South of the border.

Salmon Tacos
The latest slew of guests have left me now with a heap of laundry and and empty fridge – and of course fond memories of the time we shared. They have also left me with a smattering of dishes just dying to be featured and it is my solemn duty to fulfill their desires. They will naturally have to wait their turn as it’s not polite to cut in line. The archives are starting to get uncomfortably tight and tensions are rising. I fear that if I give some of these new dishes special treatment with an early post (bail) all hell will break loose. These fiesty Salmon Tacos are not happy about the delay in their release date and have been giving me the stink eye all week. So without further ado, I am releasing them into greater society in the hopes that they will behave and reach their full potential of pleasing mass palates.

La Sirena Grille in Laguna Beach, CA serves as the inspiration for these tacos. This tiny take-out shack with only a handful of tables serves up an impressive array high quality and made-to-order Mexican specialties. Their fish tacos and burritos are among my favourites and set the standard for what a top-notch, flavourful and fresh fish taco should be. I must give credit to my brother here for he is the genius who suggested to make fish tacos with my leftovers from Delia Smith’s Salmon with Black Bean Salsa. Let me tell you – these tacos did not compare to La Sirena’s – incredibly they were superior! Over the years I’ve perfected the dish and have come up with my own ‘secret sauce’. Though I prefer the flavour of corn tortillas, my husband swears by flour so we usually have both! Sometimes rather than tacos we’ll make giant, deliciously stuffed burritos. The flavour of these tacos continues to evolve as you chew – earthy, sharp, green, citrusy, bright. The earthiness of cumin, cinnamon and chili powder are elevated by the cilantro, ginger and lime zest. Though there are many strong flavours in this dish they come together in perfect harmony. I guarantee – after just one bite you’ll be transported south of the border sipping your cerveza.

Salmon TacosAdapted from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection

For the Salmon:

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 3 fat cloves garlic
  • 2 level teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 1/2 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and finely grated
  • grated zest of 2 limes, reserve the juice for the salsa and guacamole
  • a generous pinch of ground cumin
  • a generous pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbs chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • freshly cracked black pepper

With a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic and salt together to form a paste. Add the ginger, lime zest, cinnamon and cumin and mix well. Next add the olive oil, cilantro and a good grind of black pepper. Mix everything together well and spread evenly over each of the fillets. Cover with cling film and allow to marinate for at least half an hour. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400F. Bake the salmon on a sheet until just barely cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Flake all of the salmon using a fork and mix together.

For the Black Bean Salsa:

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 to 3 ripe but firm tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • a handful of cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • half of a medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime (reserved from salmon)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • a good grind of black pepper

Mix together all of the above ingredients and adjust seasoning if necessary.

For the Guacamole:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • a handful of cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • half of a medium red onion, finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime (reserved from salmon)
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 ripe but firm tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
  • hot sauce
  • salt and pepper

Scrape the avocado into a medium bowl and mash with the back of a spoon until it is partly pureed but still retains some chunks. Season with salt and pepper, and add the lime juice and garlic. Mix well. Add the tomatoes, onions and cilantro and a couple dashes of hot sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

For the Special Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2 tbs chilli powder
  • pinch of salt

Mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl and add more lime juice to adjust consistency. It should drizzle off of the spoon.

To Assemble:

  • Corn or flour tortillas
  • shredded cabbage (undressed coleslaw)

Take a tortilla and spread on a thin layer of guacamole. Next layer on some salmon and top with a spoonful of black bean salsa. Top with cabbage and drizzle with special sauce. Fold it and enjoy with a nice cold beer!


3 thoughts on “South of the border.

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