Southwestern Salmon Tacos

I’ve been staring at this blank page for what I’m sure by now must be an hour and a half.Writer’s block can be utterly frustrating, but as the minutes have ticked by, I’m finding that there's actually much to be said about sitting in one place and staring absently at a blank page.

To set the scene, I’m sitting in my workroom and I have a little window that looks out through the screened porch to the pine and mulberry trees and orchard beyond.

It’s a cloudy, but beautiful day, so my window is open.And even though I said I’ve been staring at this blank page for all of this time, that’s only partly true.  I've also been watching the squirrels hopping through the trees, snacking on mulberries that are just starting to ripen, and a mama robin tending her nest in the porch eaves, and I became a spectator to a very entertaining battle between a cardinal and what was most likely the ferociously protective papa robin.

A few minutes later the Husband announced that he was taking the dog for a walk and I couldn’t pass that up, so off I went and it was a lovely diversion.

Back in the chair, staring at the page, the trees, and then the distant sound of flip flops scurrying down the entry stairs.I recognize my grandson’s scramble to the kitchen drawer and the coin jar open and close and then those flip flops running to the playroom and the coin being deposited in the gumball machine.Once again, it’s jammed. and he comes to find me.I give it a try but no luck and no gumball.But not to worry, I have some DumDum suckers stashed in the snack drawer and he’s pretty happy about his consolation prize and off he goes (he lives just up the hill from us).

Back to the chair.And the page (still blank).And the mama robin (still nesting).And then the sound of my other grandson’s voice from the other side of the porch and I can tell he has the new puppy, Captain, with him.

As puppies go, this is one of the cutest I’ve set eyes on (a sweet little goldendoodle), and since this is his first full day with his new family, he’s still getting his bearings, but enjoying it all immensely.I can’t miss one minute of this visit, so out I go to get a few more photos and chat with my daughter and son-in-law who have followed the puppy down the hill.Another nice diversion, but my post is not going to write itself.

Back to the chair.And the blank page.You know, I didn’t set out to chronicle the events of this hour and a half, but I’m finding myself rather amazed at what there is to see and hear when one just sits quietly in one place for awhile. I’m pretty sure I need to do this more often.

What I did set out to do was to tell you about these absolutely scrumptious salmon tacos that totally blew our socks off.But now I’ve used up the entire page talking about other things, and really, what else is there to say when you think you may have just eaten the perfect taco.Here’s the recipe…

Southwestern Salmon Tacos

Click here for a printable recipe

These are some of the best tacos we've had in recent memory.  I made a few changes from the original recipe, which we think totally rocked.  In addition to the changes noted in the recipe, including serving these in homemade corn tortillas, I added some shredded lettuce and a little grated cheese to the tacos.  I also chose to spread the chipotle sour cream on the tortilla rather than adding it as a topping. 

Recipe adapted from The Splendid Table


2 avocados
2 tomatoes, cored and diced
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lemon (I used 3 tablespoons lime juice)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 (5- to 6-ounce) salmon fillets
1/4 cup canola oil
shredded lettuce or cabbage
grated cheese (a blend of jack and cheddar or some cotija cheese)
Eight 6-inch flour tortillas (I used homemade corn tortillas
Chipotle Sour Cream (recipe follows)
Cilantro leaves, for garnish 

Cut each avocado in half lengthwise and remove the pit. Carefully scoop the flesh from the shell and dice it. Toss the diced avocado with the tomato, onion, cilantro, and lemon or lime juice. Stir to mix and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. If you have access to an outdoor grill, then grill the salmon over a medium high heat for about 4 minutes per side or until just barely cooked through.  Alternately, you can do this in a cast iron skillet or saute pan, in which you will want to heat the oil until smoking over medium-high heat and cook the fillets, fleshy sides down, for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Transfer the salmon to a platter to cool slightly. Using your fingers, break each fillet into bite-sized pieces.

Spread each tortilla with some of the chipotle sour cream and top with the salmon chunks.  Top the salmon with a little of the shredded lettuce and then spoon heaping tablespoons of the avocado salsa over the lettuce. Sprinkle each taco with some of the grated cheese and cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.

Chipotle Sour Cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from the can
Kosher salt

Stir together the sour cream, chipotle pepper, and adobo sauce and mix well. Season to taste with salt. Serve right away or refrigerate, if not using soon.

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