Ancho Chili Salmon in Lettuce Tacos

Ancho Chili Salmon in Lettuce Tacos

Our annual recipe contest is an annual thrill at Sitka Salmon Shares. Our community of members get the chance to let their culinary talents shine and the opportunity to share their home-grown recipes with our broader community of conscientious seafood lovers through website and recipe cards.

Enjoy this recipe from 2019 recipe contest finalist, Rebeca Itzkowich. All salmon species work in this recipe! Chef’s secret: If you can’t find dried ancho chilies, try using 3 teaspoons ground ancho chile powder or 3 teaspoons mild paprika and a large pinch of red pepper flakes.

Ancho Chili Salmon in Lettuce Tacos | Sitka Salmon Shares

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 30 min
Serves: 4


  • For the Salmon:
  • 2 cedar grilling planks
  • 3 ancho chili peppers,
  • 1/2 cup of raw peanuts
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 of large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • ½ cube of vegetable bouillon
  • 1 1/2 pounds salmon
  • For Serving:
  • 12 large iceberg lettuce leaves, for the tacos
  • 1/2 small pineapple, cut into very small squares
  • 1/2 large red onion, minced
  • Green scallions, thinly sliced
  • Cilantro leaves, chopped


Prepare Cedar Planks

Soak the cedar grilling planks in water at least two hours before grilling.

Make Rub

Soak ancho chiles in warm water for 15 minutes. Carefully remove seeds and inside ribs from the chilies. In a cast iron frying pan over medium-low heat, brown the chili peppers, peanuts, sesame seeds, and onion, stirring constantly. Peppers will become soft and pliable and the ingredients will release a wonderful aroma. When they are beginning to brown, remove from the heat. 

Place the browned ingredients in a food processor with the olive oil, orange and lemon juices, bouillon, salt and pepper. Blend together until smooth.

Cook Salmon

Place the salmon filet skin-side down on the cedar plank. Rub the mixture over the salmon.

Grill over medium heat for 12-15 minutes, checking the salmon for doneness after about 12 minutes. The salmon is done when it flakes gently.

Plate & Serve

To assemble the tacos, create large flakes of salmon using a fork. Place salmon on lettuce leaves. Add pineapple, red onion, scallions, and cilantro as desired. We love the addition of a cool, creamy sauce to go with these tacos, such as our charred scallion and lime crema.

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Pro Tips

Charred Scallion + Lime Crema

Charred Scallion + Lime Crema

A perfect accompaniment for anything spicy, like our ancho chile salmon tacos! Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Toss one bunch whole scallions in 1 tbsp olive oil, and drop onto a hot pan. Char and caramelize scallions, flipping occasionally. Allow to cool. Roughly chop scallions, avoiding any heavily blackened green tips or roots. Add to a food processor with 1 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, the juice of one lime, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and a large pinch of salt.

Bridget’s Dill Salmon

Bridget’s Dill Salmon

For a thick, middle-cut portion of salmon, make four to five cuts across the fillet of salmon (keep skin side intact). For a thinner tail cut, take care to make shallow cuts. Mix 1 cup sour cream with 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and a large pinch of salt. Spread liberally over fillet. Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes.

Brown Sugar Glaze

Brown Sugar Glaze

In a shallow pan, mix together 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon sriracha. Lay four 8-ounce sockeye fillets flesh-side down in the marinade. Allow to marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, up to 1 hour. Heat broiler to high, and place fish flesh-side up on a foil-lined sheet tray about 6 inches from the heat source. Broil for approximately 5 minutes until glaze is bubbling and fish is beginning to flake. Serve over greens sautéed with a touch of garlic, salt, and pepper.

Vida’s Taco Spice Rub

Vida’s Taco Spice Rub

Jeff Farvour combines 1 part salt, 2 parts smoked paprika, 2 parts cumin, and an (optional) sprinkle of chipotle powder to make this taco spice rub, perfect for fish tacos with any fish. (We love making these with rockfish!). Coat all sides of the fish, and sauté in butter for 1 minute on each side. Serve on tortillas with your favorite toppings. Jeff’s favorites are sour cream, kimchi, and cilantro.

Seared Rockfish with Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Seared Rockfish with Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Make the most of the end of summer’s produce with this zucchini ribbon and herb salad. Using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, slice one green and one yellow squash into thin ribbons. Gently combine with a handful of thinly sliced radishes, 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1/4 cup chopped chives, and 1/3 cup shaved manchego cheese. Toss with 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 4 tbsp olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Season rockfish with salt and pepper and sear in butter, 2-3 minutes per side. Garnish both with additional parsley, chives, and a squeeze of lemon!


*The information displayed is our analysis of the recipe based on its ingredients and preparation, and should not be considered a substitute for professional nutrition advice.

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