Salmon tacos are one of the easiest and most delicious weeknight whip-ups you can make. Add a little Gaucho marinade with thyme, oregano and fire roasted peppers to inject serious flavour into the salmon.
The key to this dish is the freshest salmon you can get your hands on and usually the local fisho can help you out with that. Good salmon should smell like fish but not fishy. Sound confusing?
Well, the difference is entirely on the quality of the smell it produces. Good fish produces a rather gentle and rich smell whereas bad fish, on the other hand, tends to produce a terrible stench. Fresh salmon tends to produce a wonderful smell that might easily remind you of the sea. It’s a mild scent which will not arouse suspicions. On the contrary, a bad fishy smell tends to be pungent. This is because as salmon or any fish decomposes, it starts to produce an ammonia-like substance. This smell tends to be quite strong and therefore it is difficult to ignore. Trust your instincts. If your spider sense is tingling, then listen to it. It is always better to be safe than sorry. When I lived with my wife in Queenstown, New Zealand, for a year I was amazed to see salmon and trout roam wild in the pristine environment. You can see huge salmon, easily 15kg or more, swimming in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Wakatipu. Some of the locals joke they could eat a small child swimming, which is highly unlikely as the lake is fed by glaciers and averages about 12°C in the height of summer and 8°C in the winter. It is absolutely mesmerising to watch these incredibly graceful creatures swim around. I was working as the sous chef at a high end seafood restaurant right on the lakefront and often on my break I would lose track of time watching them swim around. Then suddenly I’d hear the head chef call out to me from the back kitchen door: “Hey Dylan! you coming back to work or not?! I’m getting slammed with orders you egg.” That’s an affectionate word Kiwis use for fool. He was a Kiwi born, Dutch Michelin trained chef and reluctantly gave us a 15 minute break each 12 hour shift. Did you know European settlers brought trout and salmon to New Zealand’s lakes and rivers so they could fish them for sport? The most common species today are brown trout, rainbow trout and Chinook salmon. Salmon is incredibly good for you, packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, proteins and B vitamins and is farmed which means it's reasonably sustainable. This meal is super easy, so if you like salmon and tacos give it a whirl.
PREP TIME: 20 mins
COOKING TIME: 10-15 mins
8 flour soft tortillas
2 cups cabbage or cos lettuce, shredded
1 bunch coriander, chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges
2 x 200g fresh salmon fillets, remove skin
2 cups cabbage, finely shredded
2 tbsps oil
2 tbsps GAUCHO
2 medium ripe avocados
1/3 cup red onion, finely sliced
1/3 cup sliced pickled jalapeños
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
Arrange the salmon on a plate or cutting board.
Mix GAUCHO and oil in a bowl and coat the salmon generously with the marinade on the flesh side only. Marinate for 20 mins MAX.
Grill on high on the BBQ or in a heavy-bottomed fry pan over medium heat; heat 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, add the salmon flesh side down.
Cook for about 3 minutes per side until skin is crispy and the salmon is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork. The salmon should be opaque throughout.
Transfer the cooked salmon to a plate and use a fork to break the salmon into large chunks.
Char the tortillas on a gas stove top or grill.
Slice avocado or better still make an avocado salsa: In a large mortar and pestle, add the avocado, finely diced red onion, coriander, jalapeños, garlic, and lime juice. Stir vigorously to combine until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Fill each tortilla with lettuce or shredded cabbage, red onion, coriander, and flaked salmon chunks.
Add a dollop of your avocado salsa to soft tacos and serve with chipotle mayo and lime wedges for that extra tang. Quench your thirst with a few cheeky ice cold Coronas.