Once a week, the farm kitchen is transformed into a Tuesday taqueira. Whether we use our own chicken, whatever is fresh and fun at the fishmonger (squid is always silly + sensational) or something meaty from the local butcher, I would simply not survive without having a little Mexicana on the supper schedule despite having a three-hour drive to the nearest margarita + mole.

Our new favourite standby: Hot Smoked Salmon Tacos.

I first made these special salmon tacos after an extraordinary day spent fishing with Birgitta Curtin of Burren Smokehouse in County Clare.  She was heading out to fish for the first of the wild Atlantic spring salmon in Ireland, and I asked if I could come along and document her adventure.

Irish Atlantic salmon spend the first years of their life in rivers before migrating to the sea to grow. To complete their life cycle, they return to their river of origin to spawn. In the case of these fish, they would have traveled as far as Greenland and back to Ireland to lay their eggs. The wild salmon season begins in May and ends in August, with strict regulations in place to prevent overfishing.


I arrived at a marina on the River Lee in Cork on a cool, rainy morning in mid May. Birgitta was suited up and ready to go, but the fish weren’t exactly going along with the plan. After a couple of hours, we decided to pull up anchor and move to the River Nore in County Kilkenny. We met Eurotoques winning producers, Mark and Tricia Murphy, who brought us out on traditional Irish cot boats for the afternoon. It was absolutely calm and serene as a we floated up and down river pulling a snap-net between the two handcrafted flat-bottomed boats.


Birgitta and I left Kilkenny with a small bounty of beautiful wild salmon, one of which was destined for the President’s residence in Dublin for a special meal that evening.


We are all fans of smoked salmon here so I when I came home with a few packs of Birgitta’s Burren Smokehouse tender, delicate hot-smoked salmon I absolutely had to experiment with using it as a taco ingredient.  It was Tuesday after all.

Combining the added smoke of chipotle with garden fresh kale and cabbage verde, these fishy tacos pack a rich and flavorful, yet balanced punch in the taco department {not to mention plenty of Omega 3s and antioxidants!}

We’re hooked on hot-smoked salmon tacos here….perhaps you will be too?

Hot-Smoked Wild Irish Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Crema & Kale + Cabbage Verde

1/2 cup/125 g mayonnaise
1/2 cup/125 g sour cream
1 tablespoon sauce from tin of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (or 1 tbsp chili powder)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 pound/450 g hot-smoked salmon (or any smoked fish
. Burren Smokehouse Salmon is available in USA here)
Salt and pepper
8 flour tortillas, warmed
1 cup/250g of shredded white cabbage
2 cups/500g of tender leaf curly kale, finely chopped
1 small green chili pepper, finely chopped
A big handful of chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove
Juice of one lime
2 limes, cut into wedges + cilantro for garnish

1. For the crema: mix mayonnaise and sour cream together in a large mixing bowl and add the chipotle, cumin, lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. For the verde: Blitz cabbage, kale, green pepper, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, salt in food processor until smoothish.
3. Flake the hot-smoked salmon into each tortilla.
4. Top with crema and verde.
5. Serve with lime wedges and cilantro. (You can also flake the salmon into the crema, mix then fill tortilla and top with verde)
6. Feast.

Slan Abhaile,

Photos and Styling by Imen McDonnell 2013

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14 Responses to “Hot-Smoked Wild Irish Salmon Tacos”

  1. What did you think of Ireland then Imen did you feel welcome, fly fishing the best in the world would you say? :)

  2. Roisin says:

    Made these tacos @ the weekend…..Dee-lish, totally scrummy!
    Thanks so much

  3. […] Her food, which pulls heavily from newly mastered Irish traditions mixed with the odd American influence, really makes your mouth water. Like these hot-smoked wild Irish salmon tacos. Seriously yummy, right? Read the recipe here. […]

  4. Pizza pece says:

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I’m hoping you write once more very soon!

  5. […] Imen teilt diese Erfahrung und die Inspiration mit ihren Lesern, die sie dadurch für ein neues Taco-mit-Räucherlachs-Rezept gewonnen hat. Hier geht’s zum Blog und zu den schönen Fotos, und natürlich zum Rezept! […]

  6. […] Imen partage son expérience et l’inspiration qu’elle gagnait sur ce voyage, dans son blog. Il y a même une recette pour des tacos avec du saumon fumé! Voir son blog et ses jolies photos! […]

  7. […] Imen tells her readers about her experience and the inspiration it gave her for a new salmon taco recipe. See her beautiful pictures and share her excitement! […]

  8. […] Wild Irish salmon tacos! […]

  9. Would love to hear more about your fishing advventures, Imen – did you film it?

  10. Carol Hays says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your taqueria night recipe! I made it tonight with purple kale and purslane (received in today’s CSA) and it was WONDERFUL!! So enjoyed the pictures of your fishing expedition–my salmon came by way of the market, but I imagined that it had spent its life in oceanic travel as I savored every bite. Enjoying your blog here in the midwest and hoping to make it to my ancestral homeland some time soon. Cheers!

  11. Nathalie says:

    I’ve GOT to try this! Gorgeous pics too.

  12. Krista says:

    What a splendid outing!! :-) I’ve never been much of a fisherman, but I do love being out on the water. :-) I too feel utterly deprived if I can’t have Mexican food regularly. These tacos look AMAZING!! :-)

  13. Emily says:

    I love when you Irish-ify non-Irish things! This looks so yum!

  14. You know I am a VERY big fan of weekly taqueria nights (whether at home or about town). Yours looks particularly delicious (and amazing, given your location!). So nice to see the backstory after seeing some of these pretty pics over on IG.

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