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Pacific Cod Tacos (Photo © Stephen Peck)

Pacific Cod Tacos

Sustainable Seafood Recipe

This recipe features gently seasoned cod wrapped in corn tortillas with a rich cumin and lime aioli sauce, spicy fresh tomato salsa and crunchy red cabbage. Start the meal with chips and guacamole, or make a double batch of the pico de gallo to serve with chips. For dessert, spoon sour cream mixed with sugar and grated lime zest over fresh strawberries.

U.S.-caught Pacific cod is a Seafood Watch "Best Choice" or "Good Alternative" depending on the method of catch. Avoid imported Pacific cod.

  • (Serves 4)

Marinated Cod
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground achiote* (ground annatto seed)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 1/4-1 1/2 pounds Pacific cod

Cumin-Lime Aioli
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of white pepper or freshly ground black pepper
  • Coarse kosher salt

Pico de Gallo
  • 2 medium-size red tomatoes seeded, diced
  • 1 medium-size yellow tomato, diced
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 jalapeño chile, minced
  • 4 shakes hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)

  • 1/2 small head red cabbage
  • 8-12 corn tortillas
  • Olive oil (for frying)
  • All-purpose flour

For the Marinated Cod
Combine the oil, cilantro, lemon juice, achiote and garlic in a medium bowl. Cut the cod lengthwise into 3 x 3/4- inch strips. Add to the marinade and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours.

For the Aioli

Combine the mayonnaise, oil, garlic, lemon juice, lime juice, cumin, coriander, cayenne and pepper in a medium bowl and mix to blend. Season to taste with salt. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

For the Pico de Gallo

Combine the red and yellow tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, lemon juice, olive oil, jalapeno and hot pepper sauce in a medium bowl. Mix to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut the cabbage half in thirds through the core. Slice very thinly or shred on a v-slicer.

Warm the tortillas in the oven or on top of the stove. To warm in the oven, preheat to 250ºF. Wrap the tortillas in foil and heat in the oven while cooking the cod. To heat on top of the stove, working with one tortilla at a time, place directly on a gas burner or hot, dry skillet and cook until beginning to brown in spots, about 20 seconds on each side. Wrap in foil to keep warm.

Cover the bottom of a heavy large skillet generously with olive oil and warm over medium-high heat. Place some flour on a medium plate. Working in batches, remove the cod from the marinade, turn in the flour to coat, and add to the skillet (do not crowd). Cook the cod until crisp, beginning to flake, and opaque in the center, about 3 minutes on each side. (The fish will start to separate into opaque flakes when it's cooked through.) Transfer to paper towels and drain. If the browned bits in the skillet become dark brown, pour off the oil, wipe out the skillet and add fresh oil. Sprinkle the cooked cod with salt and pepper.

Arrange 2 or 3 warm tortillas on each plate. Spread each with a little aioli and arrange fish strips in the center. Using a slotted spoon, dress with pico de gallo and top with shredded cabbage. Serve immediately.

*Ground achiote, also called ground annatto seed, is a deep red powder that gives the cod a rich, warm color. It can be found in Latin American, Indian and specialty food stores.

Anthony Lamas


Anthony Lamas, Chef/Owner Seviche, Louisville, Kentucky

Best Choice Pacific Cod

Pacific Cod

U.S.-caught Pacific cod is a "Best Choice" when caught by bottom longline, trap or hook-and-line. It’s a "Good Alternative" when caught by trawl. The U.S. Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands freezer longline fishery is certified as sustainable to the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
iPhone Our app brings you up-to-date recommendations for ocean-friendly seafood and sushi. And the newest version, with Project FishMap, lets you share the locations of restaurants and markets where you've found sustainable seafood. As the map grows, you'll also be able to see what others have found near you.

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