Cinco de Mayo is approaching, and we’ll be featuring several Mexican-inspired dishes in the coming days. But I’ve been cooking tacos for months.
I was telling Cara the other day how disproportionately I eat Mexican food at home in comparison to how often I go out to Mexican restaurants. I’m much more likely to pick up a slice of pizza than a quick burrito when I’m dining on the run, and much to the horror of every one of my guy friends, I’ve never tried Chipotle, or had the desire to. I always enjoy the more original creations at less Tex-Mexy restaurants, but when push comes to shove, I would rather spend my $15 on some sushi than on the experience of watching someone make guacamole at my table.
But of all the global cuisines I cook at home, Tex-Mex has got to be my number one. Ever since my quesadilla craze of late winter, I’ve been finding more creative, healthier ways to channel my tortilla addiction. And lately, that has meant a lot of tacos.
When I am having friends over, I usually try and jazz up my everyday taco makings with some fish. We’ve done this a variety of different ways on the blog–Baja-style with some quick fried mahi mahi, Chef Jennie-style with some grilled orata marinaded in a mixture of lime and garlic, and, now, my mother’s style with some quick seared salmon and a splash of lemon.
This particular meal was a low-key affair. Keith was coming over for dinner, and I asked him to pick up some drinks to go with the fish tacos. I had just put the salmon in the pan to sear when he arrived, carrying tilapia instead of beer. Thanks to this bizarre miscommunication, we ended up adding a fourth method to the repetoire: Keith-style double fish tacos.
Though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this going forward, the second type of fish did make the meal a memorable one, and it goes to show how versatile and festive my type of taco can be, even without alcohol to wash it all down.
Stay tuned this week for some more Mexican recipes to help you plan your Cinco de Mayo festivities!
I’d reccomend this taco to start, and maybe a piniata.
From my kitchen, where I’ve been celebrating Cinco de Mayo since Diez de Febrero, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
For the beans:
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup BBQ sauce
1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
1/3 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
For the slaw:
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups shredded cabbage
3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
For the taco:
1.5lb salmon filets
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup chipotle crema
queso fresco (optional)
In a small non-stick skillet, saute the garlic and shallot in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat until soft. Add the beans, BBQ sauce, and seasonings and cook gently over low heat until the flavors are combined. Keep warm on the stove until the tacos are ready to be served.
Combine the lemon, mustard, oil, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the scallions and cabbage and toss to coat. Set aside.
Wrap the tortillas in foil and place in a 350 degree oven to warm.
Wash the salmon filets and pat dry with towels. In a cast-iron skillet, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil until it is smoking a little. To test the oil, flick it with a little bit of water. If it sizzles, the oil is hot enough. Put the filet flesh side down in the hot oil/butter.
When you can see the fish is cooked (opaque) about halfway up and the flesh side has a brownish crust, turn the heat down and flip the fish.
When the fish looks nearly cooked through, spoon some of the lemon juice over it. When the bottom is fully cooked, set aside. Season with salt.
Arrange the taco buffet for your guests: set the warm tortillas on a plate, and serve alongside the beans, slaw, salmon, chipotle crema, and cheese.