Salmon is a hardy fish. It can hold its own against strong flavours, which these tacos are full of. It may seem like a lot of component parts are required here but all are individually straightforward and combine for a vibrant, spicy, predominantly pink, parcel of Mexicana.
Start by making an easy onion pickle. Finely chop a small red onion and mix it with the juice of two limes and a big pinch of rock salt. The salt lime bath draws the moisture out of the onions so they soften and lose some of their raw onioneyness. Leave this mixture for at least an hour, and overnight if you remember to make it ahead of time. This is a handy pickle for all sorts of dishes; pulled pork burritos, chicken fajitas, falafel; all benefit from the citrusy tang.
For base veg, cabbage is a bit more traditional than lettuce and adds a substantial crunch. Half a small red or white cabbage will do for two people, slice it as finely as possible.
To make the sauce mix together equal quantities of mayonnaise and yoghurt, about a tablespoon of each. Add a good few dashes of chipotle Tabasco (any hot sauce will do but this smoky stuff adds an edge) and a teaspoon or two of the lime juice from the onions (which should be pink by now). Give it a good stir and taste. Add more tabasco or lime juice if it needs it. You could dress the cabbage with this but I prefer to keep that neutral and spoon sauce over the top.
The beans are a savoury staple, and as with the onions, go with most things vaguely Mexican. Drain and rinse a can of black beans. Tip them into a pan with water still clinging to them and add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and a dash of light soy sauce. Boil the beans over a high heat, stirring often until they start to break down a bit. Once they’re starting to stick to the bottom of the pan, they’re done. Turn the heat off and stick a lid on them to keep them warm.
And, last but not least, the salmon. A fillet per person, covered with a dry spice mix and drizzled with oil, it’s grilled under a high heat until it develops a dark crust. This should take about ten minutes, stick a knife in the centre of the thickest one to check. If it comes out hot, the fish is done. I have a tin of Bart’s fajita seasoning that I use that’s been in my cupboard for a while but for a homemade mixture I’d use a teaspoon each of paprika, ground cumin and oregano and a pinch each of salt, sugar and cayenne or chilli powder.
Now it’s just a construction job. If you can get proper small soft tacos, they’d be great but otherwise use tortilla wraps, cut in half if you want the taco effect. Add a dollop of beans, squash on some of the flaked salmon, drape over some onions and nuzzle some cabbage in at the side. Spoon some of the chipotle lime sauce over the whole lot and demolish.