I think this dish is the perfect counterpart to the hot, muggy, humid, rainy, gross, like the steam room you don't want to be in, summer day in New York City. There is no cooking involved other than searing the salmon, and it's the kind of meal that leaves you satisfied without feeling full. It also encompasses that lovely flavor combination tacos have; tangy and spicy, with a slight sweetness from the salmon and a crunch from the vegetables and lettuce leaves. This recipe can be made with many variations... try using a different fish, adding pickled vegetables, black beans, or any salsa you like.
I'd serve this with a cold soup and rice and beans.
2 heads of Butter or Boston lettuce (red or green variety)
1 1/2 pounds of salmon, skin removed
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1-2 limes (I like it very citrusy)
Sprinkle of salt and pepper
Sliced jalapeno and/or serrano peppers
Sliced green peppers
Cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped.
For the tacos:
Have all your ingredients ready before searing the fish.
Discard about two layers of the outer leaves from the heads of lettuce, so you have the crisp, inner leaves. Wash and dry well, then set aside.
Prepare the crema by whisking all the ingredients together and set aside.
Prepare your toppings by washing all the vegetables well and thinly slicing them. You can cube your avocado and sprinkle it with lime juice to prevent it from browning.
For the fish:
Dust the salmon with salt and pepper. Sprinkle a fine layer of cumin and oregano over it as well. Press the seasoning into the salmon, and place a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle the pan with olive oil, and after a minute (so the pan is nice and hot) place the salmon, seasoned size down and leave it alone. It will take about 5 minutes for it to crisp properly, but basically the trick is to not get freaked out. Don't check the fish by trying to lift it out of the pan, just leave it alone. You can tell when it is time to flip because the edges will be getting crispy and the fish will be getting white and cooked through up around the edges. Flip the fish and cook just for another minute and take off the heat. The salmon will continue to cook, and what you are going for is a barely pink center.
Let the salmon cool for about 5 minutes, and flake into nice sized pieces. Place the lettuce leaves on a large platter, and put a spoonful of crema in each and top with some nice pieces of salmon. You can top with the vegetables, or let your guests do the rest. Serve extra lime wedges on the side.