Thursday, March 1, 2012

Grilled Salmon Soft Tacos

It's hard to believe there was a time in my life when I didn't like fish. As a kid, the only seafood I would eat was shrimp, tuna salad, and my dad's homemade cornmeal-breaded fish sticks. Now my freezer is well-stocked with fish fillets, I eat fish at least once a week for dinner, and have an insatiable appetite for sushi. A lot of fish fillets find their way onto my dinner table, but after picking up a package of corn tortillas, I couldn't get fish tacos out of my head. Fish tacos are traditionally made with white fish, so I had to do a little digging to find a salmon taco recipe (to use up the fish I already had) that seemed worth the effort, which this recipe definitely was. Smoky ancho chile powder coats the luscious salmon, turning into an intensely flavorful crust on the grill and playing beautifully against the fresh and crunchy cabbage slaw and cool, creamy cilantro crema. Since ancho chile powder isn't spicy, this is a great recipe for those who don't like a lot of heat (my husband); throw on a few pickled jalapenos to punch it up if you're a capsaicin addict like me. These light and fresh tacos invoked a small taste of summer, taking me away from the frigid winter winds of February into the sunny days of July. Although a complete meal on their own, I added a side of refried beans to satisfy my ravenous appetite, washing it all down with a cold beer while trying to forget about the snow.

Grilled Salmon Soft Tacos
adapted from Eating Well
serves 4

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ancho or New Mexico chile powder
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 4-ounce wild salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick, skin on
8 6-inch corn or flour tortillas, warmed
Cabbage Slaw, for serving (recipe follows)
Homemade or store-bought salsa, for serving
Cilantro Crema, for serving (recipe follows)

1. Preheat grill to medium-high.

2. Combine oil, chile powder, lime juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture liberally over salmon. Grill the salmon, skin-side down, until it is just cooked through, about 8 minutes. Cut each fillet lengthwise into 2 pieces and remove the skin.
3. To serve, place 2 tortillas on each plate. Evenly divide the fish, Cabbage Slaw, and Cilantro Crema among the tortillas and top with salsa.

Cilantro Crema
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon minced scallion greens
1 teaspoon seeded and minced serrano chile
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Combine sour cream, cilantro, scallion greens, chile, salt and pepper in a small bowl until smooth.

Cabbage Slaw
2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Toss cabbage, bell pepper, onion, vinegar and oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper; toss again to combine.

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