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Opah Birria Street Tacos

Classic birria is usually made with goat’s meat or even with lamb or a combination of several types of meat. This seafood twist features a lean cut of opah that looks and cooks similar to beef! Makes 16 regular tacos or 32 street tacos.

Recipe created for Catalina Offshore by Miguel Valdez of Liberty Call Distilling.


For the birria:

  • 2 lbs opah flank (the abductor/adductor portion of the fish)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Ancho peppers
  • 6 Guajillo peppers
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 large tomatoes, stemmed and halved
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 1/2 medium white onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste

For the tacos:

  • 16 corn tortillas or 32 street-taco sized corn tortillas
  • Diced onion to your liking
  • Chopped cilantro to your liking
  • Reserved broth from birria (optional for serving)
  • Hot sauce (optional)

How to Prepare:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Place garlic cloves, onion slices and tomato halves onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Toss with olive oil and a pinch of salt and roast in pre-heated oven for about 30-40 minutes.
  3. Season opah with salt and pepper and set aside in a large baking dish.
  4. Clean and devein the peppers and then slightly toast them over medium heat for about 20 to 30 seconds per side until they become fragrant. (You can do this in a pan, or directly over a flame if you have a gas stove.) Be sure not to burn them or they will become bitter. Place toasted peppers in cup of hot water and soak for 20 minutes.
  5. Heat a pan over medium heat. Add whole cloves, cumin seeds and black peppercorns and toast for a few seconds. Place them in a blender followed by the roasted garlic, onion and tomatoes as well as the oregano, marjoram, cinnamon and vinegar.
  6. Once peppers are soft, drain and add them to the blender. Puree everything until you have a smooth sauce. Add a few tablespoons of water only if the blender is having a hard time processing. Season the sauce with salt to taste.
  7. Pour the sauce over the opah, making sure it is covered completely. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
  8. When ready to cook the opah, preheat oven to 300F and then bake for about 2 1/2 hours or until opah is fork tender.
  9. About 1 ounce of prepared opah birria will make one street-sized corn tortilla. Garnish tacos with diced onion and cilantro. Spoon a bit of birria broth over the opah for a moist taco and/or finish with your choice of hot sauce.


Opah Abductor

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