Teddy Cosco from Cast & Iron is a passionate outdoorsman, fly fisher, and a very skilled chef when it comes to preparing campfire meals. He’ll be sharing his knowledge with us by providing a series of cast iron recipes. The first one we’ll be showcasing is one of Teddy’s favorites: salmon tacos.
With the combination of fresh fish, guacamole, and a little bit of Teddy’s secret sauce, this one is sure to be a crowd favorite.
Start a fire
Chop some rounds of wood into a variety of sizes, ranging from quarter rounds to pieces the diameter of your wrist, and fingers. If there isn’t a lot of natural kindling around, I’ll make some feather sticks with the smaller pieces. Lay the feather sticks on some paper (or anything readily combustible you have on hand), layering larger sticks on top. Ignite fire. Add larger quarter round pieces to the fire when it can handle them and burn a good few down, e.g. five or six quarter rounds.
Prep the guacamole
As soon as the fire has developed some coals, throw an ear of corn that has (preferably) been soaked in water into the coals.
Dice up an avocado into a shallow bowl. Squeeze ½ a lime’s juice over avocado and season to taste. Add in finely diced red onion. Set aside.
Once the ear of corn has a good char to it, remove the husk and cut the kernels off into the bowl. Mix. Check seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed.
Batter the fish
Slice the fish into portions that will fit lengthwise into a 4" tortilla. Mix the tempura batter with beer until it is thick enough to adhere to the spork, but is fluid enough to flow. Add salmon to batter and coat.
Slice up some toppings
Slice the red cabbage into ribbons 1"-2" long. Chop or tear cilantro. Slice ½ lime into wedges.
Fry the fish
Once the coal bed has burned down, use the shovel to move the coals into an area that is at least as wide as the cast iron pan and as level as possible. Place the cast iron directly on the coals. Add in a high smoke-point oil, e.g. canola. Once the oil is glistening, test the temperature of the oil by dropping in a bit of the batter. If the batter does not start to immediately fry, it is not hot enough. If the batter fries and begins to scorch, it is too hot. Move some coals around until the temperature of the oil begins to cooperate.
Add the fish to the oil, trying not to overcrowd the pan. Do not try to move the fish. Well seasoned cast iron pans will be virtually non-stick, but for those that aren’t, leave the fish alone until the batter has crisped up on the bottom. If it looks like there are hotspots in the pan, rotate the pan itself on the coals, rather than moving the fish. Move the oil around in the pan to aid cooking up the sides of the batter. Try to only flip the fish once. Fry the other side. Remove fish from the pan, pour off as much oil as possible from the pan, and set aside.
Assemble the taco
Throw a few corn tortillas in the cast iron pan off the heat (there should be enough residual heat in the pan to make them pliable). Take a spoonful of guac and smear on the tortilla. Place fried fish onto guac. Liberally sauce with Cholula mayo. Add red cabbage and cilantro. Squeeze lime. Enjoy.
- 1 ripe avocado
- ½ red onion
- 1 ear corn
- 1 lime
- Salt and pepper to taste
- (Optional) Diced jalapeno
- 8 oz. salmon
- 1 cup dry tempura batter
- ½ can beer
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- Cholula Green Pepper sauce to taste
- 1 cup sliced red cabbage
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 4" taco size (two per person)
- Camp shovel
- Leatherman Wave+
- Cast iron pan
- Metal tongs
- Cutting board
- Squeezy bottle (for sauce)