FRIDAY FISH: Fish Fajitas and Black Beans

I think even Lent could be a little fun, couldn’t it?

Looking for St. Patrick’s Day Ideas? Just click on “St. Patrick’s Day” in the categories section at right to find my favorites including Salmon on Caraway CabbageIrish Soda Bread with Potato SoupSalmon on ColcannonColcannon SoupTraditional Kerry Apple Cake, and more.

You know how when you eat with that same someone in various restaurants over the years, you can nearly look at the menu and figure out what they’ll order? “I knew you’d get that.” Hm. Right again. Such smugness. It’s not totally always, but my husband will regularly choose the fish tacos should they have, like magic (not), appeared on the list. And if he has a choice of beans (pintos or black), he’ll choose black even though at home he swears by my pinto beans. So if I’m one smart cookie, I’ll keep nearly-always-the-choice fish tacos on permanent rotation at our house. And I do. But they need a little tweaking or updating from year to year, especially during FRIDAY FISH weeks. This time, not only did they morph into “Fish Fajitas,” but they’re made in the air fryer. Because I could. But could you bake them in the oven? (See recipe) Of course. Might you fry them in oil? Sure. But I hope you’ll choose the air fryer method. It’s fast; it’s healthy; it’s fun.

Jump to Recipe

6 hours on high in the slow cooker for black beans.


Helen +Alyce

Fish tacos couldn’t be simpler than in my sister’s original version. You sauté some fish in a skillet with salt, pepper, and chili powder. It’s done so quickly, you had better’ve poured the beer, heated the tortillas, and chopped the vegetables first. And because fish in the air fryer is even quicker, you’ll really need to first prep all your sides and toppings for today’s version. Begin in the morning with your slow cooked black beans as they’ll take six hours — maybe less at sea level. No need to soak them as black beans don’t need soaking. And should you fall in love with these and want them every week, you’ll be just like Pati Jinich, who says she makes them at least twice a week. You’ll have some left. Heat them for lunch and top with a dollop of sour cream, chopped tomatoes, and diced onions or avocados. No big deal needs to be made as they’re excellent all on their own.

Shopper's Note here. I do find store brand beans at the grocery are occasionally a little long in the tooth and therefore slow to become tender.  I order beans 4 pounds at a whack from a grower in Washington state, ClearCreek, which is part of Palouse Brand. (Can order through amazon, too.) I buy many of my beans, peas, lentils, etc. from this company. Try it. You won't  be sorry. 

The fajita part of Fish Fajitas is the cooked peppers and onions. Easy to make in a skillet, they’re even easier — no stirring — in the air fryer. Here, I’ve lined the air fryer with some liners I bought at our fine downtown kitchen shop, Sparrow and Hawk, and are a lot like coffee filters though larger. Saves clean up. (You can also use parchment paper. Don’t preheat the air fryer with any liners as they can catch fire. Take my word for it!) Cover them and stick in the oven to keep warm — as long as you’re making your fish in the air fryer and not in the oven. They could certainly be done a day ahead and reheated in the microwave.

Can You Put Foil in an Air Fryer? What about wax paper?/USATODAY

Like Pico de Gallo on your tacos? (PEE-ko day GAH-yo/beak of the rooster) You can’t make it too far ahead as the tomatoes melt at the edges and the cilantro fades, but you’ll have to chop it up before you fry that fish:

3 plum tomatoes cut into small dice
2 minced scallions — green and white parts
½ small jalapeño, seed and deveined, minced
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
Pinch each salt and pepper
½ teaspoon lemon zest
¼ cup diced red bell pepper, optional

The Yogurt-Lime Crema — a true necessity — could be made a day ahead and stuck in the fridge but is so quick you can stir it together and leave it on the counter while you cook fish, grill tortillas, and so on. The recipe is in the printed recipe Notes. Like sour cream? Use that instead of yogurt.

Tortillas always take longer to heat than you think they will and we all like them warm. You can heat them by the batch in the oven or microwave, but they’re better if you grill them –a cast iron griddle or skillet works well– or even char them over open flame. Have a pie plate lined with foil ready to catch them as they’re done and if you’re not using the oven for the fish, they can stay warm there.

Never walk away from tortillas over an open flame.

Chop or ready whatever other toppings (shredded cabbage? avocados?), set the table, grab a beer — and then you’ll be ready to begin dredging the fish, making sure to shake off a little of each dredge before going on to the next, and placing it in the air fryer for 6 short minutes:

Since you’re already making the fish tacos, do consider cooking extra fish. As it cooks in only 6+ minutes, you might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb. I know we don’t always think about making more fish than we need, but you can then later have salad, fish and chips, a “fried fish” sandwich, or maybe even MORE TACOS!! Whatever you do, be careful to season each element in the prep (the flour, the eggs, the bread crumbs, and the fish) before baking to ensure the most tasty (muy delicioso) tacos. I’ll look forward to hearing all about it when you try this:

Fish Fajitas (Air Fryer or Oven) with Slow Cooker Black Beans

Because fish tacos are one of our favorite meals, I give in to the need to tweak them on very nearly a yearly basis. The current version, topped with sautéed peppers and onions fajita style is one you can make in just a few minutes in the air fryer or in a few more minutes the oven if that’s your preference. If you’re not baking the fish in the oven, heat it to 200 F and keep the peppers and onions and the tortillas warm there while you air fry the fish. Otherwise, cover them and leave on stovetop. The Yogurt-Lime Crema (see Cook’s Notes) is easy to make ahead and leave in the fridge until you need it. Start your slow cooker black beans (see Cook’s Notes) in the morning. They couldn’t be easier and may put you off canned beans forever except in the most serious of pinches. Leftovers make a great lunch.
4 servings


*Peppers and onions: (air fryer or skillet)

  • 2 poblano peppers, sliced
  • ½ EACH red and orange or yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Pinch each kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro


  • pounds 24-oz mahi mahi or other white fish fillets, patted dry, cut into approximately 2-inch pieces, generously sprinkled and patted with salt and pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour stirred together with ½ teaspoon EACH: salt, pepper, and chili powder
  • 2 eggs beaten together with 1 tablespoon water and ½ teaspoon EACH: salt, pepper, and chili powder
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs or panko– or a mixture of cornmeal and breadcrumbs stirred together with ½ teaspoon EACH: salt, pepper, and chili powder

*Tortillas and Toppings:

  • 8-10 small corn tortillas, grilled and kept warm in bowl with foil on stovetop or in oven (if not baking fish in oven)
  • TOPPINGS: Yogurt-Lime Crema (see Cook’s Notes). Choose also, as desired, from salsa or pico de gallo, lime wedges, hot sauce, minced/sliced jalapeños, chopped tomatoes, sliced radishes, fresh cilantro, diced avocadoes, shredded cabbage, etc.


  • PREHEAT OVEN TO 400 F IF YOU ARE BAKING THE FISH IN THE OVEN. Otherwise, preheat to 200 F to keep warm the peppers/onions and tortillas.
  • AIR FRY OR SAUTÉ THE PEPPERS AND ONIONS: Heat Air Fryer for 2 minutes at 350 F. In a medium bowl, stir together all the pepper and onion ingredients. Spray air fryer basket with cooking spray or add a disposable air fryer liner and spread the peppers and onions evenly in the basket. Cook for about 7 minutes, shaking basket midway through cooking. Alternately, sauté vegetables in a large skillet until browned and tender using a little more olive oil. Remove vegetables from basket or skillet to a bowl, cover, and place in oven or on the stovetop (if baking fish in oven) to keep warm. Wipe out air fryer basket and spray with cooking spray again or add new liner.
  • DREDGE AND AIR FRY OR BAKE THE FISH IN OVEN: Set Air Fryer at 390 F. Place the flour mixture, egg mixture, and breadcrumb mixture in each of three different bowls. Dip fish pieces first in the flour, next in the egg, and last in the breadcrumbs, shaking them off a bit after each and patting the crumbs into both sides of the fish at the end. Place fish in the air fryer basket or spaced evenly on a foil-lined sheet pan sprayed with cooking spray if baking in the oven. Air fry for 6-7 minutes or bake in the oven 10-12 minutes or until firm and crispy. Turn fish over midway through air frying or baking time. Note: I do not add oil before cooking the fish, but you can add a very light drizzle of olive oil if you choose.
  • SERVE FISH FAJITAS: Add a piece of cooked fish to each warm tortilla and serve hot with pepper and onions, yogurt-lime crema (see Cook’s Notes), and other toppings as desired. Serve with hot black beans (see Cook’s Notes.) Store leftover fish well-covered in the refrigerator for up to three days. Do not freeze.


Yogurt-Lime Crema: INGREDIENTS: 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt; the zest and juice of half lime; pinch each salt and pepper; a shake of hot sauce. DIRECTIONS: Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl; taste and adjust seasonings.
Slow Cooker Black Beans: INGREDIENTS: 1 lb black beans (unsoaked), washed/picked over; 2 quarts water; sm. onion cut in half, 3 cloves garlic; 2 teaspoons kosher salt; 1/2 teaspoon each ground black pepper and crushed red pepper; a few springs of cilantro (optional), and a quick drizzle of olive oil. DIRECTIONS: Stir together all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on high for about 6 hours at altitude or until tender. (May be less at sea level.) Taste and adjust seasonings.
Copyright Alyce Morgan, 2023. All rights reserved.

NOT FAMILIAR WITH AIR FRYERS? You’ll notice I don’t abbreviate the name. An Air Fryer isn’t a complicated appliance. It’s like a convection oven on steroids or a really fast toaster oven. You just stick food in there, turn on the time and temperature (like an oven) and wait the short time until it’s done, perhaps shaking the basket once mid-way through. Our favorite thing is fries (done with one teaspoon of oil), but I’ve done chicken breasts, pork chops, salmon, squash, etc. with great success. Want to read up? 65+Essential Air Fryer Recipes/KITCHN.

7 Best Air Fryers of 2023/FOODNETWORK

Need another salsa?





“GREEK STYLE” SALSA:   ( spicy or not)


…in which Lurky-Turkey returns. Poor girl. No mate. No chicks. Even the dogs scorn her.

NEW CAMERA FOR THE BLOG!!! For the past few weeks, I’ve been debating between new cameras. Bought a Sony, couldn’t stand the often non-working computer interface, and returned it after a week. I have six new wrinkles and crossed eyes after that experience. Visited a camera shop, got some good advice, and they ordered two cameras for me to try. They never called back and when I called them said they hadn’t unpacked the orders due to staffing issues. A week later, I’ve not heard from them. Finally did a lot of my own online research and ordered a new Canon EOS RP — Canon being my go-to as I’ve worn out more than a couple of them over the years. It comes tomorrow and promises me I’ll up my skills AND the photos for the blog. Pray for me, please! I’m sure there’ll be quite a learning curve. I’m still looking at lenses, wondering what I can afford. BTW, I’m happily and strangely able to afford this after receiving windfall money from a teacher’s retirement account I’d forgotten (1992-96). Blogs don’t make much money and, to be truthful, mine makes none because I, so far, have not taken ads. (I don’t appreciate ads on blogs or other sites, but understand why they’re there.) So this is pretty much a non-profit blog! I also don’t want to write my blog (longer repetitious content) to increase search engine optimization (SEO), though I know it’s a must for many bloggers. She’s so old school. And she talks about herself in the third person occasionally.

An odd late winter day dawned this morning–foggy, chilly-willy, and a bone-mean cold drizzle coming down every now and again. It’s Tequila White Chicken Chili for us tonight along with a little tv and a glass of red. Brr.. … .. …

If it’s springy by you, enjoy it all. Winter still? Stay cozy…

and thanks for keeping me company in my kitchen,


One thought on “FRIDAY FISH: Fish Fajitas and Black Beans

  1. Pingback: FRIDAY FISH: Fish and Chickpea Chowder | More Time at the Table

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