In March of 1997, an isolated food stand opened for business out of a house garage in Hermosillo, capital city of the Mexican state of Sonora. Their offerings were seafood tacos, and their name, “El Pescadito” – “The Little Fish”. Twenty three years later, “El Pescadito” has expanded to the neighbouring state of Sinaloa, as well as Estado de México and Mexico City, adding up to 34 restaurants in their chain. They are proud to offer the same menu at each of their locations, as the one shown below, from one of their restaurants in Culiacan, Sinaloa:
The prices are very affordable, between $35 and $50 Mexican pesos, or approximately $1.50 to $2.50 USD. The list may be summarized as battered fish, battered shrimp or stir-fried smoked tuna, used one at a time, or in combinations, as fillings for tacos and quesadillas. Three of the options include stuffed peppers. One of their features is that the taco/quesadilla is prepared and delivered without toppings; there is a separate counter, buffet style, from which customers may add as much and as varied as they prefer from the many toppings and condiments:
Photo above, from left: coleslaw, jalapeño strips and onions, pickled red onions, pico de gallo salsa, lime wedges, sliced onions, and a variety of prepared salsas (red, green, etc.). There is also a shelf at the front of the counter holding all sorts of bottled sauces: mayonnaise, ketchup, hot red, even siracha! In squeezable plastic bottles, they also offer tartar, thousand islands and creamy avocado sauces.
I had a chance to visit that restaurant with my sister and brother in-law last fall; some of the tacos we had are shown below, from left: battered fish taco, smoked tuna taco, and stuffed pepper with tuna taco:
The battered fish looked similar to the Baja Style tacos from my previous post, so for this post, I am focusing on the smoked fish tacos. I asked my sister to send me a couple of photos of the kind of smoked fish they have in Culiacan, as shown below:
These are both yellowfin tuna, hot smoked and fully cooked. I could not find marlin (the original fish used at “El Pescadito” in Hermosillo), or tuna like the ones above, or at the restaurant in Culiacan. I was able to find salmon at my local supermarket:
The tag price was around $8 CAD, or $5.75 USD, and two packages are required for my recipe below, so these tacos are a little pricey, especially compared to “El Pescadito”; however, judged with Canadian standards, it is still not an expensive meal, at about $5 CAD a portion. In the photos below, the unwrapped package (left) and the hot smoked salmon after I broke the fillets into small pieces (right):
I thought it looked very similar to hot smoked marlin and tuna. For my recipe, marlin, tuna, salmon or any other meaty pink-fleshed fish may be used, but make sure it is hot smoked, and fully cooked. From there, most of the work is to prepare the generous and varied condiment and topping counter.
Sonora Style Smoked Fish Tacos –
Tacos de pescado ahumado estilo Sonora
For the filling:
½ lb (250 g) hot-smoked marlin, tuna or salmon (fully cooked); broken into small pieces
½ onion; peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp oil
First, prepare all the toppings and condiments:
2 cups cabbage; separated leaves, washed and shredded
¼ cup wine vinegar
1 cup carrots; washed, peeled and shredded
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper, to taste
Mix cabbage and vinegar in a glass or ceramic bowl; let rest for twenty to thirty minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, mixing to incorporate. Keep refrigerated until serving time.
Pickled Red Onions
½ red onion; peeled and sliced thinly
½ tsp salt
½ cup white wine vinegar
¼ tsp dry oregano; crumbled
Place onions in a glass or ceramic bowl; sprinkle with the salt, mixing to rub onto onions. Add vinegar and oregano; mix, cover, and let rest in the fridge, preferably overnight, but at least for a couple of hours. Reserve until serving time.
Pico de Gallo Salsa
2 cups tomatoes; washed, stem end removed and chopped finely
1 cup onions; peeled and finely chopped
½ cup cilantro; washed and finely chopped
2-3 green peppers, depending on desired hotness, such as serrano or jalapeño; optional
1 tbsp lime juice; preferably freshly squeezed
Salt, to taste
Mix all ingredients thoroughly; cover and keep refrigerated until serving time.
Jalapeños and onions
4 large jalapeño peppers; washed
½ onion; peeled and thinly sliced
1 lime; juice only
Salt, to taste
Photo below, from left to right: Roast jalapeños on the grill, or in a toaster oven; remove skin and stem; slice in half lengthwise; remove seeds and slice into strips:
Mix pepper strips with the rest of the ingredients, reserve until serving time.
Creamy Avocado Sauce
1 avocado (peeled, pit removed)
¼ onion (peeled)
½ cup water
Salt, to taste
Process all the ingredients in the blender until smooth. Cover and reserve until serving time.
One Thousand Islands Sauce: mix equal parts of mayonnaise and ketchup. Reserve until serving time.
Tartar Style Sauce (egg-less): mix ¼ cup mayonnaise, 1 tbsp cucumber relish and 1 tsp yellow mustard. Reserve until serving time.
Bottled sauces (such as ketchup, Cholula, etc.)
Arrange all the above condiments and toppings at the table, or on a counter, “El Pescadito” style:
Warm up tortillas as directed in the package (I used the microwave oven). Wrap in a clean kitchen towel and set aside.
Right before serving, heat up oil in a frying pan over medium heat; add onions and sauté until translucent. Add fish (photo below, left); stir and continue cooking, mixing onions and fish, and breaking up any large pieces of fish, until fish is thoroughly heated through (photo below, right):
To plate: Overlap two warm corn tortillas on each plate, and top with a generous portion of fish:
Each person may add toppings and condiments, to dress their own taco:
The combination of flavours was just amazing; I ate the one taco shown above, and was quite satisfied. This amount of fish was enough for four of these portions.
This recipe is also appropriate if following the Christian cannons regarding abstinence from red meat during the Lenten season.
I am joining Teresa Grab’s Page & Line Challenge #2: “For this challenge, grab the book you’re reading or a random book off your shelf and turn to page 264 (or location if you’re using an ebook). Scroll down to line 8 and write a story using that line somewhere in it. Be sure to share the original line along with the book and author. Have fun!” My book was “La cocina mexicana de Socorro y Fernando Del Paso” (“Socorro and Fernando Del Paso’s Mexican Kitchen” Fondo de Cultura Económica, second edition, 2019; the line ” Se ponen dos o tres chiles verdes dependiendo del …” – “Add 2 or 3 green peppers, depending on …” This direction is included on the ingredient list for my pico de gallo sauce, above.
I am bringing my recipe at Over the Moon #216, graciously hosted by Marilyn @ Marilyn’s Treats and Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn. Special thanks to Marilyn for featuring my Vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce at this party.
I am bringing my recipe to Thursday Favourite Things #431 with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode. Special thanks to Bev for featuring my Baja Style Fish Tacos at this party.