The last thing in the world I would order off a restaurant menu is fish. Unless of course said fish is battered, deep fried, and served with awesome french fries. If my health and fitness instructor knew I was ordering something battered and deep fried, I think he'd have a heart attack. So, in order to prevent him (and myself eventually) from having a heart attack, I skip the battered, deep fried items. When my friend Shandi introduced me to The Cheesecake Factory and their fish tacos I just about fell out of my seat. I haven't eaten another item off their menu because they are that good. Here's how Cheesecake Factory describes their fish tacos: "Three soft corn tortillas filled with fresh grilled fish, spicy avocado cream and a spicy citrus salsa served with black beans, rice and guacamole." I've been craving them lately, but just haven't felt like battling the crowds to get a seat. There's always a 45 minute wait! So, I decided to create my own version to satisfy the taste buds until I can get the real thing.

Citrus Fish Tacos

2 mahi mahi fillets
3 TBLS canola oil
1 TBLS chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp cumin
4 6-8in flour tortillas

Citrus Slaw

4 cups shredded coleslaw mix
2 mandarin orange fruit cups
1 TBLS fresh chopped cilantro
1 large lime or 2 small limes

Southwest Cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp (heaping) cumin
dash cayenne pepper

We're going to make the marinade for the mahi mahi first. You'll need 3 tablespoons of canola oil (or vegetable, olive oil, whatever you prefer).

1 tablespoon of cilantro...you'll also need a tablespoon of cilantro for the Citrus Slaw, so you might as well do all of your herb chopping now.

1/2 a teaspoon of salt (I prefer Kosher salt to regular old table salt)

1/2 a teaspoon of cumin

2 nice mahi mahi fillets. You can use any firm fish like tilapia, cod, or orange roughy for this. Costco has a bag of mahi mahi for $14 bucks or so. The fillets are already pre-portioned and vacuum sealed, so all I had to do was pull two out of the bag and let them thaw. I dropped the frozen (vacuum packed) fillets into a bowl of cold water and they were defrosted in about 20 minutes.

Dump the oil, cilantro, salt, cumin, and mahi-mahi into a freezer baggie and shake it around so the mahi mahi gets coated. Set it to the side while we make the Citrus Slaw.

You could chop up a head of cabbage for this, but the pre-shredded stuff is so much easier and it only cost $2 at my local Walmart Supercenter. Measure out 4 cups and dump into a medium sized bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro...

2 mandarin orange cups. I've got one pictured here and I have no clue why. I promise I didn't eat the second cup. You can use a can of mandarin oranges if you've got that on hand. I like the cups because I'll take the 4 unused cups to work to fill up my snack drawer, plus the cups only cost a tiny bit more.

The zest and juice of one large lime. I only had little ones, so I used two of the little ones. The thing the lime is resting on is called a microplane zester. You can easily find them at Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Le Gourmet Chef, or anyplace that sells kitchen wares. The microplane very finally shaves the zest so that you can get the essence of the citrus flavor. You can also use the microplane to finely shave parmesan cheese and even chocolate.

Stir the cabbage/cole slaw mix, mandarin oranges, cilantro, lime zest and juice together and set aside.

Bring a non-stick skillet up to medium heat. Once your skillet is hot, lay the mahi mahi in it and let it cook for 4-5 minutes on each side. I like to scoop out the rest of the cilantro from the marinade and put on top. No sense letting good herbs go to waste!

While the mahi mahi cooks, we're going to make the Southwest Cream. Measure out (or eyeball it) 1/2 cup of sour cream.

Stir in a heaping 1/4 tsp of cumin...

...and add a dash of cayenne pepper to your liking. Stir it all up and set that just off to the side.

In the time it took you to make the Southwest Cream, your mahi mahi should be cooked on one side and ready to flip. The bottom should have a nice brown crust!

While the last side of the fish is cooking, let's heat up the tortillas. I like to run a paper towel under water, squeeze out the excess water, wrap the tortillas in it, and pop the stack in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.

Lay one heated tortilla on a plate. Cut one of the mahi mahi fillets in half lengthwise and place in the center of the tortilla. Doesn't that fish look awesome?? You shouldn't even half to cut it - it should flake apart very easily. That's how you'll know it's done.

Top with a dollop of the Southwest Cream.

Give the Citrus Slaw a final toss and then spoon a generous portion on top. Oh man...my mouth is watering now!

Now all you have to do is eat and enjoy!

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~ Erin