Cookin’ in Camo: Trout Tacos with Avocado-yogurt Sauce and Pickled Red Onions


Having lived a portion of my life in North Carolina, fishing the Tar Heel State’s streams for rainbow trout is something I love to do. Eating them in the form of a taco is also something I love! These trout tacos come with kick, as they are marinated in cumin and chipotle powder but quickly cool off from the fresh avocado and cool yogurt. Accompany that with the acidic pop of perfectly-pickled red onions and we are rockin’!

  • Serves 4
  • Prep time: 30 to 35 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes


Spicy lime-chipotle fish

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle powder (or chili powder, if you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground toasted cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2-teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound fresh trout fillets
Remember: the tacos will taste better if you use fillets from fish you've caught yourself!
Remember: the tacos will taste better if you use fillets from fish you’ve caught yourself!

Avocado-yogurt sauce:

  • 1 large ripe avocado, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/4-cup plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican crema
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2-cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1/2-teaspoon salt
  • 1/4-teaspoon freshly ground toasted cumin
  • 1/4-cup water

Pickled red onions

  • 2 medium onions halved and sliced thin
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup distilled vinegar
  • 1/4-cup water
  • 1-1/2-tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1-1/2-tablespoon sugar
  • 1-1/2-teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves smashed
  • 2 bay leaves


  • 12 small corn tortillas
  • Shredded cabbage (optional)
  • Cilantro sprigs
  • Lime wedges


Put on your camo apron.

Pickled red onions

Place the sliced onions in a mason jar. Add the remaining ingredients to a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil for roughly two minutes. Pour hot pickling liquid into the mason jar, stopping roughly a half inch from the rim (ensure the onions are submerged). Screw on the lid and reserve until ready to use.*

Marinate the fish

In a gallon freezer bag, combine the trout, lime juice, olive oil, chipotle powder, toasted cumin, paprika, and salt. Squeeze the air from the bag and seal. Shake the bag to mix the marinade and fish. Allow to marinate for roughly 20 minutes, but not longer than an hour.

The most important part of the cooking process: making sure you have your camo apron on.
The most important part of the cooking process: making sure you have your camo apron on.

Prepare the avocado-yogurt sauce

While the trout marinates, prepare the avocado-yogurt sauce. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the avocado, yogurt, lime juice, toasted cumin, cilantro, salt, and water, and process until smooth and creamy. Store in a squeeze bottle or glass bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Sauté the fish

In a large heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium-high heat, sauté the fish with the remaining 2 tablespoons of lard skin-side down until golden and crispy. Flip and cook for another 15 to 30 seconds and remove from pan. Cover with aluminum foil until ready to assemble.

Warm the tortillas and assemble the tacos

In a heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium heat, warm the tortillas until they start to bubble and develop a golden-brown appearance. This takes roughly 45 seconds to 1 minute per side. If working in batches, wrap the finished tortillas in paper towels, then wrap those in a (clean) dish towel to keep warm.

To assemble, cut the trout into small portions and place in the center of an opened tortilla. Drizzle with the avocado-yogurt and top with some pickled onions and picked cilantro. Catch, cook, share, enjoy, and, as always, keep Cookin’ in Camo!

*Pickled onions can be stored in the refrigerator for a month.

Editor’s note: This recipe is the third in a series of several provided by Tyler Viars, a dedicated “forest to fork” hunter (or “pole to plate” angler, in this case) and professional chef. Click here to read last week’s recipe, porcini-dusted catfish with corn puree.

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