Cooking with Booze: Beer-Battered Baja Fish Tacos

Inebriated……clobbered……blitzed……hammered……obliterated……tanked……soused……ripped…..oh, sorry. I was just looking at some pictures of past dinner parties that I’ve hosted. And I’ve made a shocking realization—my friends can’t hold their liquor!

I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to figure that out, considering that on two separate occasions my mailbox ended up on the hood of someone’s car shortly after the conclusion of my party. Or the time that one of my friends unwillingly used the sprinklers on my lawn as his alarm clock. (He still made it to work on time. Air traffic controllers start pretty early around here.)

Could it be that I’ve missed the warning signs in the past? I thought those Christmas card mug shots were pretty funny. And if the guy on the corner doesn’t like people driving across his lawn, he ought to put up a fence! Could it be that we’re just getting older, slowing down, becoming (dare I say it?)….responsible?

Now that most of my friends and I are in our mid to upper fifties, I guess that a little easing up should be expected. Some of us are on our second or third spouse, hip, shoulder or knee. Could that piece of charcoal that passes as our liver be next? Does alcohol compliment food, or the other way around? What was I talking about……?

Oh yeah, booze……hooch……giggle juice……rotgut……moonshine……grog……sauce…..god, my mouth is watering. Man, I need a drink. And some food. Oh yeah, food! THAT’S what this piece is supposed to be about. Food that soaks up booze. Fried food, like fish, which I hear is good for your brain, although I can’t remember who told me that. Fish tacos are not only fried, but they’re even MADE with booze. So here’s a recipe that covers all the bases and still gives you a good dose of omega-3s, which the brain cells that aren’t slaughtered by the alcohol will be very happy to receive.

Katt’s Baja Brain Boosters


Beer Batter:
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 bottles of  dark Mexican beer (I like Dos Equis Amber)

1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
Sriracha sauce to taste

Fish Tacos:

Canola oil
2 pounds of halibut or cod (or even shrimp!) cut into ½ inch strips
Flour or corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cabbage
½ chopped red onion
Cilantro for garnish
Quartered limes

Whisk the flour and the other dry ingredients together in a large bowl and gradually add the beer. Set the bowl aside for about 15 minutes before you use it. Mix up the sauce and add the sriracha in teaspoon amounts until you get it to your individual heat index. Most people like it when the sauce turns a light pink.

In a large skillet over medium heat add enough oil so that you have about an inch in the pan. I know that the oil is ready when I flick some flour into it and it sizzles. Dredge the fish pieces in the batter and fry in the oil until its golden (about 5 minutes). Transfer the fish to a plate lined with paper towels and then repeat. I like to build my tacos by placing the battered fish inside a tortilla, slather it with the sauce, heap on the cabbage and onions, sprinkle on some cilantro and then squeeze a lime all over the top. Then, eat, drink and repeat! And try to remember not to overdo it.

Hey, where’d my mailbox go?

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