Dry-Rubbed Salmon Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa & Avocado Grapefruit Salad

Confession: I almost burned down the apartment. OK, not quite, but let’s just say we need to change the batteries in our smoke alarms. I recently got a cast-iron grill pan and was eager to test out some of the techniques we’ve been learning in class. Well, the combination of a hot pan, hot oil and a very poorly ventilated kitchen left the place looking like a Rescue 911 reenactment. Be warned: this tasty spice-rubbed salmon includes 3 highly flammable ingredients – chili powder, sugar and a coating of oil. Save yourself a lung and broil your salmon, or better yet, take it to an outdoor grill and let mother nature handle any unwanted, ahem, issues.

A couple of PSAs…

  • This tomatillo salsa ROCKS. You will never want to buy bottled salsa verde again.
  • Small (6-inch) corn tortillas are one of my secret weapons. The clock in at 50 calories a piece and most are gluten-free. I love their small size for mini-meals: simply stuff with a little protein, some veggies and any condiments you wish.

Dry-Rubbed Salmon Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa

Yield: 2 servings


  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • pinch finely ground coffee
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 8-ounce skinless, center-cut salmon fillet
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
  • 6 small corn tortillas, warmed
Tomatillo Salsa
Yield: Approximately 1 cup
  • 3 tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (for more spice, leave in seeds)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • salt, to taste
  • squeeze of fresh lime juice
  1. In a small bowl, stir the cumin with the chili powder, brown sugar and coffee. Season generously with salt and pepper. Brush the salmon fillets with olive oil and dredge them in the spice mixture. Grill or broil until nearly cooked, 8 to 9 minutes. Transfer salmon to a plate and flake with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, make tomatillo salsa. Pulse all ingredients in a blender or food processor until a course puree is formed. Adjust seasoning with salt and lime juice.
  3. To assemble tacos, divide salmon into 6 warmed corn tortillas (2-3 per person). Top with tomatillo salsa.
Avocado Grapefruit Salad
Yield: 2 servings
  • 1 grapefruit, segmented (no white parts remaining)
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. cilantro, finely minced
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 T. fresh citrus juice*
  • 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
  • Salt, to taste
  1. In a medium bowl, make a vinaigrette by whisking together the citrus juice, cilantro and salt. Drizzle in the oil. Add the red onion and lightly toss with grapefruit segments. Just before serving, arrange salad on the plate, top with avocado and drizzle with any remaining vinaigrette.
*Citrus juice: I used a mix of fresh grapefruit, orange, lime and lemon juice I had on hand. If your segmented grapefruit is sweeter, add lemon or lime. If it’s on the sour side, try orange or Meyer lemon juice.
Taco recipe adapted from Food & Wine

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