Crispy Croaker Tacos with Shrimp Tortillas

Courtesy of Chef Kelly Grady Hargroves of Wind Creek Hotel & Casino in Montgomery.  |  Seafood: Shrimp

What you need


2 c. masa harina

1/2 c. Gulf Shrimp, peeled and deveined, pureed

2 lbs. Croaker, filleted and cut into fingers (6)

1 c. self-rising flour

3/4 c. panko bread crumbs

1/4 c. Calgary or Montreal steak seasoning

2 eggs

1 c. vegetable or peanut oil

2 c. green cabbage, thinly sliced

2 green onions, thinly sliced on the bias

1 small jalapeño, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, and thinly sliced into strips

Juice of 2 limes

1/4 c. cilantro, rough chop

4 cloves black garlic

1/2 avocado, ripe

Juice of 2 lemons

1 c. olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste



Shrimp Tortillas (Yields 6)


Place the masa harina, Gulf Shrimp puree, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 cup of warm water in a mixing bowl, stirring until thoroughly combined and the water is absorbed. Add another 1/4 cup of water a tablespoon at a time, stirring until the mixture forms a dough.


Pick up the dough and knead into a ball. If it is sticky, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time, or if it’s dry and not holding together, add more warm water a bit at a time. Once you have a smooth ball, allow to rest 5 minutes.


Divide the ball of dough and roll by hand into 12 smooth, golf-sized balls. Cut a gallon plastic bag in half. Using a tortilla press, place one half of the bag on the bottom of the press, a ball of dough on top of the plastic, and the other half of the bag on the ball. Press into a tortilla (4″ around, ¼” thick). The tortilla should peel easily off the plastic if it’s the right consistency. (This can also be done using a flat-bottom pan to press the tortilla.) Stack the tortillas in between wax or deli paper until ready to cook.


Set a cast-iron skillet over medium high heat. When it’s hot, place a tortilla in the pan and cook for 10 seconds, then flip the tortilla and cook for 3 minutes and flip again for 3 more minutes. Hold warm covered with a damp towel. Repeat until all the tortillas are done.


Crispy Croaker


Heat the vegetable oil (or peanut oil) over medium high heat in a cast-iron skillet until it hits 350’ F on a fryer thermometer, or until a pinch of flour bubbles and fries when dropped in.


Beat the egg and 1/2 cup cold water together in a mixing bowl large enough to hold the fish. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, bread crumbs, Calgary seasoning (or Montreal seasoning), and salt until thoroughly incorporated.


Dip the fish in egg wash (1 egg, beaten), shake off excess moisture, then press into flour to coat all over. Carefully place fish into hot oil and fry 3 minute on each side until done. Set on a plate lined with paper towels and hold warm uncovered.




Combine all ingredients (green cabbage, green onions, jalapeños, lime juice, cilantro, kosher salt) in a mixing bowl and let stand for 10 minutes before use.




Place 1 egg, black garlic cloves, and lemon juice in a blender or a food processor, then puree until the garlic is finely chopped and mixed with the egg. Add the avocado half and mix until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle 1 cup of olive oil until incorporated. Taste and adjust, seasoning with salt and pepper.




Stack 2 tortillas on top of each other, then place a piece of the Croaker on each, top with slaw, and drizzle with aioli. Serve and enjoy!

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