Mini Tacos with Fried Oysters, Pimiento Cheese, and Fennel Slaw

The best parts of a Southern tailgate—crispy fried oysters dredged in cornmeal, pimiento cheese dressed up with chipotle chiles and adobo sauce, an arresting and crunchy slaw—team up in these grab-and-go mini tacos. Keep a cold beer on hand for washing down every cheesy, crispy bite.

Mini Tacos with Fried Oysters, Pimiento Cheese, and Fennel Slaw
Photo: Photographer Jennifer Causey, Prop Stylist Lindsey Lower, Food Stylist Torie Cox
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
16 serves



  • 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, diced

  • 1/2 teaspoon adobo sauce

  • 2 tablespoons diced pimientos, drained

  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt


  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

  • cup 1/4

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)

  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper


  • 2 cups (about 11½ oz.) finely ground yellow cornmeal

  • 1 cup (about 4¼ oz.) all-purpose flour

  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon table salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • Canola oil

  • 2 (8-oz.) containers fresh shucked oysters, well drained (about 48 oysters)


  • 16 (4½-in.) corn tortillas

  • Lime wedges

  • Hot sauce


  1. Prepare the Chipotle Pimiento Cheese: Combine cheese and mayonnaise in a food processor. Process until blended. Add chile, adobo sauce, pimientos, and salt; pulse to combine. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Makes 1¾ cups.

  2. Prepare the Fennel Slaw: Combine all ingredients in medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 4 cups.

  3. Prepare the Conrmeal-Crusted Fried Oysters: Whisk together cornmeal, flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a Dutch oven; heat over medium-high to 350°F. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Working in batches of about 8 oysters, dredge each oyster in cornmeal mixture. Carefully place dredged oysters in hot oil. Fry, turning often, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain on wire rack. Repeat with remaining oysters. Serve immediately. Makes about 48 oysters.

  4. Prepare the tacos: Heat tortillas according to package directions. Spread 1½ tablespoons pimiento cheese on each tortilla. Top with 2 to 3 fried oysters and desired amount of slaw. Serve tacos with lime wedges and hot sauce.

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