Geoffrey Zakarian makes his Grilled Fish Tacos with Papaya Slaw, as seen on The Kitchen, Season 31.
Recipe courtesy of Geoffrey Zakarian

Fish Tacos with Papaya Slaw

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 10 hr 5 min (includes pickling time)
  • Active: 1 hr 5 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
I love fish tacos, and they’re a perfect way to add something on the lighter side to your game day menu. This recipe is light and bright, as tacos should be, and the toppings don’t overpower the flavor and texture of the fish. Snapper is a perfect fish for tacos because it’s easy to get and easy to work with. The snapper sears up beautifully in a skillet or griddle. The blend of fresh cabbage, papaya, and daikon radish (a large white radish popular in Asian cuisine) in the slaw delivers so much texture and bright, clean flavor. Top the fish and slaw with some creamy avocado, tangy pickled onions and a spicy crema, and you have yourself the perfect taco!





To Serve:

Pickled Red Onions:


  1. For the slaw: Peel the papaya, then slice in half and remove the seeds. Shred into 2 cups of matchsticks and put in a large bowl (see Cook's Note). Add the cabbage and daikon and toss to mix. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, mix the chile, garlic, lime juice and zest, fish sauce, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon water and salt to taste. Pour the dressing over the slaw and slightly massage to coat. Set aside.
  2. For the fish: In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, salt, coriander, cumin, paprika and garlic powder. Evenly sprinkle the seasoning mixture over both sides of the fish. Heat a griddle pan over medium heat. Oil the griddle, and cook one side, about 3 minutes. Flip the fish over and remove the griddle from the heat. Allow the fish to finish cooking from the residual heat until it flakes easily, another 3 minutes. Transfer the fish to a plate, then season with more salt and break into large pieces.
  3. Make the crema: Whisk the crema, chipotle and adobo and hot sauce together. Set aside.
  4. To serve: Top each tortilla with avocado, fish, Pickled Onions, papaya slaw, crema, cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

Pickled Red Onions:

Yield: Makes 3 cups
  1. Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, pickling spice and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the onions to the pan and stir to combine. Bring back to a simmer, then turn off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a resealable container and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 weeks.

Cook’s Note

If you have a mandoline slicer, use the julienne blade attachment to cut the papaya and daikon.