[makes 8 tacos]
1 CUP tomatillo salsa*
1 fresh tomatillo, husked and diced
2 small ripe avocados or 1 large ripe avocado, pitted and cubed
3 scallions, green ends only, chopped
2 TB cilantro, chopped
6 TB Mexican crema (or sour cream if you must)
1/2 TSP salt or to taste
a few grinds of pepper or to taste
4 CUPS cabbage, chopped or shredded
* If you don't have a hookup for prepared tomatillo salsa, you can food-process or chop fine: 2-3 husked tomatillos; 1-2 garlic cloves; 1 jalapeno pepper (or 2 serrano peppers or whatever); 2 TB cilantro
2 TSP ground cumin
2 TSP chili powder (ideally chipotle or ancho)
1 TSP Old Bay seasoning or similar bay powder
2 TSP brown sugar
1/2 TSP fresh-ground coffee
1 TSP sea salt
1 LB skinless salmon filets, cut into roughly one-inch cubes
1 TB+ olive oil
1/2 of a large red onion, chopped
8 taco-sized tortillas (flour or corn, your choice)
Crumbled queso fresco
First, make the slaw. I cannot overstate this. You'll want to serve the tacos while the fish is still hot, so the slaw has to be made first. In a large glass bowl, mix the salsa and the diced tomatillo. Add the cubed avocado and mash it into the salsa with a fork. Mix in scallions and cilantro, then add the crema and stir it all together into a white creamy dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste, then dump in the cabbage and thoroughly toss with the dressing. Set the slaw aside and let it think about what it's done.
Start preparing your taco tortillas as you normally would. Brush with oil, stack, wrap in foil, bake in 300°F oven for 10 MINS. If you microwave or fry your shells instead, do that last, of course, or better yet have someone else do it while you're finishing up the fish.
Heat 1 TB or so of oil in large skillet over medium heat. Mix the cumin, chili powder, Old Bay, brown sugar, coffee, and salt into a rub. Start frying the onion in the skillet. Toss the salmon cubes in more olive oil; once coated, toss them with the rub mixture. Now into the skillet with them, tumbling gently (don't flake them!) until cooked on all sides; 2-3 MINS or more if you like your salmon less rare (or don't trust your salmon).
Into each tortilla, put: 2 OZ salmon and onion mixture, a line of crumbled queso fresco, heaping spoonful of slaw.
Serve with hot sauce (ideally green chili sauce) and lime segments on the table.
The origin story of this recipe belies its seeming glittering perfection. I had some iffy salmon ("Packaged in China" should have been a warning sign) to get rid of, so on the advice of mollpeartree I decided to make salmon tacos. I upped the spice mix and overcooked the fish to mask the salmon's mediocre flavor -- consider this the version to use if you, too, have been seduced by frozen Chinese salmon on sale cheap. Also, the Chinese salmon wasn't skinless, so I had to peel the skin off it after cooking and before chopping the fish. In the event, it turned out we had only burrito shells, so they became salmon quesadillas when all was said and done (with the slaw on the side).
But ALL THAT SAID the principles and fundamentals are sound and I stand by this recipe in its entirety.