Chef Paul Wilson's Taqueria is an homage to Mexico's most popular feel-good foods.
- 12 tortillas
- 14 oz pin-boned Atlantic salmon fillet, skin on
- olive oil, for frying
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 1 large salad onion, sliced
- 1/2 small dried chipotle chilli, finely sliced
- 1 yellow bullhorn chilli, sliced into rounds
- 7 oz mixed red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 3/4 oz kalamata olives, halved
- 2 1/2 fl oz sherry vinegar
- juice of 1 orange
- 2 1/2 fl oz agave syrup
- 1 bunch basil leaves, shredded
- 2 peeled Lebanese (short) cucumbers, finely diced
- 1/2 bunch dill
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- juice of 2 limes
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 fl oz merlot vinegar
- 3 1/2 fl oz tamarind pulp
- 13 1/2 fl oz orange juice, plus zest of 1 orange
- 10 fl oz agave syrup, plus extra to taste
- 4 jalapeños
- 2 red habanero chillies, halved and de-seeded
- 8 garlic cloves
- 6 ripe organic tomatoes
- 1 3/4 fl oz olive oil
- 3 1/2 fl oz boiling water
- juice of 1 lime
- pinch of ground cumin
- sea salt to taste
Make the Chilli Mole
Preheat an overhead grill (broiler) to high heat.
Combine the vinegar and tamarind in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the orange juice and zest, return to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes until thickened and reduced. Add the agave, return to the boil and reduce down further until the mixture is glossy.
Meanwhile, place the chillies, garlic and tomatoes on a grill tray and grill (broil) for 20 minutes until softened and caramelized.
Transfer to a food processor or blender and pulse briefly, gradually adding the olive oil and boiling water as you go, to make a smooth sauce.
Season with the lime juice, cumin and salt to taste and store in sterilized jars for up to 1 month. Makes 2 cups.
Make the Salmon
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
To prepare the salmon, using a sharp knife, cut the salmon fillet along the seam of flesh that separates the belly from the loin. Cut into two pieces, separating the belly from the loin.
Heat a splash of olive oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over high heat. Season the salmon pieces with salt, then place them in the hot pan, skin side down, and cook for 2 minutes, pressing the pieces down with your hands to ensure they cook flat. Cook for a further 1 minute, then transfer to the oven, skin side down, and cook for 2 minutes.
Remove the salmon from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack, then cut into 1-inch thick slices using a sharp knife.
Add another splash of olive oil to the pan together with the garlic, onion, chipotle, bullhorn chilli, tomatoes and olives and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the vinegar and orange juice, bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid has almost evaporated, then add the agave syrup and simmer until reduced to a thick, sticky coating.
Transfer the vegetable mixture to a small bowl, add the basil leaves and season to taste. Set aside to cool.
Heat a medium non-stick pan over high heat. Lightly spray with oil and briefly fry the tortillas to warm them. Stack the tortillas, wrap in a warm damp tea towel (dish towel) and set aside to keep warm.
To make the salsa, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
To serve, divide the tortillas among serving plates. Spoon over a little tamarind chilli mole, if using, and top with the salmon slices, vegetable mix and a pile of the salsa. Serve immediately with more tamarind chilli mole on the side for dipping. Serves 6.
About this recipe
“Baja–med is a delicious fusion of Mexican and Mediterranean cookery found in the border town of Tijuana and elsewhere in Mexico’s Baja California. These tacos are fresh, colourful and abundant, like the region. Cooking the salmon in two pieces is a simple technique that will ensure the fish will be moist, luscious and evenly cooked.
[Tamarind chilli mole] is my go-to barbecue meat salsa. It also gives a great flavor boost to slow-cooked meats, while a little stirred through mayonnaise or sour cream will help lift and enliven anything from tacos to fried seafood.” – Paul Wilson
Recipes from Taqueria by Paul Wilson, Hardie Grant Books, 2017. Photography by Chris Middleton.