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A taco is never just a taco, orchids in Thailand

February 3, 2010

The kids and I are missing mom but she called last night so everyone was happy. She spent the day in a field of an endless variety of orchids after floating through the water on a bamboo “gondola” type vessel. The kids and I spent the day on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles and went to CVS for some toiletries. You pick? Time to eat!

I am always ready to go towards the taco when I am hungry. To me a taco means a tortilla filled with whatever mouth-watering combination you are in the mood for. Yesterday it was salmon. Grilled salmon topped with red wine vinegar pickled red onions, tiny cubes of fingerling potatoes roasted with brown mustard seeds and a dill yogurt. What kind of tortilla, flour or corn, is always about my mood and the ingredients I am using. A flour tortilla is soft and warm and really cuddles whatever is inside. There is a distinctive chew to it. A corn tortilla screams Mexico; rustic, full of rich corn flavor. Although it is robust in flavor it is delicate in texture and will come apart more easily. I like a corn tortilla when I want to fill it with a small amount of something rich like some tiny cubed pork, carnitas, or skirt steak.

For the salmon tacos:

You want to pickle the red onions for at least two hours. ½ a red onion sliced thin. ½ C. red wine vinegar, a pinch of salt and a few sprigs of fresh dill. Toss well and continue to stir at room temperate every 20 minutes. Watch the onions become bright purple. They soften and their strong sharp flavor becomes balanced and sweet.

Season the salmon and grill to MR. Set aside.
Mix your favorite plain yogurt with a little milk to thin it out to a thick sauce consistency. Stir in a pinch of salt and some fresh plucked dill. Pull off the leaves in small pieces and toss them in. No need to chop.

Cube some potatoes very small (I used fingerling) and boil until tender. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking and let drain to remove excess water. In a small pan add a touch of olive oil. Once hot add the potato and a thin layer of brown mustard seeds. The brown seeds are spicier and have a deep nutty flavor as they pop in the hot oil. A touch of salt is always a flavor enhancer.

Grill your tortilla and lay it on a plate. Pick up the salmon and let it fall apart onto the tortilla in random chunks. Top with some potato, then the red onions and finish with a drizzle of the dill yogurt. Take a bite and enjoy the taco at a whole new level. The full flavor of the salmon is tamed by the sweet acidity of the red onions. The potatoes collapse in your mouth providing the perfect textural balance to the crisp onions. The yogurt sauce is the foil to the slightly spicy mustard seeds and the dill comes through with its weedy, enticing perfume. Buen provecho (bon appetite) as they say in Mexico. But that is the only thing Mexican about this taco. Enjoy.
Eat well, Enjoy life, Be happy

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