Smoked salmon tacos aren’t a thing in Mexico, but smoked marlin tacos are, and that’s the inspiration for this recipe, which is quick, easy, and tasty — once you have some smoked salmon on hand.
Keep in mind that this recipe relies on hot smoked salmon, the kind popular in the Pacific Northwest — I have an awesome recipe for smoked salmon here — and not the softer cold smoked salmon that you would get in say, Scotland.
This recipe hinges on good things to eat that play well with each other, rather than on any special cooking techniques or odd ingredients.
What’s more, it’s incredible quick to make (and eat), so it’s great for a work night. Pretty much the only thing that’s cooked are the peppers and the tortillas. Everything else is cool or room temperature.
Really the only prep here is the peppers, which are called rajas in Mexico. If you want to bang out your smoked salmon tacos in a hurry, you can use canned green chiles. But making the rajas from scratch, even a day or two before, is better.
Basically you roast poblanos or Anaheim (or Hatch) green chiles, remove the skins, stems and seeds, and cut the peppers into strips. I do this same thing with my turkey breast tacos, too, because, well, it’s amazing.
Similarly, you can of course use store-bought tortillas, but I prefer to make my own — here’s how to make corn tortillas at home. And while I do prefer corn here, I won’t judge you (this time) if you use flour. You do see fish on flour tortillas from time to time in Baja.
The remaining ingredients are there to play with each other.
My rendition of smoked salmon tacos uses flaked smoked salmon as the star, with the lime-soaked rajas underneath for a touch of tart and spicy, a little extra sour and fattiness from the avocados and Mexican crema (a thinner sour cream), plus the crunch of roasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.
If you want to add more heat to your smoked salmon tacos, simply drizzle on your favorite hot sauce. In this case, Huichol would be my favorite; it’s from the Pacific coast of Mexico.
Another great alternative is to skip the crema and avocados and go instead with my avocado-tomatillo salsa, which will get you to the same place — and which works very well with smoked salmon.
And if you’re looking for another idea for smoked fish tacos, I have a different recipe for tacos de marlin.
Smoked Salmon Tacos
- 3 poblano or Anaheim chiles
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 8 corn tortillas
- 1 pound smoked salmon
- 1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds)
- 2 avocados, diced
- Mexican crema or sour cream, to taste
- 4 limes, cut into wedges
- Hot sauce, to taste
- Char the skins of the chiles over a gas burner, grill or under the broiler. Put the chiles in a plastic bag or some other closed container to steam for 20 minutes. Scrape off the skins, remove the seeds and stems, and cut into strips or dice them. Salt well and soak in the 1/4 cup lime juice.
- When you are ready, flake out the smoked salmon; discard any skin and bones. Heat your tortillas and load them up with the salmon, the strips of roasted pepper, and avocados. Top with the crema, pumpkin seeds, and, if you want, lime juice and hot sauce.