Yep, it’s November. Nope, haven’t started thinking about Thanksgiving yet. Please don’t leave – I’ve got tacos for you.
Maybe because it still feels like summer here or maybe because my kids have been hitting our favorite taco spot a lot lately, I have definitely had tacos on the brain for the last few weeks. I decided I just needed to get tacos out of my system before I could move on to all things pumpkin, gingerbread, and holiday related. Given that we are in the holiday season, I wanted to do something light and even a little bit healthy which naturally led to salmon tacos.
I decided to make blackened salmon tacos since I’ve already done the pan-fried and beer-battered variations of fish tacos. It may also have to do with the fact that the previously mentioned favorite taco spot has great blackened salmon tacos that I’ve been wanting to replicate at home. Traditionally, “blackened” is when fish is dipped in melted butter, dredged in spices, and then pan-fried in more butter. For this recipe, I replaced the butter with olive oil and opted for oven roasting rather than frying to keep things on the healthy side. The amount of spices will seem like way too much but you will need all of it to get the desired depth of flavor. I find it helpful to rub the spices with the olive oil to form a paste that adheres to the salmon.
The accompanying avocado sauce and black bean and corn relish is how the blackened salmon tacos are served at the restaurant so I replicated those recipes here as well. The black bean and corn combination is a departure from fresh pico de gallo that I usually pair with fish tacos but it really works here. And the avocado sauce is so good I often find myself using it as a dip with tortilla chips. If you’re short on time and had to choose between making the sauce and making the black bean and corn relish, make the sauce. It’s a tough choice but the avocado sauce ties everything together. You can toss the sauce with some shredded cabbage to add some crunch to your tacos if you’re in a hurry.
Now that I’ve gotten the taco situation handled, let’s move on to the season at hand. Soups, pumpkin waffles, gingerbread cookies here I come.
- ½ tablespoon chili powder
- ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1¼ pounds salmon fillet
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into big chunks
- ¼ cup low-fat sour cream
- ¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (loosely packed)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed well
- 1¼ cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
- 2 tablespoons diced red onion (optional)
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Corn or flour tortillas, warmed
- Crumbled cotija cheese
- Cilantro leaves
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Place salmon on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle spice mixture on the salmon fillet. Rub spices and olive oil on the salmon forming a thick paste that evenly coats the salmon, drizzle additional tablespoon of olive oil if coating is too dry.
- Bake the salmon until just cooked through, 15-20 minutes.
- While the salmon cooks, make the avocado sauce and black bean and corn relish.
- In the bowl of a small food processor, add the avocado, sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, white wine vinegar, lime juice, and salt.
- Process until mixture is smooth. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the black bean, corn, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Taste and season with additional lime juice and salt as desired.
- Using a fork, flake the salmon into large chunks. To serve, set out the salmon along with the tortillas, black bean & corn relish, avocado sauce, cotija cheese, and cilantro, and let everyone create their own tacos.