As I continue to look for healthy meals while training for the London Marathon, I thought I’d try something a little different this time and choose a fish dish. I must admit, I rarely cook fish as it’s not overly popular in my household unless it’s covered in breadcrumbs (and especially finger shaped!). However, the one fish that everyone does enjoy is salmon, so I had high hopes when I found these Crispy Salmon Tacos from Amelia Freer.
I thought I’d continue the theme of firsts and try my first non-beer food pairing, choosing a bottle of wine instead. The problem was, which wine? As having salmon isn’t that common for us, I thought I’d look for a drink that felt special give an extravagant and unique edge to the meal. There was only one wine for that situation – the Thomson & Scott Noughty Chardonnay.
Recipe: Crispy Salmon Tacos
When I’m looking for new recipes, I quite often struggle to choose, but when I saw this I knew I had to give it a go. In my house, anything that involves wrapping a tortilla around a spicy filling is a winner. Whether we’re having chilli with sour cream & salad, fajitas or enchiladas, everyone’s plates are quickly cleared.
Adding to the popularity of meals with a Mexican influence, I find there’s always something special about offering up a meal where everyone helps themselves. I don’t know if it’s because everyone is handing around plates of food or waiting for their favourite dish, but these kind of meals always feel more social and a great family experience.
Then there was the recipe itself. Reading through, there was nothing complicated in any of the steps or long cook times. In other words, it looked quick and easy and if you’ve been reading these food pairing blogs, you’ll know that’s a must.
Preparation: Faster Next Time
Preparing these tacos took surprisingly longer than I initially expected, but with the benefit of hindsight, that’s probably on me. I decided to prepare all the ingredients in advance before I started cooking which turned out to be unnecessary. The cooking time for cooking both the salmon and corn on the cob would have provided plenty of time for preparing the salsa ingredients. Next time I cook this, I’ll cook and prepare concurrently instead of consecutively.
When making a recipe for the first time, I nearly always follow the recipe exactly, then make notes on how I might tweak it in the future. However, this was one of those time I made a change first time round. In the hope of increasing its appeal to my kids, I added extra pineapple to make the salsa a little sweeter.
Except for my timings, this was such a simple recipe that there was really nothing I could get wrong. Apart from rubbing the spices into the salmon, everything else was a case of chopping up the ingredients ready to add to the salsa.
Meal: A Taco Wrapped Sensation
With everything cooked and the salsa made, everything was ready to go. Laying out the dishes ready for everyone to start making their own tacos, it looked fantastic. There were only a few dishes, but each was mouth-watering and using salmon for tacos had an added an intrigued that made me want to tuck in and see if it worked?
And the answer was absolutely!
Biting into a fully loaded taco delivered a flavour sensation. The salmon was soft and moist, but with a crispy edge that gave change in textures, whilst the Cajun spices adding flavour and a gentle heat.
Accompanying this was the salsa and its variety of flavours. The charred corn on the cob gave a solid base, but very quickly I experienced the diverse tastes. The lime added a sharpness, with subtle kicks of heat from the chilli slices all softened by the sweetness of the pineapple. Each mouthful was a delight and way too soon the salmon and salsa had gone after being enjoyed by an appreciative family.
Alcohol-Free Drink: Thomson & Scott Noughty Chardonnay
As I said above, having salmon always feels like a little extravagant so I wanted to find a drink that reflected that feeling and paired nicely with meal. It didn’t take me long to decide on the Thomson & Scott Noughty Chardonnay. Here’s a sparkling wine that’s an event in itself to drink, so extravagance was definitely covered. As an added bonus, “spiced food” is a pairing suggestion from Thomson & Scott, so that’s the tacos covered.
It’s always great to open a bottle of sparkling wine and watch the bubbles race up the champagne flute as it’s poured – it adds to the event of the meal.
The wine paired nicely with the spice of the tacos. It’s a nicely balanced wine with a crisp flavour. Like the pineapple in the tacos, there’s a subtle sweetness that’s hinted in the apple aroma that works nicely to balance the acidity.
The only problem with this little indulgence was the champagne flutes. Tall glasses with a high centre of gravity with young hands eagerly reaching across plates and dishes to load up their tacos were very nearly a recipe for disaster.
If you’re not after the same premium dining experience the Noughty offered or you just don’t want to risk your champagne flutes, these tacos would also go fantastically with beer. Something like a Nirvana Helles Lager or Drop Bear Yuzu Pale Ale would make a great pairing.
Buy Your Alcohol-Free Wine
If you want to add a little luxury to your Crispy Salmon Tacos, there’s several options available. You can either buy just a few bottles of the Noughty Chardonnay or you can try it with a few different alcohol-free wines from Wise Bartender.
Just click on the links and use the code GOODSTUFF to get 5% off.
My main concern when cooking was that the salmon would be cold by the time we got to eat it, but as everything is quickly cooked in the same pan one after the other, it’s not long until you’re dishing up. Consequently, the salmon is still warm and flavoursome instead of tasting like a meal left to go cold, so there’s no need to change this, as long as you move quickly between the steps of the recipe.
Whilst I was very impressed with these tacos, there was room for improvement in my preparation that I’ll learn from for the next time I cook them:
- Start cooking early – there’s no need to prep everything first as the cooking time provides plenty of opportunity to prepare the salsa ingredients.
- Cook the corn on the cob for longer – in my attempts to give the corn on the cob a nice, browned look, I had the heat on too high. This gave me good looking, but slightly underdone corn that was a bit crunchy in the salsa. Next time I’ll do what the recipe says (a common theme in my lessons learned!)
- Extra pineapple was a winner – the bonus ring gave the slightly sweeter edge I was hoping for and proved a success.
- Pour the Noughty after the tacos are made – this should reduce the risk of any Noughty disasters.
If you’re looking for a super tasty, quick and simple recipe with a twist that’s perfect for a social meal, look no further than these Crispy Salmon Tacos from Amelia Freer. I’d never have thought to use salmon in the tacos, but the crispy edge and Cajun spices make these perfect. Combined with a salsa that’s bursting with flavour, they make a perfect taco.
Drinking sparkling wine with tacos is probably a little over the top, but the Noughty accompanied the tacos nicely and worked well with the spices in the cajun and chilli. Having sparkling wine in champagne flutes certainly helped this meal feel more special and added to the overall experience. One that I look forward to repeating in the near future.
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