For many years the beaches on the north coast of Cornwall were patrolled by Australian lifeguards, and one such lifeguard was Rudi, who used to return year after year. Everyone was extremely fond of him — so much so that we filmed a little sequence about a trip he’d made to Ensenada on Mexico’s Baja California coast, where they made fabulous fish tacos. I always thought that one day I’d get to Ensenada and find the tacos there myself.
Takes: 15 mins
12 x 15cm corn tortillas
600g cod fillet
100g plain flour, seasoned with a pinch of salt and ground black paper
1 litre corn or vegetable oil
For the batter
200g plain flour
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
275ml ice-cold beer
For the filling
¼ small white cabbage, finely shredded
1 avocado, stoned, peeled and diced
Pico de gallo salsa
Hot chilli sauce, such as Cholula or Huichol
For the chipotle crema
2 chipotles en adobo
3 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp soured cream
Juice of ½ lime
1 Warm the tortillas in a dry frying pan, in a microwave or in the oven. Get your fillings — shredded cabbage, diced avocado, pico de gallo salsa, and hot chilli sauce — ready. Mix the ingredients for the crema and set aside.
2 To make the batter, sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl. Using a balloon whisk, incorporate the beer until you have a smooth batter. Set aside.
3 Cut the fish into fingers about 1cm thick. Heat the oil in a large pan to 190C, 170C fan, gas 5. Dip a few pieces of fish into the seasoned flour, shake off the excess, then dip them into the batter. Fry for 2–2½ minutes until crisp and golden.
4 Repeat until you’ve cooked all the fish, placing each batch on kitchen paper to soak up excess oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
5 Serve the fish immediately in warm tortillas, with the fillings on the table for guests to help themselves.
Excerpted from Rick Stein: The Road to Mexico (£26, BBC Books)
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