During our trips to Mexico, we have always enjoyed having seafood cooked with local preparations. Not all food in Mexico is spicy and this recipe isn’t overly spicy, but it does have a little bit of heat. Although you can certainly use a fish other than salmon, we found that salmon was able to hold up to the bold taste of the creamy pepper sauce. We have often made a hollandaise sauce to go with salmon, but using the peppers provides a different alternative. With the summer months coming, the salmon could also be grilled instead of pan-seared, but pan-searing it does create a nice and crispy skin. We found this dish to be extremely delicious and relatively simple to make. It is also the type of dish that can be made for a more formal occasion or a simple weeknight dinner.
2 Salmon Filets – about 5 ounces each
3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 Fresh Anaheim Peppers
2 tbsp Corn Taco Shells – ground (or 2 tbsp of Masa Harina, which is a corn flour)
1 1/2 cups Milk
Salt and Pepper to taste
Either by heating the peppers on the open flame of a gas stove or on a grill, cook the peppers until the skins are blistered and black. While still hot, put the peppers into a bowl and cover them with plastic wrap so that they steam. Once cool, you can use a knife or a paper towel to remove the charred skin of the peppers. Roasting the peppers gives them a nice, smoky taste. Roughly chop the peppers and set them aside.
Season the salmon filets with a half a teaspoon of the garlic powder as well as a generous amount of salt and pepper. Heat a large sauce pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is fully heated, place the salmon skin-side down into the pan and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes and the skin is nice and crispy. Flip the fish and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. If you are going to put the fish into an oven to stay warm while the sauce cooks, simply cook the fish a minute or two less before putting them into the oven. Otherwise, simply cover the fish and set aside and let the fish rest while the sauce cooks.
Add the peppers, remaining garlic powder, ground taco shells or flour, milk, and some salt and pepper to a blender (works better than a food processor for this sauce) and mix until smooth. Pour the pepper mixture into the same pan that the fish was cooked in while the temperature is still at medium-high. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until the sauce thickens. Be sure to taste the sauce and add additional salt or pepper if necessary. Plate the fish and serve with the sauce over top.
When traveling, we always try to have the most authentic experiences as possible. There are times, however, when a tour that we take includes something that is there just for tourists. They are often a photo opportunities that locals believe that the people visiting want to take home with them, but often they aren’t realistic to the actual culture. More often than not, when we end up doing one of those types of things, we literally cringe when we see what we’re about to do. It doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy them, it is just that we realize that it is a staged activity done just for tourists.
We have actually ridden camels twice, once in Morocco and then again in Egypt. It wasn’t as if we were riding a camel to get from one place to another, it was just us on a camel while someone walked us around. It wasn’t as if we saw people riding camels, although we know that they do in the desert, so it is just something that people have come to expect to do when they visit those countries. Another thing that we did when in Morocco was to see a snake charmer. Interesting as it was, it was still just a planned stop along the tour for us to take photos and tip the snake charmer in order for him to make a living.
When we were in Prague, at the end of the tour, we went to what was supposed to be a medieval restaurant, complete with cobwebs on the ceiling and waiters dressed in garments from the period. Having a meal at a wooden table in a dungeon, while fun, is probably not the way it would have been hundreds of years ago. When we visited Warwick Castle in England, one of the towers was set up as a torture chamber. It was basically a haunted house experience with people jumping out at you. Again, fun, but not anything representative of turn of the century Europe.
When we were in Cabo, we swam with dolphins in a large aquarium. It would be quite fascinating to swim in the wild with dolphins, but that would be a completely different experience than swimming with a dolphin that has been trained to do tricks. We took a cruise on a pirate ship in Puerto Vallarta where they put on a show and entertained the guests throughout the tour. Clearly these activities are a little different, but still very touristy. Obviously it is hard to completely avoid all of these types of activities, so when they happen it is best to just role with it and have fun. The camel rides were probably the most touristy of all of the activities that we’ve done. What is the most touristy thing that you’ve done when traveling?
Guacamole is a wonderful accompaniment to southwestern and Mexican food. It is also a wonderful dip on its own and can even be used as a spread on sandwiches as well. It isn’t complicated to make and you can make it spicy or not depending upon your taste. One of the things that makes it delicious is the use of fresh ingredients. We go to Mexico almost every year and we enjoy getting guacamole every time that we do and enjoy the large portions that we get.
2 Avocados – diced
1 Medium Tomato – finely diced
1 Jalapeno – finely diced (seeds removed if you don’t want it spicy)
1 Garlic Clove – minced
1 tbsp Red or Yellow Onion – finely diced
Juice of 1 Lime
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cut the avocados in half, using your knife to carve around the large seed. Twist the avocado to separate the two halves, the seed will remain in one of the halves. Using a knife, carefully chop into the seed so that the knife is slightly embedded. Twist the knife to remove the seed and carefully remove the seed from the knife blade. Use a spoon to separate the flesh of the avocado from the skin by tracing the spoon along the inside of the skin and place the flesh into a medium bowl. You can dice the avocado prior to removing it from the skin or after it is in the bowl. Add the rest of ingredients and mix thoroughly. If you prefer a creamy guacamole, you can mash the avocado dices as you stir, or leave some of the dices whole if you prefer a chunkier guacamole. Serve with chips.