When I find a genius ingredient, I search for ways to incorporate that special treat into different recipes. This is the first of three recipes this summer that will include my all-time-favorite, mail-order, packaged food: Honey Smoked Fish Co. Hot Smoked Salmon.  Growing up, we had our own smokehouse and caught salmon for smoking during the months-long spawning season. It wasn't until a trip to Paws Up, just outside of Missoula, Montana, that I was reacquainted with the nostalgic smell and taste of hot smoked fish (a process that includes wet brining and high heat smoking). The Paws Up Salmon Spread recipe is simple but, as our chef explained, its success is due entirely to the quality of the salmon. He proceeded to pull a package of Honey Smoked Fish Co. from the refrigerator. Ever since, The Honey Smoked Fish Co. has been a frequent guest on our entertaining menu. This recipe is a bit of East meets West - instead of a corn or flour tortilla, we learned the technique of frying seaweed in tempura batter. We subbed short grain sushi rice for the traditional long grain white rice and kept the fruit-based, jalapeño spiked salsa. Americans have a love affair with tacos so it is quite fitting that we figured out how to take a beloved ingredient and turn it into something fit for serving to special guests. It may take a couple of goes getting the oil to just the right temperature (highly recommend a Thermo Pen instant read digital thermometer) to perfectly fry the nori shells, but this umami shell may is fun to make. Limiting the ingredients in this taco lets the Honey Smoked Fish Co. Mango Habanero Honey Smoked Salmon shine. Highly addictive, you may find you need to order a few packages at a time. With several flavors to choose from and our summer recipe lineup, fresh flavored healthy fish dishes make for easy weeknight meals and weekend gatherings with family and friends.

cuisine Japanese
difficulty Easy
season Year Round
serves 4

Ingredients

12 ounces Honey Smoked Fish Co. Mango Habanero Salmon, skin removed and salmon flaked 1 cup sushi rice 1 1/2 cups water 2 teaspoons sugar 2 tablespoons mirin or rice vinegar 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 4 sheets sushi nori roasted seaweed, cut in half 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil 1 ataulfo mango, 1/8 inch dice 1 scallion, both white & green parts thinly sliced 1/4 cup red onion, 1/8 inch dice 1/3 jalapeño, seeded and chopped 1 lime, halved and juiced Sea salt, to taste 1 box 10 ounces tempura batter mix 1 3/4 cups ice cold water (for tempura batter) 1/2 teaspoon hot sesame oil 1 tablespoon sesame seeds 4 ounces micro cilantro (or 1/4 cup regular cilantro leaves minced)

Directions

  1. Rinse the sushi rice in cold water until it runs clear. Add the rice and 1.5 cups cold water to a small pot and let it soak for 20 minutes. 
  2. Turn the heat to high, bring the water to a boil, lower the heat to simmer, cover, and cook the rice for 20 minutes, or until the rice is the proper consistency. Remove the rice from the heat, toss in the mirin or rice vinegar, sugar, and salt, and set aside to cool. 
  3. Add the diced mango, scallion, red onion, jalapeño, hot sesame oil, and lime juice to a small bowl. Mix to combine. Add salt to taste. Set aside.
  4. Heat the vegetable oil to 335 degrees F. (too hot and the tempura will brown to quickly).
  5. Prepare the tempura batter according to box instruction—icy water is the key to success.
  6. Dip a pastry brush into the tempura batter and brush onto one side of the nori. Drop the nori into the hot oil batter-side down. Place a hamburger press, or something heat safe over the nori to prevent it from curling and fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Flip to fry the other side for another 30 seconds. Fry until crispy, not too brittle, but still a pale color.
  7. Remove the shell from the hot oil and while it is sill hot and pliable, bend the shell over the handle of a wooden spoon or spatula (place the spatula over a bowl so that it is secure and won't fall). Repeat until all 8 shells are fried. 
  8. Gently place a tablespoon of the sushi rice into each nori taco shell. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the rice.
  9. Add 2 tablespoons of flaked fish on top of the rice.
  10. Top the fish with a bit of the mango salsa and finish with a flourish of cilantro microgreens. Serve immediately.