Smoked Salmon Tacos
As many of you know from previous blog posts, I grew up by the Gulf of California on the mainland side of Mexico. We love our steak and we also love seafood. For breakfast we love battered shrimp tacos or caguamanta (manta ray)…we also have marlin tacos. My friend Ramiro’s dad used to have a sushi restaurant and it was delicious with an influence of Mexican flavors. He had marlin tacos on the menu and I always devoured them! Now, there was a campaign to take marlin off the menu due to its issues in Florida, so recently our POTUS in Aug 2018 signed a bill that no billfish can be entered into trade or sold in the continental USA. Look, not going to take sides on this though it may be that the marlin from the Pacific side and Hawaiian region is in a healthy population size, so this law intended for Florida affects all of billfish. Long story short, I can no longer get marlin in KC, I can’t get it flown in, nada. Instead I came up with salmon tacos mimicking how you would make marlin. Thus, if you are ever in the Gulf of California, Cabos, etc. try them – they are delicious!
2 lbs of salmon
1 cup of brown sugar
1/3 cup of salt
1 qt of water
*Chipotle / Sugar mix (optional)
*Honey / Maple syrup (optional)
2 garlic cloves
1 cup of chicken broth
1 tbsp of grapeseed oil
¼ white onion
Mexican Bouillon for seasoning vs. salt
Chihuahua or Monterey Jack Cheese (grated)
White or Yellow Corn tortillas
How to prepare
Start by brining your salmon – mix the sugar, salt and water and set in your fish – let it brine for at least 2 hours, max 4 hours. Remove afterwards and completely pat dry. I like to sprinkle some more brown sugar and chipotle (optional). Set your smoker at a very cool temperature about 150 and smoke for an hour. Bring your heat up to 175 and cook for an additional 2 hours. Throughout, you can baste it with honey or maple syrup. Once done, remove from the smoker and let it completely cool down.
In the meantime, in a baking sheet place 3 of the tomatoes, 1 serrano and 2 garlic cloves. Broil for a couple minutes then flip the tomatoes for another 2 minutes. Take them out and let them cool. Remove the skin off the tomatoes and cut the top from the serrano. Put the serrano, tomatoes and garlic in a blender and blend until smooth. Chop your remaining tomato, onion and remaining serrano pepper. In a sauté pan, heat up 1 tbsp of grapeseed oil and add your chopped tomato, onion and serrano. Sauté until the onions are translucent, then add the blended tomatoes. Add 1 cup of chicken broth and cook down for 5 minutes. Season with bouillon to taste.
Once your salmon is cool tear it apart making sure you have bigger chunks without any skin or bones. Add to your tomato mixture and carefully coat – letting it soak up some of the juices for another 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and set aside.
In a cast iron comal or heavy bottom pan, heat up your tortillas with a little butter. Add the cheese as if you were making quesadillas. Once the cheese is gooey add the salmon and let the outside of the tortilla brown a little. Serve immediately with shredded lettuce and lime wedges.