Here in landlocked Durango we have access to good fish at our markets. When I lived in more remote places in New Mexico, every month I would drive three hours to Albuquerque to stock up on things like tuna, salmon, swordfish, and good cheeses. I brought a cooler with me and iced everything down for the drive home. Then stocked my freezer…..whatever I could fit around all the bags of green chiles.
I bought this beautimous salmon at a local Durango market. We’re lucky to have so many options, including a little place called the Flying Fish that’s only open on Fridays and offers a fantastic assortment of seafoods and fresh fish.
Another item there is never a shortage of in Durango…..tequila. (Although I should note that there are dry counties and areas throughout the Southwest that don’t sell on Sundays….heads up Super Bowl and weekend party planner people.)
For this recipe I used a silver tequila to marinate the salmon. It resulted in a clean, lighter flavor. Having used an aged Anejo or Reposado in the past, I have to say that they have more body to them. I just happened to have silver on hand this time….it was still mighty tasty.
I prefer to start this the day before and let it all soak and mingle overnight in the fridge. First, I mix tequila with olive oil and agave syrup….
Then add chopped garlic, fresh lime juice, cumin, salt and black pepper.
It all goes into a sealed baggie with the salmon skin side up. If you don’t have the time for an overnight marinade, let it soak for at least 6 – 8 hours. I put mine on a plate because sometimes the baggie leaks.
Next day, first thing is fry the tortilla strips. 2 corn tortillas. Try cutting them into irregular shapes and lengths, it’s more fun to arrange them and create shapes on top of the salmon when they’re not all uniform.
Test one piece in canola oil, slightly above medium heat. When it starts to bubble and fry and crisps within a minute or so, you’re good to go. If it quickly burns, lower the heat and test again. If it sits there taking a nap with no sizzle…..up the heat a little and test.
Flip once with a spatula and lickety split they’re done.
Sprinkle lightly with salt while they’re still hot.
See how one made a loop? I put those aside so each plate gets at least one or two.
The tequila citrus sauce……it’s so creamy complex flavorful. And yet so easy to make.
Bring 1/2 cup tequila, juice of 1 lime, juice of 1/2 orange, a small sliced shallot, and 1 clove minced garlic to a boil.
Add 1/4 cup heavy cream and 3 tablespoons butter. Let it simmer on low for 5 minutes. Then pour it in a blender and puree until smooth. Or for just a whirl, leaving some bits and pieces for texture. Salt and pepper to taste.
When you move on to cook the salmon, cover the sauce with foil to keep warm.
A little olive oil and butter over medium heat.
Salmon goes in skin side up for 3 minutes, covered……
Flip and cook 4 more minutes, covered. Your preference, I leave it on until the center has just cooked through. Just take a knife and cut into the thickest section, then pull back to check for doneness. The garnishes will cover the slice mark. Also, I like to get a good char on the skin side.
Cut the fish into portions, spoon sauce onto one side of the plate. Place the fish on the other side, slightly overlapping the sauce.
Top with cubed avocado, sliced cherry or grape tomatoes, and a little minced red onion. I like to cut some of the tomatoes in half lengthwise and others quartered, to create more shapes for the plating.
The avocados make it easier to balance your tortilla sculpture.
Flakey marinated salmon, crunchy tortillas, creamy avocado, fresh flavor and bite from the tomato and onion. A little cilantro or parsley. And that sauce, I am not kidding it makes the dish.
I’d Order That……
TEQUILA SALMON with Tequila Citrus Sauce
- 1 piece of salmon (enough for two servings)
- 4 shots tequila (your preference)
- 2 Tblsp olive oil
- 2 tsp agave syrup
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
- juice of 1 lime (and the leftover rind-peelings)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 2 corn tortillas (cut into irregular strips)
- canola oil (enough to fill the pan 1/4 inch)
- salt (to lightly dust the hot tortilla strips)
- 1/2 cup tequila
- juice of 1 lime
- juice of 1/2 orange
- 1 small shallot (chopped)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 Tblsp butter
- salt and pepper to taste (for the sauce)
- 1 Tblsp olive oil (to cook the salmon)
- 1 Tblsp butter (to cook the salmon)
- 1/2 ripe avocado (cubed)
- 10 grape or cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 1 Tblsp red onion (diced or sliced very thin)
- cilantro or parsley for garnish
Makes 2 servings.
One day ahead, marinate the salmon using the first 9 ingredients. Place in a baggie overnight in the fridge.
If you don't have time for the overnight soak, marinate at least 6 - 8 hours.
If you find that the tequila citrus sauce is too thin after blending, let it reduce on medium-low heat, careful not to scald.
|The day before, place the salmon in a large sealable baggie. Whisk 4 shots tequila, 2 T. olive oil, 2 tsp. agave syrup, 2 chopped garlic cloves, juice of 1 lime, cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, in a small bowl. Pour into the bag with the salmon, along with the leftover lime rind - peelings. Place on a plate (in case the bag leaks) with the salmon skin up. Refrigerate overnight.|
|The next day, heat enough canola oil to cover 1/4 inch deep in a frying pan. Heat to just above medium. Test with a piece of tortilla. If it bubbles and crisps within a minute or so, continue to fry the remaining strips. If it burns, or barely sizzles, adjust heat accordingly. When fried, place on paper towels and dust with salt.|
|For the sauce, bring 1/2 cup tequila, juice of 1 lime, juice of 1/2 orange, diced shallot, 1 clove minced garlic to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add 1/4 cup heavy cream and 3 T. butter. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir, don't let it scald. Pour all into a blender and puree until smooth. Or, whirl it for a few seconds leaving a bit of texture from the shallot and garlic. Taste for salt and pepper. Cover with foil to keep warm while you cook the salmon.|
|For the salmon, remove it from the bag and discard the marinade. In a stove top grill pan, melt the olive oil and butter at medium high heat. Place the salmon skin side up and cook covered for 3 minutes. Flip, cook for another 4 minutes, covered, or until the center has just cooked through. Remove from pan to a cutting board. Cut into portions.|
|To plate, spoon sauce onto one half of a plate. Place the salmon over part of the sauce. Top with cubed avocado, tomato, and red onion. have fun arranging your tortilla strip sculpture on top, using the avocados to secure them in place. Arrange cilantro or parley for garnish. Repeat for the other plate and serve immediately.|