Jen Merchant’s Lone Star Trout Tacos with Mango Salsa
Salt Life Team Member Jen Merchant is a surf, fishing guide and angler based on Texas’s beautiful Gulf Coast. When she’s not guiding fishing expeditions or tagging sharks for research, you can find her frying up the catch of the day for a tasty lunch or dinner.
Jen’s Sheepshead Ceviche was a major crowd-pleaser over the summer, so we reached out to her again for another of her fresh, simple recipes—this time a super delicious, super quick way to enjoy freshly-caught trout, Texas style: fried trout tacos.
Trout? In Texas?
While you may not associate trout with the Lone Star state, speckled trout are abundant along the Gulf coast. And while freshwater trout aren’t native to the warm waters flowing through Texas, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is kind enough to stock its rivers and streams with hundreds of thousands of rainbow trout each year.
Jen’s hooked enough trout to know her way around a fried trout taco. So here’s everything you need to know about your new favorite fish taco recipe.
The Secret to the Perfect Trout Taco
Unlike meat or veggie tacos, fish tacos require the crunch and brightness of fresh garnishes. Jen’s recipe uses a sweet, tangy mango salsa to elevate the delicate flavors of the trout.
Make the mango salsa a few hours ahead of time to give the flavors a chance to come together. Ditto for the spicy taco sauce—the longer it chills in the fridge, the better.
As with any taco, garnishing with fresh lime juice and cilantro is the way to go. And if you have the time and the know-how, consider making your own flour tortillas for a truly homemade trout taco experience.
As for the most important part—do we even need to say it? Freshly-caught trout is crucial! If you didn’t pull it out of the water yourself, ask your local fishmonger when it was caught to ensure its freshness.
Without further ado, here’s Jen’s show-stopping trout taco recipe.
Jen’s Lone Star Trout Tacos with Mango Salsa
Ingredients for the Mango Salsa
2 ripe mangos, finely diced
⅓ cup red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Ingredients for the Taco Sauce
⅓ cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp creole seasoning
Ingredients for the Fish Tacos
2 lb fresh trout fillets
½ cup cornmeal fish fry seasoning
2 cups canola oil
6 flour tortillas
4 cups coleslaw mix
Chopped cilantro and lime wedges (for garnish)
- Combine the ingredients for the mango salsa in a medium bowl and cover. Let the salsa rest in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavors combine.
- Cut the trout fillets into even portions. Pat fish dry with a paper towel and let it come to room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
- Whisk together the ingredients for the taco sauce in a small bowl. Chill until ready to serve.
- Sprinkle the cornmeal fish fry on a plate. Dredge trout portions until fully coated.
- Bring canola oil to temperature (350-375℉) in a saute pan. Carefully lower each fish fillet into the hot oil, making sure not to splash. Give the oil about 45 seconds to come back up to temperature before adding the next piece. Fry the trout, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through—about 4 minutes. When finished, let the fish drain on paper towels.
- Warm the tortillas. Layer each tortilla with taco sauce, a small handful of dry coleslaw mix, and a portion of fried trout. Top with mango salsa, a squeeze of lime, and fresh cilantro.
Catch, Clean, and Cook with Salt Life
We’re grateful to Jen for for sharing her delicious recipe with us. There’s no greater reward after a long day out on the water than a homemade meal using the day’s catch. You can check out our Catch, Clean, Cook playlist on YouTube for more awesome content. Stay salty!