Port Eliot 3 - Fish Tacos - Not To Be Confused With "Fishtachios"

The most delicious thing I ate at the Port Eliot Festival was a fish taco from the stall run by the people from the Rum & Crab Shack in St Ives. I also enjoyed their Crab Burger but the taco just pipped it. I don't like saying the words "fish taco" as it always makes me think of that episode of friends where Monica is creating Thanksgiving recipes with "Mockolate", the "completely synthetic chocolate substitute." When it's FDA approval is denied she is asked to work on "Fishtachios" which "taste exactly like pistachios, but they're made primarily of reconstituted fish bits." 


But I got over that and uttered the phrase and I'm glad I did. The taco contained a chilli-spiced mackerel fillet and a generous pile of white crab meat along with a slick of something guacamole-ish, fresh coriander and thinly sliced spring onion. A little messy to eat but in a good way and ridiculously fresh and zingy.

So naturally I stole the idea and tried to recreate it at home. I left out the crab as it’s pricey but would add it back in if I was doing them for company. And, instead of the spring onions, I made some pink pickled ones like you get at Wahaca. (The Cool Chile recipe was helpful here.)

fish taco

Fish Tacos (makes 2)


  • 2 mackerel fillets
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1tsp chilli flakes

For the guacamole

  • ½ avocado
  • Lime wedge
  • pinch salt

Pink Pickled Onions

  • 1 red onion
  • 50mls cider vinegar
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes

To serve

  • 2 tortillas (wheat or corn depending on your preference - I think corn has a bit more flavour)
  • Lime wedges
  • Handful fresh coriander


  1. First make the pink pickles. Thinly slice a red onion into half moons and put them in a small bowl with the vinegar, salt, sugar and chilli flakes. Top up with water until the onion slices are just covered and leave for four hours by which time they should be a charming shade of pink and have a decent amount of heat and bite. Drain and put to one side.
  2. Then put the avocado in a food processor with a generous pinch of salt and a squeeze of lime and whizz it to a smoothish puree.
  3. Warm your tortillas according to packet instructions.
  4. Put a frying pan on a medium high heat and add the oil. Sprinkle the skin side of the mackerel fillets with chilli flakes and salt. Lay them (skin side down) in the pan and cook until most of the fillet has become opaque (about four minutes). Then flip to cook the other side for another couple of minutes.
  5. Spread half the avocado mixture on each tortilla. Lay a mackerel fillet over it. Sprinkle with salt and grind on some pepper. Add half a handful of coarsely chopped coriander leaves to each and a few pickles. Serve with a lime wedge on the side and maybe a green salad for a light lunch.

Ifs And Ands

  • The white crab meat of the original really did make the taco something special. Worth giving it a go if you come across some. 
  • Or try replacing the mackerel with salmon fillet, medium rare tuna steak or even a nice crispy fish finger.
  • Leftover pink pickled onions are great in cheese sandwiches.
  • If you don’t fancy the pink pickles you could go back to the Rum & Cracb Shack’s spring onions. Or a spoonful of those sliced, pickled jalapenos you can get in supermarkets would be nice too.
  • Push the whole thing in a slightly Middle Eastern direction by using babaghanoush instead of avocado and pomegranate seeds in place of the pickles.