawed four filets in the sink with lukewarm – never hot – water. Having the frozen Tilapia on hand is great for those quick meals. The four filets were more than enough for the both of us which left plenty of leftovers for his lunch the next day.
My Mom bought myself and my sister-in-love each Air Fryers for Christmas last year and we love sharing new creations and the Air Fryer is perfect for this fish.
- Frozen Tilapia
- Olive Oil
- Blackened Seasoning (see below)
- Shredded Coleslaw (I use the fine)
- Avocado, chopped (You will need 2 Avocados total for this recipe)
Avocado Cilantro Dressing
- 1/4 Cup Sour Cream
- 1 Clove of Garlic, peeled and the tough end cut off discarding that piece then slice
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice (one small lime)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt or Coarse Sea Salt, whichever you have on hand
- 1/4 Cup Cilantro, roughly chopped (I do not use the stems by picking the leaves off)
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Avocado, diced
- 1/3 Cup Water
If you have a Nutribullet, Magic Bullet or equivalent, I use a cheap one from Walmart (click here for the one I use) layer the above ingredients in the cup starting with the sour cream and ending with the water. Add more water for your desired consistency. I make mine slightly thick so it doesn’t run off the tacos. If you want to use it for dressing on salads then you will definitely want the consistency to be thinner. I store what we don’t use in an airtight container in the fridge for a week.
I am giving you the single use version. To make enough to keep for future use, all I do is take the below ingredients and layer them in order several times in the jar then shake to blend and mix. I always shake the jar to re-blend with each use and to break up any settling in the jar from sitting.
- 3 Tablespoons Paprika
- 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Old Bay
- 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Oregano
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Cooking & Assembly:
I’m sharing the way I have found easiest and most efficient for me in the preparation and assembly of these soft tacos. I use super soft flour tortillas for shells. I found the cute taco tray at HomeGoods which inspired me to develop this recipe so I could use it and often. Funny the things that will inspire you.
I put out 3 large dinner plates. One with a couple of paper towels on top. One with a slight layer of Olive Oil. One for the seasoning process. Taking one filet from the sink at a time, carefully cut open the bag and removed the filet placing it on the paper towels patting dry.
Take one filet at a time and move to the second plate with the thin layer of Olive Oil coating both sides. Move to the third plate taking 1 Tablespoon of the Blackened Seasoning and coating one side, flip and repeat with another Tablespoon of seasoning. Place in Air Fryer basket.
My Air Fryer has a fish setting. While seasoning the fish, I preheat the Air Fryer for a bit prior to placing the seasoned fish in the basket for consistent cooking during the first batch. My basket will hold two filets at a time. I place them where they don’t overlap one another. Halfway through the cooking cycle in the Air Fryer, I gently turn the fish one time. Once cooked, I take it out of the basket and place in a bowl and gently mash it with the spatula.
Now you are ready for assembly and consumption. In each tortilla shell, place desired amount of blackened fish, coleslaw, chopped avocado finishing off with the Avocado Cilantro Dressing.
My goal in writing this in the manner in which I have is to take the guesswork out of your process. It’s taken me a few times to perfect it for my kitchen. Once you make this a few times and have the Blackened Seasoning pre-made, it will become much easier for you as well.
I enjoyed my usual Pinot Grigio and GW had my Dad’s favorite Crown & 7.
XOXO ~ PGWW