The end of August always gives me a bit of a pang. I like to think that it’s a holdover from all those years in school, when September meant a return to the structured life of classes and homework. So I try to cram as much last-minute summer fun as possible into the tail-end of the season. Most years that involves a road trip somewhere hot and summery, perhaps with a state fair on the horizon, a bunch of small town thrift stores to dig into, a swimming hole to laze around, or some remote woods to hike through.
And just as the season was so appropriately started with a barbecue, it’s ending the same way. What better way to go out than with tacos? People often forgo seafood on the grill, because we have such a strong association with meat when grilling. But salmon holds up well, and the marinade gives it a pleasingly spicy boost that is kind of heavenly with all that smoky barbecue flavor. Paired with a grilled corn salsa, it’s a magnificent overload of fresh, bright flavors that hold onto all the best of summer.
Grilled Salmon Tacos with Fire Roasted Corn Salsa
For the salmon:
1 pound wild Alaskan salmon fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
For the salsa:
2 ears corn, shucked and lightly coated in olive oil
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 small jalapeño, diced
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1 small red onion, diced
salt to taste
Thinly sliced cabbage
Crumbled feta or cotija cheese
Combine the paprika, chipotle powder and sea salt with the olive oil in a mixing bowl. Dredge the salmon in the marinade so that it’s thoroughly coated and let sit until ready to grill. Turn occasionally.
Next, prepare the grill. While the briquets are readying, prepare the salsa. Slice the tomatoes, dice the onion, jalapeño and cilantro, and mix together in a glass bowl. Add salt to taste and set aside until the corn is ready.
Once the coals are ready (and while they’re still quite hot), place the corn on the barbecue. Give it plenty of time to develop a nice char but don’t let the corn completely blacken. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
Now, the salmon. Place salmon on grill with the skin up. Grill for 4-6 minutes, depending on thickness of the fillet. Flip once and grill for another 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for a few minutes.
Place the corn tortillas in aluminum foil and warm them over the grill.
While the salmon is resting, finish the salsa. Using a sharp knife, slice corn along length of cob. Mix the kernels into salsa.
Flake the salmon into chunks with a fork. Tuck them into a warm corn tortilla. Top with the salsa. Enjoy.
How do you celebrate the end of summer? Let us know in the comments!
Kimberley Hasselbrink is a food photographer and blogger based in San Francisco. She is the author of the blog The Year in Food, which is framed around a monthly seasonal food guide. Kimberley enjoys unusual produce, strong coffee, road trips and summer nights.