Wild Alaskan Salmon: Silver, Sockeye, Chinook, Reds, King, Coho, Humpies, Keta – endless names to describe a large genus of beautiful river spawning, ocean dwelling fish. In the UK the names are interchangeable, all pointing to an expensive imported purchase, either fresh or traditionally in a tin (pink or red). Did you know that the only factory in the USA on the M&S website is a cannery on the Aleutian chain?
But within Alaska the names are significant, indicating a particular fishing season, a size, flavour, texture, livelihood, sport, existence.
I was going to make fish fajitas, but the weather has changed, so indoors it is, and Salmon salad tacos.
- Tortilla shells: 100g plain flour, 25g wholemeal flour, salt, pepper, water.
- Fish salad: one fresh salmon portion per person, a handful of crunchy lettuce leaves, a few slices of endive, spring onion, yellow pepper, red chilli, fresh coriander or dill leaves, one lime, oil and vinegar, pepper and salt.
- Mayonnaise: one egg yolk, 100-150ml olive oil, a squish of English mustard, lime juice, crushed garlic, pepper and salt.
- Method: make the tortilla shells using the tortillapati recipe. Cover and leave. Make the mayonnaise: put an egg yolk into a fairly large mixing bowl. Stir it around with a wooden spoon. Squeeze in a bit of made up English mustard. Then pour some olive oil into a smallish jug. Continue to stir the egg with one arm while raising the jug with the other and drip by drip (caution – one drop at a time) introduce the olive oil. After a few minutes you should notice a distinct thickening and at this time can increase the flow to the thinnest possible stream. Keep on stirring and gradually you will notice that the mixture is beginning to gellify. Continue until you start to become horrified by the amount of oil used. Once complete the mayonnaise should have soft peaks. Stir in some lime juice, a little wine vinegar, crushed garlic, and taste to see if it is the way you like it.
Cook the salmon portion in a pan or under the grill. Once cooked, squeeze over plenty of lime juice and a grind of black pepper. Leave while you make the salad. Put a teaspoonful of oil and vinegar in a largish bowl. Then add the lettuce leaves, endive, spring onions, sliced peppers, coriander/dill leaves, chilli, garlic pepper and salt. Toss them all together.
Assemble the taco/s: break up the fish a little into 4 or 5 chunks and stir into some of the mayonnaise. Fold a tortilla and spoon in some salad, followed by the fish and mayonnaise. Pour a glass of California pinot grigio and maybe a blast of The Salmon Song (Steve Hillage: Fish Rising, 1977)