Cooking With Maddie Newsletter #46

Blackened Fish Tacos with Avocado Crema

Hi friends! 

This week, I have another summer recipe for you guys — Blackened Fish Tacos with Avocado CremaI thought it was about time I gave you a summer recipe that didn’t require a grill.

In this household, we don’t make a ton of fish— except for salmon, which as you know, we frequently eat with cape cod salads or lathered in spices and thrown on the grill. It’s not that we don’t like fish— we do! Like when I go on a beach vacation, you can bet I’m eating enough fish to give myself mercury poisoning. But there’s just something about making fish at home that’s never sounded all that appealing. That is, until this recipe. 

I was weirdly surprised by just how quickly this dinner came together (less time than an episode of Love Island FYI), and man, oh man, was it delicious. I was initially concerned with the house potentially smelling like blackened cod all night, but with the help of our trusty oven fan— and an open door— it was never an issue.

The flaky fish, blackened to perfection, had us going back for seconds and then thirds. And the avo-crema? I was eating it on its own, it was that good. I wish I could say I feel guilty about eating that many tacos, but come on, they’re tacos— you can’t have just one. That’s ridiculous. That’s like eating one french fry or one chip. Impossible.

These tacos will surely resolve any fears you have about cooking fish at home. It did for us, and now we’re already thinking about when we can make these next.

For the blackened fish, here’s what you’ll need— 

  • 1- 1½ pounds cod or tilapia fillets — we used cod, but you do you

  • 1 teaspoon paprika 

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder 

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon cumin 

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper 

  • ½ teaspoon chili powder 

  • Salt and pepper 

  • Neutral oil like canola or vegetable 

For the avocado crema, the ingredients are— 

  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled 

  • 1 jalapeno, chopped and seeded

  • ½ cup cilantro, stems included 

  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt 

  • Juice of 1 lime 

  • Salt 

For toppings and tortillas, we used—

  • Corn tortillas — as many as tacos you’re serving

  • Cabbage slaw — we tossed ours with cilantro, green onions, lime juice and salt 

  • Queso fresco, crumbled

  • Hot sauce of your choosing — you already know we love Green Belly

Let’s start by making the avocado crema. In a food processor, add the avocado, jalapeno, cilantro, greek yogurt, lime juice and a big pinch of salt. Pulse until well-combined. Set aside. 

For the blackened fish, combine the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, cumin, cayenne powder, chili powder and a big pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Dry the cod or tilapia fillets with a paper towel. Rub each fillet all over with the seasoning so every piece is completely covered. 

In a large pan, heat a few tablespoons of neutral oil over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the seasoned cod or tilapia fillets to the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until the outside is blackened and the fish flakes apart easily. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan. When done, remove the fillets from the pan and let cool on a plate with a paper towel. This will absorb any extra oil.

Warm the corn tortillas in a small skillet, or if you have a gas stove, heat over the open flames to warm and char the edges of the tortilla. 

Top your fish tacos with crumbled queso fresco, cabbage slaw and your choice of hot sauce. We served ours with fajita veggies and black beans.


For what’s been giving me life this week, it was continuing our weekly tradition of cooking from Molly Baz’s Cook This Book for bachelor night. We chowed down on some grilled steaks with her caesar-ish potato salad and the minimalist wedge salad. The meal was WAY more impressive than this season of the Bachelorette. Don’t even get me started on all these soft boyos. If I see one more grown-ass man cry, I’m going to cancel our YouTube TV subscription. Dead ass. BTW, my friend Kate Harrison, who just so happens to love the softies on this season of bach, will be taking over the newsletter next week. She’s an even better cook than I am, and I can’t wait to see what she makes for you all. In the meantime, check her out at k8s_eats

It was enjoying a cool summer night with friends and G-baby in Wash Park. It was stocking UP at the farmer’s market. We got some beautiful tomatoes, sweet corn, fresh sourdough bread and some gorgeous red onions. It was my sis Carley (if you haven’t caught on yet— all of Caitlin’s sisters are my sisters) and her husband Matt visiting us in Denver this weekend. We took them to all our neighborhood spots— Pinwheel Coffee, Avoca, High Lonesome, Recess and Osteria Marco. We also made it to Red Rocks, Golden and Boulder— again, all the favorite spots. We laughed our asses off, drank wine straight from the bottle and braved the heavy rainstorms to get all the fixins for espresso martinis. 

And lastly, it was visiting the kindbody pop-up truck to take a look under the hood at my fertility sitch. If I’ve learned anything from my loved one’s recent experiences, it’s that the more you know and the sooner you know it, the better. Don’t get me wrong— thinking about your fertility is fucking scary, and it can feel irrelevant when you’re not ready to have a family yet— like yours truly. But knowing what’s going on in your body is still better than not knowing and pretending the topic doesn’t exist. If you’re at all curious about your own reproductive health, check out kindbody— or many of the other resources shared by my bff Abbey — resolve.org and FertilityIQ

Wish I was with you, 

Maddie