Menu for One: Fish Tacos with Orange-Avocado Salsa


Take a well-deserved break from those restaurant tacos and enjoy a simple, seasonal culinary vacation with this delicious recipe for one.

Fish tacos with orange-avocado salsa make a healthy, delicious meal for one.

I was well into my 20s before I realized you could stuff a tortilla with anything other than cow. I guess that’s just an occupational hazard of growing up in the Midwest. Many a night I ripped open a pack of taco seasoning, dumped it into a pan with some ground beef, and went to town on a beefy-cheesy classic. And while my sentiment over the ease-of-preparation has not changed, there has been a change in my culinary sensibilities.

I still like to have fun with my food and what better time of year than the end of summer to play with fresh ingredients and add some personality to a classic dish? Take a well-deserved break from those traditional recipes, and enjoy a simple, seasonal culinary vacation.

My recipe for fish tacos is simple and features that fresh California flavor I love. The ingredient list may seem daunting, but you can find most of the key spices for the blackened seasoning in your pantry. Plus, the salsa and blackened seasoning can be prepped ahead of time, so all that’s left to do after a long day at the beach, is to sear the fish. Add a simply dressed green salad, and you have a healthy, delicious meal that won’t break the bank or the belt buckle.

Blackened Fish Tacos with Orange-Avocado Salsa

(recipe makes two tacos)

Tacos: 1 pound of your favorite fresh fish, cut into approximately 1-inch chunks1 can black beans, strained and rinsed. Taco-sized corn or flour tortillas.

Blackened Seasoning: In a small jar or zip-top plastic bag, thoroughly mix the following ingredients (store excess seasoning in a cool, dry place for future use):

  • 4 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoon paprika (smoked, if available)
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin

Orange-Avocado Salsa

Dice the following ingredients and toss together in a small bowl with a squeeze of fresh lime, and salt and pepper to taste:

  • ½ ripe avocado
  • ½ cup orange
  • 1 Roma tomato, seeded and ribbed
  • ¼ red onion
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, stemmed
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and ribbed (optional)


In a small bowl, add fish and enough blackened seasoning to coat evenly. Carefully place seasoned fish in a non-stick skillet over med-high heat, sautéing evenly on all sides for about four minutes, or until fish begins to flake easily.

Warm tortillas and add the desired amounts of black beans, blackened fish, and mango salsa. Fold into that familiar taco shape, and enjoy!

Michael PoppaMichael Poppa, trained at the elbows of acclaimed restaurant chefs in his native Kansas City. Throughout his international career in food & beverage he directed various restaurants and bars, contributed to a number of publications (such as Singular) and served as the executive chef/culinary director of The American Pavilion at the Cannes International Film Festival. Most recently followed a path to “accidental activism” back in the Midwest, where he now serves as regional chair for the statewide legislative advocacy organization, Equality Kansas. Although Michael is no longer in the kitchen professionally, he can still be caught playing with food. 
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