Cinco de Mayo is a hot topic this week. In our house we look to Mexico for inspiring flavors all year. One of my favorite flavors from Mexico comes from the chipotle pepper. This wonderful pepper is made from smoked jalepeño peppers, smothered in adobo sauce. The word “chipotle” comes from the Aztec word for smoked, chilpoctli. You can find them in cans at most grocery stores (at least, in California). Chipotle peppers add depth and complexity to any recipe.
My favorite fish is wild Pacific Ocean salmon. For this easy-to-make recipe I brought these two wonderful palate pleasers together. The spices combine with the richness of the fresh salmon for a mouth-watering feast.
To make Chipotle Salmon Tacos with Chipotle slaw for six people you’ll need the following. Prep time is about 25 minutes. Cooking time is about 10 minutes.
For the rub
1/2 tsp. – chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp. – ground cumin seed
1/2 tsp. – salt
1/4 tsp. – cayenne chili powder
1/4 tsp. – ground cinnamon
For the salmon
1-1/2 lbs – salmon filets, about one inch thick
For the slaw
3 cups - sliced green cabbage
1 cup - sliced purple cabbage
2 – thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup – chopped red bell pepper
1/3 cup – finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup - yogurt
4 Tbsp. - lime juice (about two limes)
3 Tbsp. - finely diced canned chipotle pepper with sauce
12 – flour tortillas
Grated Monterey jack cheese
Note: I like fresh tortillas rather than store-bought cooked. Most store-bought tortillas are already cooked and all you do is re-heat them. Making your own from scratch takes time and practice. Another option is to buy uncooked tortillas. We just discovered organic uncooked tortillas from Tortilla Land. They cook up golden brown in less than 90 seconds and taste closer to fresh made than the most common precooked varieties.
To prepare the salmon
Place the rub ingredients in a small bowl and thoroughly mix. Lightly brush the filets with the vegetable oil. Spread the rub evenly over the flesh side of the salmon to evenly coat. Cover and place in the refrigerator until needed. You can set up the fish several hours ahead of time to allow the spices to seep into the fish.
Heat a grill to medium high (450 degrees). If you do not have a grill, or the weather is cold, you can use the broiler in your oven. When the grill is ready, place the fish skin side down and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and repeat. If you are using a broiler place the fish skin side up.
For the slaw
Place the yogurt, lime juice and chipotle pepper in a large bowl. Stir to thoroughly mix.
Thinly slice the cabbage and cut into one- to two-inch lengths. Finely chop the cilantro. Roughly chop the red bell pepper into 1/8 inch pieces. Place all of the vegetables into the bowl with the dressing ingredients. Mix until all the ingredients are coated with dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can make the slaw several hours to a day ahead and let it sit in the refrigerator so the flavors meld.
Complete the tacos
Place a pan on the stove and heat to medium. Cook (or warm) your tortillas for 30 seconds to one minute per side. You do not need oil or butter in the pan.
Place about 2 oz. of the fish on each tortilla, top with the chipotle slaw and add grated cheese. Fold in half, place two tacos on each plate and enjoy.
Serve with salsa, avocado or other toppings for a little more variety.
© Bob Mack/Luvs Good Food