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Barbecue Secrets

Summer 2011 Recipe of the Week #2: Triumphant Torres Tacos

Jun 3, 2011

Triumphant Torres Tacos

This recipe for delicious grilled salmon tacos is my tribute to Vancouver Canuck Raffe Torres, who scored the game-winning goal in the first game of this year’s Stanley Cup Final series. Serve this dish with a cold Canadian beer, or a crisp, fruity British Columbia white wine.

Makes 16 tacos, enough for 4–6 as a main course, or 16 appetizer servings

For the sauce: 

1/2 cup | 125 mL Margie’s Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Mayo (see recipe below)

¼ cup | 60 mL sour cream or yoghurt

1 Tbsp | 15 mL fresh lime juice

For the Red Onion, Green Mango, and Jalapeño pickle:

2 cups | 500 mL rice vinegar or white wine vinegar

3 Tbsp | 45 mL freshly squeezed lime juice

1 Tbsp | 60 mL kosher salt

1 medium red onion, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into thin strips

2 large jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and cut into thin strips

1 green (unripe) mango, peeled, cored, and cut into thin strips

For the salmon tacos:

one 2 lb | 1 kg side of wild sockeye or coho salmon, skin on

about 1 tsp | 5 mL Rockin’ Ronnie’s Grilling Rub or seasoning salt

For the rest of the fixins:

16 white corn tortillas

1 batch of Smoked Tomato Guacamole (see recipe below)

half a head of iceberg lettuce, chopped

½ cup | 125 mL chopped fresh cilantro

Louisiana-style hot sauce

Combine the sauce ingredients and set the mixture aside in the refrigerator.

Combine the rice vinegar, lime juice, and salt in a saucepan and cook the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring it until the salt dissolves and the mixture comes barely to a boil. Place the onion, jalapeño, and mango slices in a bowl and pour the hot vinegar mixture over them. Let the pickle stand at room temperature for at least one hour and up to 8 hours. Transfer it to a storage container and refrigerate it.

Prepare your grill for medium direct heat. Sprinkle the salmon with a light coating of the grilling rub. Let the rubbed salmon sit for a few minutes, until it starts to glisten. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the cooking grate and grill it for 8–12 minutes, until the salmon springs back to your touch or comes to an internal temperature of about 130 to 140˚F | 55 to 60˚C.

While the salmon is cooking, heat a sauté pan to medium-high and lightly toast both sides of each of the corn tortillas in the hot, dry pan. Keep the heated pile of tortillas warm by covering them with a clean, damp dishcloth.

Take the side of salmon off the grill with a long spatula (or a couple of short ones). It should come right off the skin. Transfer the salmon to a cutting board and let it rest, tented in foil, for 5 minutes.

While the salmon is resting, return to the grill and try to pull the salmon skin off with a set of tongs. If it comes off easily, flip it over and lightly grill the other side for no more than 30 seconds (if it doesn’t come off easily, I usually tear what I can off the grill and eat it right then and there). Transfer the skin to a plate and set it aside. As it cooks, it will become very crisp, like bacon.

Slice the salmon into ½ inch | 1 cm strips (the fish may break apart when you slice it, but that’s okay) and place the slices in a serving dish. Coarsely chop the salmon skin and place it in a small serving bowl.

To serve the tacos, lay out the tortillas, salmon, salmon skin, sauce, pickles, guacamole, chopped lettuce, chopped cilantro, and hot sauce on a table and let your guests assemble their own.

Margie’s Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Mayo

This invention of Calgary caterer Margie Gibb is particularly good as a dip for pieces of smoked or grilled sausage, but it’s also great on just about anything.

11/2 cups | 375 mL mayonnaise

1 whole head roasted garlic, cloves squeezed

out of their skins, or ½ teaspoon granulated garlic

1 tsp | 5 mL finely ground cumin (preferably made

from toasted cumin seeds)

1 Tbsp | 15 mL chopped chipotles in adobo sauce

(add more chipotle if you like it hot)

Combine the mayonnaise with the other ingredients in a food processor and whiz them until they’re smooth, then refrigerate the result. If possible, store it in the refrigerator for a day, or at least a few hours, to let the flavors marry and intensify.

Chunky Tomato Guacamole

Makes about 2 cups | 500 mL of guacamole

2 large ripe but still firm avocados

2 ripe tomatoes

4 tsp | 20 mL fresh lime juice or 2 Tbsp | 25 mL fresh lemon juice

1 clove garlic, finely minced

2 Tbsp | 25 mL chopped cilantro

3 tinned green chiles, rinsed, seeded, and chopped

1 finely minced fresh jalapeño or serrano chile (optional)

kosher salt

Peel the avocados and remove the pits. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and avocados and transfer them to a salad bowl. Add lime or lemon juice, garlic, chopped cilantro, green chiles, and hot chiles, if desired, and gently toss the mixture. Season the guacamole to taste with salt, give it one last toss, and it’s ready to serve.