Spicy salmon, paired with avocado crema and your favorite toppings, makes Blackened Salmon Tacos a fun and tasty lunch or dinner.
When I’m looking for a meal that is fun, casual and easy—and something that packs a whole lot of flavor—I think of two foods. Pizza and tacos.
And tacos may even have the edge. You can add a lot of nutrition with healthy toppings and they come in so many unique and varied versions.
Like these Blackened Salmon Tacos.
What is Blackened Salmon?
Back in 1980, New Orleans Chef Paul Prudhomme began a long and popular food trend when he created Blackened Redfish. Dipping in Cajun spices and searing, created over the top flavor and chefs soon began doing this to everything from chicken (see my Blackened Chicken) to shrimp (yes, I also do a Blackened Shrimp).
The initial dish was served as an entrée, but today blackened foods are used to top salads, stuff tacos and… you name it.
Why You’ll Love This!
Fun. How do you beat setting out toppings and letting people assemble their own tacos for aa fun lunch or dinner.
Tasty. Blackened shrimp is loaded with flavor in the first place. Add some tasty toppings and you’re over the top!
Healthy. Between the omega-3 loaded salmon and the healthy toppings, this is healthier than the average quick lunch!
What You’ll Need
For the tacos:
- Seasoning. Cajun seasoning mix or paprika, cayenne pepper, dried thyme, dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and salt.
- Salmon filets.
- Accompaniments. These add flavor and nutrition. Pick from chopped lettuce, tomato, Cilantro, red onion, avocado, fruit salsa and more.
For the avocado crema:
- Avocado. This adds avocado flavor and creaminess
- Cilantro. This adds flavor but you can omit if you aren’t an avocado lover.
- Sour cream or thick yogurt. This provides a creamy base.
- Salt. This enhances the flavor.
- Lime. This adds flavor and brightness.
- Garlic. This adds flavor.
- A Stainless steel or Cast iron skillet is good since you are searing at a high temperature.
Step by Step Directions
Check salmon for bones. If desired remove skin and slice.
Coat with seasoning mix.
Sear the salmon.
Set everything on table for guests to assemble.
Should I skin the fish before cooking?
There are pros and cons to removing the skin before cooking. The biggest con is that it’s an additional step and one that most people aren’t familiar with. And once cooked, the skin is easily removed so it’s a step that isn’t necessary.
The biggest pro is that it lets you get spices on all sides of the fish. I did this today, but on a busier day, I’d probably leave it on.
If you decide to remove the skin, I find a combination of sliding a sharp knife between the skin and fish and pulling on the skin to be effective. I start by cutting a flap large enough to get a grip on. Then I pull up on the skin and use the knife to cut them apart anywhere the skin doesn’t separate cleanly.
How to Serve
Blackened Salmon Tacos make a fabulous lunch or light dinner. And because salmon has a touch of elegance it’s a dish that’s easy to upscale. In fact we had a taco bar at my daughter’s post-Covid wedding garden party celebration.
Feel free to garnish as simply or ass lavishly as you’d like. So many things go well with blackened salmon tacos. Consider guacamole or avocado, jalapeno slices, chopped cilantro, chopped tomatoes, lettuce and onions.
I especially like adding a fruit salsa like my mango salsa. I feel that since salmon is a heavier fish, it does really well with the brightening power of fruit.
Beans and rice are very tasty as side dishes. And for a special beverage, consider a Refreshing Mango Agua Fresca
Store any leftovers in the refrigerator and use within a few days.
Tips & FAQs
Do I need to worry about smoke when I blacken the salmon? Traditionally this would be cooked in butter which would create a lot of smoke. In fact many people suggest preparing it outside. But although butter adds flavor, I’ve made the compromise to use a non-stick spray which doesn’t produce as much smoke.
Always check your fish for bones. There are many reports in my Community Supported Fishery Facebook group of people choking on bones, sometimes requiring a doctor’s visit.
Can I use pre-mixed Cajun spices? Absolutely!
Taco About It
- Blackened Salmon Tacos from Art of Natural Living
- Bratwurst Tacos from Palatable Pastime
- Buffalo Chicken Tacos from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Grilled Shrimp Tacos from That Recipe
- Instant Pot Pork Verde Tacos from Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Sweet Potato Tacos from Jen Around the World
Blackened Salmon Tacos
- 1/4 cup cilantro optional
- 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 1 lime juiced (about 2 tbsp)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
Blackened Seasoning (or use commercial Cajun spice blend)
- 3 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 – 1 ½ pounds of salmon filets
- 8-20 soft tortillas makes 8-10 tacos, double thinner tortillas
Accompaniments (Pick & Choose)
- Chopped lettuce
- Chopped Tomato
- Chopped Cilantro
- Chopped Red Onion
- Chopped or sliced avocado
- Mango Salsa
- In a small food processor combine crema ingredientss and pulse until well blended. Reefrigerate until needed.
- Mix together spice blend or pour our some cajun seasoning mix into a bowl.
- Heat tortillas in frying pan and keep warm in warm oven.
- Prepare any toppings you are serving.
- Check the salmon for bones and remove any found. Remove skin if desired. Cut into strips (optional)
- Dip or sprinkle salmon with spice mix.
- Heat a high heat tolerant pan on medium high until hot. Spray with non-stick spray and cook salmon on both sides to desired doneness.
- Set out cooked salmon, tortillas, crema and toppings. Let guests assemble their own tacos
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