Legend has it that fish tacos came to America when California surfers went to Baja, Mexico, to test the waves and discovered the simple dish. When you make them at home, use the freshest, firmest white fish you can find, such as mahimahi, tilapia or halibut.
Traditional fish tacos have five ingredients -- fresh fish, shredded cabbage, crema and a squirt of fresh lime wrapped in a corn tortilla. Season the fish lightly so that its flavor remains the star of the dish. Frying is the usual method for cooking the fish and some argue that the fish should be coated in a light, tempura-like batter. Assemble the dish by piling fish on the tortilla, topping it with cabbage, drizzling crema over the cabbage and squeezing the lime over it.
Fish tacos lend themselves to endless variations. Top them with a savory, tomato-based salsa or a sweet, fruit-based salsa. Make the cabbage into a slaw with a light dressing. Add sliced onions, pico de gallo, guacamole, sliced avocado or chopped tomato. Substitute shrimp or scallops for the fish, and make the dish healthier by baking, rather than frying. Make a sour cream-based sauce with fresh herbs and jalapeno peppers. Blacken the fish by seasoning it with paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and frying it at medium-high heat.