seafood taco contest

midnight sun halibut & crab tacos

crispy rice paper wrapped alaskan halibut with leek and dijon mustard
king crab/ meyer lemon garlic mayonnaise
grilled meyer lemon wheel/ shaved fennel/ fresh dill

Lori Lynn & Pooch “Mrs. Cooper”
Homer, Alaska 1993

Alaska Seafood is holding The 1st Ever Wild Alaska Fish Taco Recipe Contest. And since I am a fan of (1) Alaska, (2) the hosts, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, (3) fish tacos, (4) recipe contests, (5) sustainable fishing practices, and last but not least (6) food trucks – this challenge had my name all over it!

Living in Southern California we periodically venture south of the border, so we’ve been enjoying Baja fish tacos for decades. My original Wild Alaska Fish Taco, however, was to be quite different from its southern cousin. When creating the recipe, my first decision was to determine what ingredients NOT to use:

  • no cabbage
  • no cilantro
  • no white onion
  • no lime
  • no salsa
  • no avocado

The second decision was to choose which Alaska seafood to include – salmon, crab, cod, pollack, halibut, sole, black cod, spot prawns, weathervane scallops, or rockfish? I chose the mighty halibut from the halibut fishing capital of the world and the king of all shellfish – king crab.

The next step was to create a flavor profile with ingredients that complement the halibut and crabmeat:

halibut + dill + leek + dijon + fennel + meyer lemon + king crab + mayonnaise + garlic

The last step was to decide how to incorporate all these fabulous flavors and textures in one glorious tortilla while still being recognizable as distant relative of the famous Baja fish taco. To get a light crispy crust the halibut is wrapped in rice paper then fried. The rice paper wrapper also marries the leek and dijon to the piece of fish. This hot crispy “fish stick” contrasts with the cool sweet crabmeat, the fresh crunchy fennel, and the smokey citrus notes from the grilled meyer lemon. The rich garlicky lemon mayonnaise and bright fresh dill are the finishing touches. Just slice, mix, grill, sauté, and assemble – no special technique required to create the one-of-a-kind halibut & crab taco, a tribute to the land of the midnight sun!

midnight sun halibut & crab taco recipe

Slice Alaskan halibut filet into “fish sticks.”
Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and meyer lemon juice.
Set aside, letting fish come to room temperature.

Remove the meat from one pre-cooked King Crab leg.
Tear the crabmeat into bite sized pieces. Keep crabmeat cool until ready to assemble the taco.

Shave one fennel bulb into very thin slices.

Toss shaved fennel with a very small amount of olive oil and meyer lemon juice.
Add toasted fennel seeds, season with salt.

Sauté one chopped leek in olive oil until tender, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mix 1/2 c. mayonnaise with one minced garlic clove, 2 t. meyer lemon juice,
and the zest from one meyer lemon.

Grill meyer lemon wheels until lightly charred on both sides.
The entire wheel (including the rind) is edible (and delicious).

Soak a rice paper (spring roll wrapper) in warm water for about 10 – 15 seconds, until soft. Place rice paper on a clean dish towel. Shake off any excess moisture from the fish and place it on the wrapper, spread about 1/2 t. dijon mustard on the fish, then top with sautéed leeks.

Fold the ends of the rice paper over the fish, then roll into a bundle.

Fry fish sticks in canola oil over medium high heat until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove to a paper towel, season with salt while hot.

To assemble the tacos: heat white corn tortillas on the grill or on a comal until hot, about 60 seconds. Place some shaved fennel and two meyer lemon wheels on the warm tortilla, top with a fish stick and crabmeat. Dot the fish stick with meyer lemon garlic mayonnaise. Finish with a sprinkle of fresh dill. Serve the extra mayonnaise on the side.

wild alaska fish tacos
bright, fresh, bold, unique
in honor of the land of the midnight sun

Good luck to all the participants in The 1st Ever Wild Alaska Fish Taco Recipe Contest! I’m looking forward to devouring all the creatively inspired original taco recipes in February!

Fans of gourmet fish sticks and Alaska seafood might also enjoy black cod black truffle in crispy rice paper recipe too.

25 thoughts on “seafood taco contest”

  1. Sadly I wasn’t able to contribute to this contest since I am a Canadian but I do love fish tacos and look forward to all of the exciting new recipes. This one is way up there Lori-Lynn.

  2. These look so good. I’ve never had fish tacos. I don’t think there’s anywhere around Pittsburgh that has then and honestly they’ve always seemed a little weird to me. After seeing your though I am thinking that I am mistaken about my previous assumptions concerning fish tacos cause those look amazing!

  3. I’ve never been a fan of fish tacos… until now. The salsa is okay – the onions, no. The cabbage? No. Cilantro with it? No (for my weird personal tastes). Just goes to show that there’s always a way to change one’s mind. Halibut? Yes. Rolled in rice paper and then cooked – oh yes! As always, you have my vote.

  4. Beautiful and creative! When I read your ingredient list- the prohibited one – I though you cannot possibly have a taco without cilantro and lime- the rest, maybe- but no cilantro or lime?? Once I saw your creation and substitutions it all made sense. Looks great!

  5. This recipe has so many of my favorite things- I wish I could have a couple of these for lunch today! I never used to like fish tacos, but I’ve become a big fan lately. I’ve made them at home with mahi mahi, but may have to try this one sometime. thanks for sharing. and great photos, too.

  6. Amazing photography and a very appealing recipe.

    By the way, caught my eye that you referred to traditional southwestern / northern Mexico fare as “southern.” I grew up in FL/GA/VA/KY/TX, and I’d never have thought of cilantro, lime, and avocado as “southern.” But it’s good to shake up ones perspective from time to time. Cheers!

    1. Hi Steve – thanks for your comment! I was referring to the geographic location, as in “south” of Alaska and California, not referring to “southern” cooking or flavors. I wanted the taco to be distinctly different from the ones sold everywhere around here. One of my favorite’s is from Rubio’s. It’s called the Fish Taco Especial – with beer battered fish, cabbage, lime, white sauce, salsa, guacamole, cheese, cilantro and white onion. It rocks…but for the contest, I wanted my entry to be completely different! YAY for tacos!
      Thanks again.

  7. How clever, I loved reading about your thought process to create the perfect taco. And can I just say thank you for showing how to shave fennel – I’m a bit embarrassed to say I’ve been shaving in the wrong direction and wondering why it never turns out nicely!

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