Paleo Fish Tacos with Pineapple Cilantro Salsa

I’ve been trying to eat more fish at home.  I order fish often when dining out but just don’t find myself cooking it very often.  Not sure why I am reluctant as it always turns out to be surprisingly easy, and this Paleo Fish Tacos recipe from NomNomPaleo, recently published in Sunset magazine, is no exception.

I love the combination of tender fish, pickled onions, pineapple salsa and avocado.  These tacos tasted wonderfully fresh and while they were messy with the juice all over my hands, the nice thing about eating at home is you don’t care about it.  You simply wash your hands when you are done!

This is a perfect summer dinner, you just need a little bit of prep time as the fish and the onions need to chill for at least 30 minutes, but its well worth the wait. You can make the pickled onions up to a week ahead, the salsa up to 4 days ahead and the fish up to 3 hours ahead.

I forgot to buy cilantro so made the salsa without and it was just fine.  The salsa was more like a sauce than a salsa since it was pureed in the blender, so the flavors melded really well.

I bought a white sea bass filet and cooked the whole piece without slicing it in a super hot cast iron skillet with a tablespoon of coconut ghee instead of olive oil.  I started off skin side up, then flipped it to finish cooking while covered.  It took a little longer to cook that way but was easier to handle than several strips of fish.



  • 3/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced (reserve remaining 1/4 for the salsa)
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce (I use Red Boat)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes


  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Zest from 1 lime (about 2 tsp.)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds boned, skinned, firm white fish such as mahimahi, lingcod, California (white) sea bass, or rockfish (aka Pacific snapper)*, cut into approximately 1- by 5-in. strips (avoid cod as it’s too soft and breaks apart)
  • 1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated, rinsed, and dried
  • 1 firm-ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1/4 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Juice from 1 lime (about 2 1/2 teaspoons), plus more to taste
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro (leaves and tender stems), chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. Make the pickled onions: Put onion slices in a pint-size mason jar. In a liquid measuring cup, combine remaining pickled-onion ingredients, stir to mix, and pour over onion slices. Push slices down with a fork until submerged in the liquid. Seal jar and chill at least 30 minutes (4 hours is ideal) and up to 1 week.

  2. Marinate fish: Whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, oregano, and lime zest in a bowl (it will be thick, like pesto). Pat fish dry with paper towels, then add to bowl and turn to coat thoroughly with marinade. Chill at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.

  3. Make salsa: Put pineapple in blender, followed by remaining salsa ingredients, and blitz until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, or more lime juice to taste.  Chill until ready to eat.

  4. When you’re ready to cook the fish, heat a large cast-iron frying pan or heavy skillet on the stove.

  5. When pan is hot enough that it evaporates a drop of water instantly, swirl remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil or ghee into hot pan, add fish in a single layer, and cook undisturbed, until browned underneath, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully flip pieces over with a thin spatula. Cook 2 to 3 minutes more, covered, or until fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.

  6. Arrange lettuce leaves on a platter (if any are torn, top with a second leaf). Arrange fish on lettuce, tearing pieces to fit, and season with salt if you like. Add sliced avocado, a drizzle of salsa, and pickled onions. Serve with lime wedges and remaining salsa on the side.

    I am grateful each day for wellness, happiness and the opportunity to share with you.