Beetroot & Gin Cured Salmon Tacos

Do you ever see a recipe and just know that you have to make it? I do it a lot. But there are some that have a bigger hold on me than others. Recipes that take a hold on my mind generally tend to be difficult or take a few days to make to perfection.


This was one such recipe, that came about from a completely different story.


Every time I came back to visit my parents, we always made a point of going to a food stall at Cascais market, which served incredible salmon tacos. This summer I was thoroughly looking forward to my first taste of those pickled onions, that garlic aioli, the fresh salmon, the crunch taco shells. Then, my mum told me the awful news that they’d shut down. Nothing had taken it’s place at the market either, but the salmon tacos were gone. I was upset for a little while. You don’t understand what those tacos meant to me.


And then, I had an epiphany. I remembered that my friends at The Salt Box had posted a recipe about beetroot and gin cured trout. I knew I could adapt it to salmon, as the fish are so similar. Then the idea rooted. While at my parent’s house over the summer, I would make my own salmon tacos – that would rival those from the market stall.


I spent a few days with my friends from The Salt Box, at their house, and got to enjoy their cooking and their cookbooks (as you would have read in my two previous posts). While with them, I found the Jamie Oliver Everyday Super Food cookbook which had a recipe for fish tacos, and a kiwi and lime salsa. Everything seemed to be coming together for this epic salmon taco night that was forming in my head.


Finally, once back in Portugal, I got down to business. We went to Cascais to get fresh salmon fillets, got beetroot, spring onions, kiwis, lime and coriander from the farmers’ market too. Then, it was time to make a dinner 48 hours ahead of time.


I copied the recipe from The Salt Box, simply swapping out the trout for salmon, and emitting the juniper berries (because they aren’t easy to find in Portugal). This requires TWO days of curing. There are two cures. One is the beetroot and gin. The second is a leafy green and gin cure. You could just do the beetroot and gin cure, and live it for 48 hours. But the green herbs add an extra depth and flavour to the fish. This recipe is super easy and can literally be copied by anyone.


Then, it was onto the lime salsa, horseradish yoghurt (from the previous blog post), homemade tortillas, coleslaw and pickled onions. The recipes below are for the salsa, tortillas, coleslaw and pickled onions, and I have to credit Jamie Oliver for the kiwi lime salsa. It was divine.


There are a lot of ingredients below, so I’ve separated everything by dish to make life a bit easier for everyone.


1/4 white cabbage
1/2 red onion
2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
1/2 lime juice

  1. Boil a small saucepan of water over a medium heat.
  2. In a separate bowl, place a few ice cubes and some cold water to make an ice bath.
  3. Slice the onion thinly. Then add to the boiling water. After 2 minutes, drain from the boiling water and immediately place the onions in the ice bath. Allow to cool for 2 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
  4. Slice the cabbage thinly, or use a mandolin.
  5. In a food processor place the yoghurt, mayonnaise, Tabasco, and lime juice. Blitz in the blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Mix the cabbage and onions in a bowl. Add the yoghurt mixture. Combine well.
  7. Keep refrigerated until use.

Pickled Onions
1/2 red onion
3 cloves garlic
1 cup white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1.5 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon peppercorns

  1. Slice the onions and garlic thinly and place in a heat-proof, sealable container (such as a glass mason jar).
  2. In a saucepan, place the sugar, salt and peppercorns. Pour the vinegar over the sugar mixture, and stir until dissolved.
  3. Place the saucepan over a medium heat, until the vinegar starts to boil.
  4. Pour the boiling vinegar over the onions and garlic. Set aside, uncovered, to come to room temperature.
  5. Seal the onions, and allow to pickle for at least 20 minutes, preferably overnight.

Kiwi Lime Salsa
2 ripe kiwi fruit
4 spring onions
1 fresh green chilli
1/2 bunch fresh coriander
1 lime
Tabasco sauce

  1. Peel both of the kiwi and chop in half.
  2. Roughly chop the green tops of the spring onions.
  3. De-seed and roughly chop the green chilli.
  4. In a large frying pan, place the kiwi, spring onions and chilli. Cook over a medium heat until slightly brown.
  5. In a blender or food processor, add the charred kiwi, spring onions and chilli along with the coriander, juice of the lime and a few splashes of Tabasco sauce.
  6. Blitz until smooth, then season with salt and pepper.
  7. Keep covered and refrigerated until use.

Homemade tortillas
200 grams fine flour
120 mls water
pinch of salt

  1. Mix the flour, water and salt to form a dough. Add more flour if dough feels overly sticky.
  2. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.
  3. On a well-floured surface, roll out each dough piece to make a large circle.
  4. Put a large flat-based frying pan over a medium heat.
  5. One by one, cook the tortillas for 1 – 2 minutes on each side, turning when you see bubbles starting to form.
  6. Keep warm in tin foil and a low-temp oven until use.

For the cured salmon recipe, click here. For the horseradish yoghurt recipe, click here.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Clive Saffery says:

    It was delicious


  2. Jacqui says:

    all fabulous


  3. Adriana says:

    My husband just returned from a fishing excursion with an 18lb salmon trout. This is EXACTLY the recipe I didn’t know we needed. Thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

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