Grilled Salmon Tacos with Sweet Corn and Adzuki Bean Salsa

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These tacos were inspired by my most recent CSA share, as well as a recent trip to El Camino Real. Two items in my share threw me for a loop – the sweet corn and the wild salmon. I never cook with corn because, quite honestly, I’ve never really loved it. In terms of the wild salmon, while I was stoked about it, I had never cooked salmon prior to these tacos and was therefore clueless as to what I should do with it.

Furthermore, I typically don’t get down with frozen food, but the sweet corn in my share happened to be frozen and I certainly wasn’t about to let it go to waste. Let’s just say that I am so glad that I didn’t. It was frozen by a local farm at its peak flavor and was beyond delish. Seriously, corn has never tasted so good. I solemnly swear that I will no longer discriminate against frozen veggies. (How’s that for a Harry Potter reference?)

Anyway, after picking up my share in Kensington, Dan and I swung by El Camino Real in Northern Liberties for some lunch and drinks. I love that place – namely, for its funky tacos and Tex-Mex vibe. Of course, it was while I was eating amazing tuna tacos for lunch that I suddenly knew how I’d put my sweet corn and wild salmon to use.

Lastly, some info for those of you who are wondering what the heck adzuki beans are (as I was when they caught my eye at Whole Foods). They’re native to China and have a unique flavor that is both nutty and sweet. Best of all, they’re packed with protein. Of course, black beans probably seem more appropriate for these tacos, but I’m a big fan of trying new food and playing around with different food combinations. Personally, I loved the combination of flavors going on with these tacos, and I think it goes without saying that I am now a huge fan of the adzuki bean.

Variety is the spice of life, my friends. :)

PART 1: THE SALSA

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed
  • 1 can adzuki beans, rinsed and strained
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 a red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • Himalayan salt to taste

What you’ll do:

  • Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl
  • Spoon into a serving bowl

PART 2: THE TACOS

Note: This recipe is for an individual serving. To accommodate more people, simply multiply by however many people you plan to serve.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 large salmon filet
  • 3 small corn tortillas
  • 3/4 an avocado, sliced
  • 6 tbsp. sweet corn and adzuki bean salsa
  • 3 tbsp. chipotle lime aioli (I highly recommend serving it in a squeeze bottle. You can find my recipe here!)
  • 3 lime wedges

What you’ll do:

  • Preheat the grill on medium heat; once heated, lightly oil the grate; grill for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until the fish is flaky and cooked through; cut the filet into thirds
  • Assemble each taco by layering in the following way: 1 corn tortilla, 1/4 avocado, 1/3 salmon filet, 2 tbsp. salsa, and 1 tbsp. aioli
  • Garnish each taco with a lime wedge, and viola!

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Bacon, Portobello Mushroom, and Leek Risotto

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As some of you may know, my roommate and I recently became CSA members. There are many reasons why I believe in community supported agriculture, but one of those reasons is that it forces me to use interesting ingredients that I would never think to buy at the store. In other words, it keeps me creative in the kitchen. With that being said, share #2 included leeks, and while I’ve eaten leeks at restaurants here and there, I’d never cooked with them before. I used BBC’s Good Food Glossary (an awesome resource) to give me the skinny on leeks; said info can be found here.

Anyway, after reading that leeks taste “like a mild onion but with a hint of sweetness” when cooked, I was somehow determined to make a leek-and-something-or-other risotto. I decided that bacon and mushrooms would make a great pairing with the flavor profile described, and given the reactions of my mom and brother, I’d say that my decision was a good one. If you’re into hearty goodness packed with flavor, you’ll probably love this dish, too. Buon appetito!

What you’ll need:

  • 4 pieces bacon
  • 2 large portobello mushroom caps, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. grape seed oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup milk, half & half, or heavy cream (your choice)
  • 2 large leeks, halved lengthwise and chopped
  • Himalayan salt to taste
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup Italian cheeses, shredded (my blend included fontina, asiago, and parmesan, but any blend will do)
  • Shaved parmesan

What you’ll do:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F; in a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the mushrooms, onion, garlic, grape seed oil, and lemon juice; on a large baking sheet, place the four pieces of bacon on one side and place the mushroom mixture on the other side; roast in the oven for 10 minutes; when 10 minutes have elapsed, remove the bacon from the baking sheet, stir the mushroom mixture into the bacon fat, and place back into the oven for an additional 20 minutes; give the bacon a rough chop and set aside
  • Meanwhile, combine the leeks, dairy of your choice, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning in a small sauce pan; cook on high until the mixture begins to boil; once boiling, immediately turn the heat down to its lowest setting and stir often until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes; set aside
  • Next, warm the broth in medium-sized sauce pan; then, combine the rice and wine in a large sauce pan, stirring until almost all of the wine is absorbed, about 1 minute; add 1 cup of broth and stir until almost all of the broth is absorbed, about 1 minute; repeat this process 4 more times, until all of the broth is used
  • When the rice mixture is tender and all of the broth is absorbed, gently stir in the bacon, mushroom mixture, leek mixture, fresh parsley, and Italian cheeses; transfer to a serving bowl and top with shaved parmesan

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