I’m clearly a contender for the longest recipe title of the year award.
I hear the trophy is made of pure chocolate.
must. have. it.
When I first moved to North Carolina I knew only a handful of people. Coincidentally, they nearly all hailed from Texas and opened my eyes [and stomach!] to some delicious lone star staples: Mrs. Renfro’s Salsa, Shiner beer, and fish tacos. Whenever I would visit my favorite Wilmington-dwelling Texans [Hi Elmo!] they would take me a on a culinary adventure downtown, ranking nearly every restaurant in regards to the quality of their fish tacos. To this day, whenever I think of fish tacos I think of them. The fond memories are short-lived, however, because those jerks left me and moved back to Texas. The nerve!
Wilmington is a few hours away from me so not only have I been abandoned, I’m also quite far from a decent fish taco joint. Instead I’m stuck in a small town overrun by fast food, chain restaurants, and local establishments hellbent on deep-frying everything from oysters to cheesecake. When you finally find that perfect pair of jeans that neither exposes your butt crack nor your dreaded muffin top, you tend to do anything in your power to ensure they fit. So no, I will not be partaking in fried cheesecake [*cough*AGAIN*cough*] or their deep-fried batter-tastic excuse for fish tacos smothered in iceberg lettuce and cheddar cheese.Instead I’ll be face-planting into these:
- Fresh wild Alaskan salmon [enough to yield several tacos]
- 1-2 large ripe avocado, sliced
- 4-5 corn tortillas
- ¼ cup crumbled feta or cotija cheese [optional]
- chipotle olive oil [or your favorite oil!]
- 1 lime, wedged
- the spices:
- ground cayenne pepper
- garlic +/or onion powder
- dried parsley
- salt and pepper
- +/or your favorite spice blend
- the sauce:
- 3 TBSP homemade or store-bought ranch dressing
- 1 TBSP Sririacha chili sauce
- the slaw:
- 1 heaping cup cabbage, finely chopped/shredded
- ¼ small red onion, sliced thin
- 1-2 TBSP apple cider vinegar [optional]
- 1 TBSP honey
- ½ tsp dried or fresh cilantro, to taste
- ½ tsp lime juice
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- a pinch of salt
- I rubbed my salmon filet with a super yummy chipotle olive oil. You can find an infused oil at your favorite grocery store, or even create your own by seasoning the oil with a chipotle spice blend. Plain old extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil will absolutely work too!
- First make your slaw! Toss together cabbage [plain, mixed, or purple!] and onion with the above ingredients and adjust to taste. If needed you can always add more cabbage or more onion/vinegar/honey/spices at the end so it's uber easy to customize to perfection.
- For the sauce, whisk together ranch and Sriracha, using more Sriracha for a spicy sauce and less for a more mild drizzle.
- While you're at it, prep your corn tortillas by wrapping in a slightly moistened paper towel and microwaving for 25-30 seconds to steam. I like to rub mine with a teeny bit of oil afterwards and toss them onto a heated pan for a minute or so on each side. This gives them a teeny bit of crunch/texture while still allowing them to bend soft-taco style.
- Next move on to the salmon. Heat a cast iron pan or skillet with a drizzle of oil and season both sides of your salmon with paprika, cayenne pepper, parsley, salt and freshly ground black pepper, along with any additional seasonings. The salmon I buy always has the skin left on one side - simply remove it with a knife or sear that side [unseasoned] first, it will peel right off after a minute or two! Follow up the skin removal by seasoning that side as well. I adore cooking my salmon with a sear/bake combo, but feel free to simply sear yours if you prefer to skip the extra step.
- Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 450 F.
- Once your pan is hot, add the salmon and sear on both sides for approx 2 minutes each. Look for a reddish/golden crust with a rare center.
- With a spatula, move the salmon to a foil lined baking sheet and bake for approximately 5-10 minutes depending on thickness. The result is a crisp, flavorful crust on the outside with a tender flaky inside.
- Now all that's left is to assemble your tacos, pile on the toppings, and dig in! Crushing a fresh lime wedge atop each taco before they hit your face is optional, but oh-so delicious =) Do it!
so… how was it?
Update: I counted. I’ve made these 500493483853958 times. I may have rounded.
While we’re at it, buy extra salmon so you can make this ridiculously yummy salad the next day: