Easy dinner recipes: Achiote-marinated fish tacos with Chipotle mayonnaise

It's easy to find a great taco in Los Angeles. Just ask our restaurant critic Jonathan Gold. But what if you could make some of the city's best tacos in your own kitchen?

When you're making tacos at home, the sky is the limit. Here's an easy recipe for achiote-marinated fish tacos. Fresh yellowtail fillets are covered in an earthy, peppery achiote paste then grilled. The fish is served in warm corn tortillas topped with crunchy cabbage and a drizzle of Chipotle mayonnaise.


Achiote-marinated fish tacos

Total time: 50 minutes, plus 1 hour marinating time | Serves 4

Achiote paste

4 rounded tablespoons achiote seeds (also called annatto seeds)

1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

12 whole allspice

Mix the spices and grind them in batches in an electric spice or coffee grinder as finely as possible. In a small bowl, stir together the ground spices and enough water to make a stiff paste; we used about 3 tablespoons. You will have more achiote paste than is called for in the recipe. Store it well-wrapped in plastic in the freezer.

Chipotle mayonnaise

1 cup mayonnaise

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons lime juice


1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 chipotle peppers in adobo, roughly chopped

In a food processor or blender, blend the mayonnaise, garlic, oil, lime juice, salt and chipotle peppers. You will have more chipotle mayonnaise than is called for in the recipe. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Fish tacos

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons achiote paste

1 pound yellowtail fillet, skin removed

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 small corn tortillas

1 cup finely shredded cabbage

1 cup chipotle mayonnaise

1 lime, cut into 8 wedges

1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, salt and achiote paste. Put the mixture into a 1-gallon sealable plastic bag with the fish. Refrigerate for an hour.

2. On a cast-iron griddle or in a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Scrape some of the extra achiote paste from the yellowtail, then grill the fish, about 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until done. If the fish is cooking too quickly or unevenly, adjust the heat as necessary. Let the fish rest for a few minutes before slicing it thinly across the grain; if the fish breaks apart, that's fine.

3.Warm the tortillas on a pan over medium heat; place on a platter or individual plates, two per person.

4.Divide the fish among the tortillas and top with shredded cabbage and a teaspoonful of chipotle mayonnaise. Serve immediately, with lime wedges.

Each serving: 433 calories; 31 grams protein; 30 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 22 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 68 mg. cholesterol; 345 mg. sodium.

I'll take the big piece of chicken. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_