Chilli Lime Salmon Tacos with Roasted Mango Habanero Salsa

T-11 days until Cinco de Mayo.

2022 marks my 5th year in the US of A and the 5th year I’m celebrating a holiday of whose origin seemingly most Americans are unaware. Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day National Margarita Day celebrated to a much lesser extent in Mexico than it is in the USA despite the fact that Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of the small Mexican town of Puebla de Los Angeles in a battle against the French in 1862. Although the French army vastly outnumbered the Mexicans and possessed superior armaments, the strongly fortified city of Puebla was able to keep the French at bay, leading to their retreat by the end of the day. Eventually in 1867, the French withdrew from Mexico altogether, having failed to expand their empire in North America.

Ethiopia celebrates a similar holiday, Victory at Adwa Day, on the 2nd of March each year. This holiday commemorates their victory over the Italians in Adwa on March 1, 1896. At the time, Ethiopia remained one of 2 African countries (the other being Liberia) that had not been colonised by a European power during the Berlin Conference that saw the division of the continent amongst European countries. Italy decided to seize the opportunity to expand their empire in Africa by taking Ethiopia, however, the Battle of Adwa was a major turning point that made the Ethiopian’s defence successful against a more heavily armed Italian force.

History lesson over, let’s discuss this recipe. Sweet meets spicy in this mango-salmon mash-up and even though it’s marked as optional, you can’t miss the mashed avocado, it really helps to soften the blow from the chilli in both the salmon and the habanero salsa. Otherwise, this recipe is extremely straightforward. Make yourself a margarita on the side, here’s to unlikely wins against European invaders!

Ingredients

  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 lb salmon, diced into ½ inch cubes

    For the salsa:
  • 2 tomatoes, with the tops sliced off
  • ½ white onion, roughly sliced
  • 2 habanero peppers, sliced in half with the insides removed
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced in half with the insides removed
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced in half with the insides removed
  • olive oil, salt and pepper for roasting the above
  • 1 mango, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime

    For serving:
  • 1 avocado, mashed with the juice of a lime (optional, it helps take the bite out of the chilli)
  • 1 cup of coleslaw mix or finely chopped purple or green cabbage
  • Soft flour tortillas

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 °C/400F. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the lime juice, honey, olive oil, chilli flakes and cumin. Throw in the diced salmon and toss to coat in the chilli-lime marinade. Let salmon sit in marinade for at least 15 minutes.
  2. On a large baking sheet, arrange the tomatoes, white onion, habanero peppers, red bell pepper and jalapeno pepper in a single layer. Drizzle over some olive oil and season with salt and pepper before roasting in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the peppers are just starting to churn. Blend the roasted vegetables with the mango, cilantro and lime juice on high until just combined, about 30 seconds. I like a chunky salsa but if you’d like a smoother consistency, blend for 30 seconds longer. Season to taste and set aside.
  3. Lay the marinated salmon on the same baking sheet and roast until fully cooked and the juices run clear, about 15 minutes.
  4. It’s time to assemble! Briefly toast the tortillas by heating for 15 seconds on each side of a hot skillet. Spread the mashed avocado on the bottom of the tortilla, stuff with a handful of coleslaw, add a few pieces of salmon and dollop a couple of tablespoons of salsa on the top. Grab a margarita and enjoy!

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