Rick Martinez’s Tacos Capeados — Baja-style fish tacos – Marin Independent Journal

Rick Martinez’s new cookbook, “Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico” (Clarkson Potter, $35), includes 100 recipes from seven different regions of Mexico. This recipe for Tacos Capeados showcases Baja-stye fish tacos, but with a slightly different batter than we typically see stateside — and two fantastic topping options.

“For crispy fried fish, I use a mixture for the batter that has a 50/50 mix of wheat flour to corn flour or masa harina,” Martinez says in the book. “The corn adds extra flavor but also creates a crispier crust that actually will hold its crunch even when cooled to room temperature.”

Don’t over-spice the batter or make it “pull more than its fair share of the flavor lifting,” he says. “The real artistry of taco-making is in the layering of flavor and texture. Each element contributes to a different sensation in your mouth— hot, cold, soft, crunchy, sweet, savory and spicy.”


Serves 4 to 6


1½ pounds skinless halibut, cod or other white fish fillets, cut crosswise into 16 strips

Morton kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup masa harina gold fine-or medium-grind cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

12 ounces Mexican-style pale lager

½ cup sparkling mineral water, club soda or water

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Vegetable oil, for deep-frying (about 3 quarts)

For serving:

Warm corn tortillas

Salsa de Papaya y Tomatillo Cruda (see below)

Salsa Blanca (see below)

File wedges

Shredded red cabbage


Lightly season the fish with salt and pepper. Transfer to a wire rack set inside a sheet pan. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 1 hour or up to overnight (this air-dries the surface, so the batter will adhere better to the fish).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, masa harina, baking powder, baking soda and 1¼ teaspoons salt. Add the beer, sparkling water and vinegar and whisk just until combined and no lumps remain.

Pour 3 inches of oil into a large heavy pot and clip on a deep-fry thermometer.Heat over medium-high heat until the thermometer registers 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with paper towels.

Working in batches, dip the fish into the batter, allowing any excess batter to drip back into the bowl. Lower the fish carefully into the oil and fry, using flip flops to turn the fish occasionally, until light golden brown and just cooked through, for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the fish to the paper towels to drain.

Serve the pescado capeado with tortillas, both salsas, lime wedges and cabbage.


Make 2 cups


3 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and cut into ¼-inch pieces

¼ firm-ripe papaya, peeled, seeded and cut into ¼-inch pieces

¼ medium white onion, coarsely chopped

3 serrano chiles, stemmed and finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely grated

6 tablespoons fresh lime juice (3 to 4 limes)

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

Morton kosher salt


In a medium bowl, toss the tomatillos, papaya, onion, serranos chiles, garlic, lime juice and mint to combine. Season with salt to taste. Cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to come together. Serve chilled or at room temperature. (Note: The salsa cruda can be made up to 1 day ahead. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)


Makes 1 1/3 cups


1 oil-packed anchovy fillet

¼ teaspoon Morton kosher salt, plus more to taste

“Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico” by Rick Martinez gathers 100 recipes from seven regions. (Photo courtesy of Clarkson Potter/Publishers)

¾ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup crema, crème fraiche or sour cream

¼ cup finely chopped cilantro

2 serrano chiles, stemmed and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely grated

½ teaspoon finely grated lime zest

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice


Place the anchovy on a cutting board and sprinkle with the salt. Using the flat side of a knife, smash it until a paste forms. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl.

Add the mayonnaise, crema, cilantro, chiles serranos, garlic, lime zest and lime juice and whisk to combine. Season with salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (The salsa can be made up to 1 day ahead. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)

— Reprinted with permission from “Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico” by Rick Martínez, copyright© 2022. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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