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Tuna Tortas? It's A Mexican Fish Sandwich

Good thing I had fresh tuna in the refrigerator. Can you imagine your boat surrounded by boiling tuna? Now imagine not one fish willing to bite your hook. That sums up our tuna fishing one day last week. Nada for us.

It was our first serious attempt at these early schools of yellowfin and bluefin tuna. There will be more attempts to come because our waters are full of tuna. Many seasoned fisherman claim they haven't seen tuna this early in the year since El Nino in 1985.

Remember last summer's wide open tuna fishing? This year, it's starting off sooner with more quality fish.

Speaking of El Nino, we found 68F water 10 miles offshore San Diego. Many exotics are following that warm water from Mexico, including Dodos and Wahoo. So far, all the predictions are coming true.

Here's a prediction: I think you'll love this week's recipe—Tuna Tortas. Tortas are Mexican sandwiches on crusty white rolls filled with fish or meat, refried beans, mouth watering vegetables, and a spicy sauce.

To make this particular torta start by frying a slab of tuna. Then encase it between a Mexican roll, homemade refried beans, cabbage with cream sauce, tomatoes and avocado. It's a great way to make a tuna torta. Go get some tuna and make this sandwich!

Tuna Tortas (serving 2)

2 tuna fillets, 1/2lb each, 1” thick, cut into sandwich size

2 Mexican white rolls

1 sliced avocado

1 tomato, 4 slices

4 tablespoons pickled Mexican carrots (or jalapeno)


1 can cooked pinto beans 29oz. drained

1 onion diced

1 bundle cilantro chopped

Kosher salt

Coarse Black pepper

8 tablespoons of vegetable oil


4 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons California chili powder

1 ½ tablespoons ground cumin

½ tablespoon ground arbol pepper

1 ½ tablespoons Mexican dry oregano


¼ head of cabbage, cut thinly

½ jalapeno, julienned

1/2 cup Mexican sour cream

juice of half a lemon

2 teaspoons of hot sauce

Pinch of salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. To create the refried beans, heat a frying pan with 3-4 tablespoons of oil, then saute diced onions for 5 minutes. Salt and pepper the onions. Pour the drain beans into the frying pan and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes.

3. Add an additional 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil over the simmering beans. Turn off the heat, and using a mash-potato hand masher, smash the beans. Allow to cool, then add chopped cilantro and mix.

4. Create the dry rub by mixing salt, California chili powder, ground cumin and arbol pepper, with the Mexican oregano.

5. Heat a frying pan over a high heat. Dredge the tuna fillet in the dry rub. Add 2-3 tablespoons of oil to the pan, as soon as the oil starts to smoke, add the dry rubbed tuna fillets.

6. Cook from 1 to 1 ½ minutes on the first side, then no more than a minute on the second side. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.

7. Add the half julienned jalapeno to the cabbage.

8. Create the cream sauce by adding the Mexican (latin) sour cream, the lemon juice, hot sauce, and salt/pepper into a mixing bowl. Mix and refrigerate until ready to use.

9. Slice the bread rolls in half--length wise--and toast inside the oven for 3-5 minutes.

10. Mix the cream sauce with the cabbage.

11. Finely cut the Mexican pickled carrots into strips.

12. Assemble the sandwich by first spreading refried beans inside the bottom half of the bread. Then add 2 slices of tomato and avocado on top of beans. Add the fish fillet, then top with cabbage. Now add the julienned pickled carrots. Finally place the top half of the bread on your sandwich and you're done. Repeat the process for the second sandwich. Enjoy.

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Meet The



I'm a fisherman and a cook, and I love to do both. My name is Yanni and welcome to my website, Fisherman's Belly. Here, using your fresh fish and everyday ingredients, you can learn to cook hand-crafted easy fish recipes. 

See you on the water and in the kitchen. Yanni

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Thanks for submitting your question. I'll get back with you as soon as possible. Yanni

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