Alex makes tacos every Sunday night (we’re trying to create family rituals:), and of all the versions we’ve tried, this panko recipe has become the crowd favorite, by far. I’d highly recommend it…

The Best Fish Tacos You’ll Ever Have
By Jess Dang of Cook Smarts

As the founder of Cook Smarts, I’ve worked with many families struggling to find dinners that everyone will enjoy. One recipe I always recommend are these panko-crusted fish tacos. They’re incredibly simple to make, and I promise they will please even the pickiest eater.

If you haven’t heard of it before, panko is a light Japanese breadcrumb that can be found in the international aisle of your grocery store and will make a great addition to your pantry. For these tacos, we flavor the panko with spices, and then coat the fish pieces in the panko mixture, which provides a light crispy coating. Served with a lemony, creamy coleslaw, this winning combination will become your family’s favorite dinner recipe.

Recipe: Panko-Crusted Fish Tacos with Lemony, Creamy Coleslaw
Serves 4

You’ll need:
For the slaw:

1/2 head of cabbage, sliced
2 carrots, grated
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. creme fraiche
2 tbsp. olive oil

For the fish
1 lb. tilapia, sliced
1 egg, whisked
1 cup panko
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. oregano
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. canola oil
8 tortillas
1 lime

Since coleslaw tastes best when it’s had time to marinate, start it first. If you’re a planner, you can even do this the night before. Place sliced cabbage, grated carrots and chopped parsley in a large bowl. Next combine lemon juice, creme fraiche and olive oil for the dressing. Generously salt the cabbage mixture, pour in the dressing and toss everything together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

For the fish tacos, preheat oven to 425F.

Next, rinse the tilapia fillets and dry them with paper towels. Slice them into 2″ long pieces and place them onto a plate. Pour the whisked egg over the fish and make sure each piece gets covered in the egg wash. This will ensure that the panko mixture completely coats the fish.

In a Ziploc bag, mix panko, paprika, thyme, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt and oil. Place your egg-coated fish into the bag, seal and shake. (If you have a child that loves being a kitchen helper, this is a great activity for them. No kid can resist a shake-and-bake!)

Once the fish is coated in panko, spread the pieces onto a foil-lined sheet pan. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes until the panko is golden brown. Wrap your tortillas in foil and throw them in the oven for the last 3 to 5 minutes of baking.

When everything is done, have everyone assemble their own tacos with as much slaw and crispy fish pieces as they want. Serve with lime wedges, which gives the perfect finish to these fish tacos. (Also, in my humble opinion, fish tacos are always better served with a margarita.)

Thank you so much, Jess! And if you’re looking for ideas for simple weeknight dinners like this one, check out Jess’s weekly meal plan service.)

P.S. More best recipes, including guacamole and a lazy egg sandwich.

(Photos and recipe by Jess Dang of Cook Smarts. Thanks to Shoko for helping with this series.)