These rockfish tacos are made with blackened fish cooked under a broiler, a quick lime yogurt sauce, and an easy homemade mango salsa (using fresh or frozen mango).
Who else loves fish tacos?
I kind of adore them.
Whenever we go out to eat at a new restaurant, I scour the menu looking for fish tacos.
Unfortunately, our restaurant meals have been limited to take-out only this summer, and fish tacos have a pretty short shelf-life. Since my favorite restaurants are about an hour away from home, there’s no way the tacos would survive the trip back.
That means we’ve been making fish tacos at home!
Recently, though, I got my hands on some rockfish.
And guys, rockfish tacos are crazy delicious.
What Does Rockfish Taste Like?
It depends on the type of rockfish.
Black rockfish (also known as black bass) has a pretty mild, mellow flavor.
Other rockfish can have a slightly stronger flavor. When I buy Pacific rockfish at Aldi, it normally has a more distinct flavor.
Both mild (and not-so-mild) varieties of rockfish pair well with bold, loud flavors. Here, we’re pairing rockfish with blackening seasoning and mango salsa.
How to Make the Lime Yogurt Sauce
This is one of the easiest sauces ever.
Simply stir together some plain Greek yogurt, lime zest, and lime juice, and refrigerate it until you’re ready to make the tacos. That’s it.
How to Make Mango Salsa
For this recipe, we’re making a fresh, uncooked mango salsa.
If you can’t find fresh mango, you can also use frozen mango. Just make sure to let the mango thaw before making the salsa.
To make the salsa, simply add diced mango, some fresh mint leaves, and a little lime juice to a food processor. I use this KitchenAid 5-cup food processor.
Roughly chop the salsa ingredients, and refrigerate it until you’re ready to make the tacos.
What If I Can’t Find Mango?
If you can’t find mango, swap it out for equal amounts of pineapple or strawberries.
The salsa will add a both a sweetness and some acidity to the tacos, and will balance out the heavy blackening seasoning. I don’t recommend skipping it.
How to Make the Blackening Seasoning
I tested a few different blackening seasonings before I landed on the one in this recipe.
Here’s the thing. Some blackening seasoning mixtures are delicious, but are really better for outdoor cooking.
As in, they’ll fill your kitchen with cough-inducing smoke. My goal for this seasoning was to provide a lot of flavor and zero coughing.
The blackening seasoning in this recipe is adapted from a seasoning recipe in Tieghan Gerard’s Half Baked Harvest cookbook, and is a mixture of spices, herbs, and a little brown sugar.
To make it, simply mix all the seasoning ingredients together.
If you prefer to swap out a store-bought blackening or Cajun seasoning, or if you already have a seasoning your make and love, you can use that instead. Just know that I have not tested this recipe with store-bought seasoning.
How to Blacken Rockfish for Tacos
Start by placing the rockfish in an oiled, oven-safe pan (or a sheet pan). I use this Lodge 12″ carbon steel skillet.
Generously season the top of the fish with the blackening mixture.
You’ll have some spice mixture left. Save it for next time.
Next, drizzle a little oil over the fish, and use your fingers to rub the oil and seasoning mixture together.
It’s best to use a high-smoke point oil, because we’re broiling the fish. I like Primal Kitchen’s avocado oil.
Slide the fish into the oven, and broil it for about 5 minutes per half-inch thickness.
The fish is ready when it easily flakes apart with a fork.
After cooking, slice or flake apart the rockfish.
Even if you slice it, it’s going to fall apart a little. That’s okay.
Serve these rockfish tacos in warm tortillas, along with the lime yogurt sauce, the mango salsa, and some sliced avocado.
Add your favorite beer or some frozen strawberry rhubarb margaritas, and you’ve got a perfect meal!
Want more rockfish ideas? Try this Moroccan-spiced rockfish with couscous salad from Killing Thyme.
Lime Yogurt Sauce:
- ⅓ cup plain yogurt (whole milk preferred)
- 1 lime, zested + juiced, juice divided Half the lime juice will be used for the mango salsa
- 1 cup diced mango (~½" pieces), fresh or frozen If using frozen, allow mango to thaw before making salsa
- 2 sprigs fresh mint, removed from stem
- 2 tsp light brown sugar (optional)
- 2 tsp paprika or smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 6 oz rockfish
- 2 TB avocado oil, divided Or another high smoke-point oil
- 4 tortillas (corn or flour) Use corn tortillas for gluten-free tacos
- a few drops of oil (for brushing the pan)
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
Extra Toppings (Optional):
- 1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
- hot sauce
- Make the lime yogurt sauce:Mix together the plain yogurt, lime zest, and half the lime juice. (Reserve remaining lime juice for the salsa.) Make the mango salsa:Add mango, mint, and remaining lime juice to the basin of a food processor. Roughly chop.Both the lime yogurt sauce and the mango salsa can be prepared up to 2-3 days ahead of time. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Prepare + Cook Rockfish:
- Mix together all of the blackening seasoning ingredients in a small bowl.Brush an oven-safe pan with half the oil (1 tablespoon). Alternatively, use a sheet pan.Add the rockfish to the pan, and generously season the top of the fish with the blackening spices.Extra Seasoning Note: You will probably use about half the blackening seasoning. Reserve the remaining seasoning for your next batch of tacos.
- Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon oil on the fish, and use your fingers to rub the oil into the seasoning.
- Move an oven rack to about 4" away from the broiler. Preheat broiler to high.Slide the pan into the oven.Cook rockfish for 5 minutes per ½" thickness, or until the fish is tender and easily flakes apart with a fork.Do not flip the fish halfway through cooking.
- While the fish broils, heat the tortillas.Brush a non-stick or cast-iron pan with oil. Heat the pan over medium-high heat, and cook the tortillas one at a time. Heat about 30 seconds on the first side and 15 seconds on the other side, until each side begins to bubble up.Keep tortillas warm by placing on a plate and covering with a towel.When the rockfish is done cooking, slice or flake apart with a fork.
- To assemble the tacos, divide the rockfish, mango salsa, and sliced avocado among the tortillas. Top each taco with a dollop of yogurt sauce. Alternatively, arrange all the ingredients as a taco bar and let everyone build their own tacos.Serve right away while the fish and tortillas are still warm.