Give your next taco night an extra tropical touch with these blackened salmon tacos with pineapple pico de gallo! After coating with a flavorful blackening seasoning, this salmon is seared to perfection, making for the most delicious fish tacos that can be prepared in about 30 minutes. Serve with an ice-cold margarita, and you're in for one tasty meal that's perfect for company.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Tastes like summer wrapped in a tortilla: Fish tacos always scream summer, but with that fresh pineapple pico de gallo, it will make you feel like you’re enjoying this dish right on the beach. You will want to put this recipe on repeat all summer long.
Perfect for casual parties: Turn this dish into a taco bar for an interactive, low-key meal. Once we blackened the salmon, we flake it with a fork, put out some warm tortillas and an assortment of toppings, so everyone can load up their tacos just the way they like them.
Great for easy entertaining: This recipe is as simple as stirring together a few spices, rubbing the mixture all over the salmon and then cooking in a hot skillet. It takes hardly any time and requires very little effort. Your hosting duties have never been so simple.
Salmon: You can use your favorite salmon variety that best fits your budget. Atlantic salmon is readily available and more affordable than Chinook and sockeye. That said, Chinook and sockeye are considered better quality. You can’t go wrong with any variety.
Tortillas: Feel free to use flour tortillas or corn tortillas. Both work well. It’s simply a matter of preference.
Blackening seasoning: We use a mixture of salt, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, Mexican oregano, cumin and cayenne pepper. Of course, you’re also welcome to use a store-bought blackening seasoning, but homemade spice mixtures are always so much more flavorful.
Pineapple pico de gallo: For this, we need pineapple, jalapeño, fresh ginger, red onion, cilantro, lime juice and salt. If you’d like another fruit salsa option, my tropical pico de gallo or mango-habanero salsa are also excellent with these tacos.
Step 1: Before we prepare the blackened salmon, we wrap the tortillas in foil (photo 1) and then pop them into a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Now we stir together the various spices in a small bowl to make the blackening seasoning and rub the spice mixture all over the salmon pieces. This is what gives us the blackening crust, so rub generously (photo 2).
Step 3: In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, we pour in the canola oil and heat it over medium-high heat just until it begins to smoke. We carefully place the salmon seasoning-side down, turn down the heat to medium and cook until the crust blackens, about three to five minutes (photo 3).
Step 4: Once the seasoning side blackens, we flip the salmon and continue to cook until the salmon easily flakes with a fork (photo 4).
Step 5: Now we remove the salmon from the skillet and flake into bite-size chunks (photo 5).
Just like that, we’re ready to pile the salmon into warm tortillas and pile it high with our favorite toppings. Serve with a Texas margarita, some coconut-lime rice and enjoy every delicious bite. You may also want to check out this handy guide on what to serve with fish tacos to complete the perfect meal.
Bonus: For more Mexican-inspired favorites, you'll love these creamy poblano enchiladas.
Of course, the recommended pineapple pico de gallo is perfect, but let’s not stop there. After all, taco toppings are part of the fun. Here are a few of my favorite ideas, but feel free to get creative and put your own spin on the toppings.
- Mexican crema or sour cream
- Guacamole, fresh avocado slices or avocado salsa
- Shredded green cabbage or red cabbage
- Fresh lime juice
- Chopped tomato
- Chopped cilantro
- Pickled red onions or radishes
- Cotija cheese
- Sliced green onion
- Hot sauce
Blackened fish is not burned. This style of cooking simply means the meat was coated in a special seasoning and then cooked in oil that just begins to smoke until the outside reaches a dark brown to black exterior for a crisp texture. Chicken and shrimp are also popular options for blackening, and it’s a common cooking technique with Cajun cuisine.
While I love slow-roasted salmon served at medium rare, I recommend cooking the salmon to medium, which is an internal temperature of 130-135 degrees. I tried the salmon in this recipe at both medium rare and medium and found the texture worked better for tacos at medium.
Note that the USDA recommends cooking salmon to 145 degrees, but that will leave you with dry, unsatisfying salmon. No one wants that. Plenty of world-renowned chefs cook their salmon between medium rare and medium.
As long as you keep the cooked salmon in an airtight container in the refrigerator, you can store the leftovers for three to four days. You can use the salmon for another taco meal, or it’s great on a salad.
Prepare pineapple pico de gallo ahead of time: If you opt to make the pineapple salsa, you can make it a few hours or even two or three days in advance. Not only does this give time for the flavors to meld, but it makes entertaining even easier.
Let the salmon sit at room temperature 30 minutes before cooking: This takes the chill off the salmon and allows the fish to cook more evenly.
Cut the salmon slab into pieces: If your salmon came in one big slab, I recommend cutting it down into four pieces. Otherwise, the fish will take much longer to cook.
Remove the tortillas from the oven after 10 minutes: Even if you’re still working on the tacos, remove the tortillas after 10 minutes. The foil will keep them warm. If the tortillas stay in the oven for too long, they will dry out.
Use fresh spices: After six months, dried spices start to lose their potency. Replace your spices once they’re past their peak quality.
If you’re looking for a beer pairing, a juicy IPA is perfect. These fruit-forward IPAs nicely complement the pineapple pico de gallo, and it counters the richness of the salmon. Plus, the hops help enhance the spice.
For a wine, you’ll adore a crisp sauvignon blanc. This wine comes with a nice acidity to cut through the fatty salmon, and it offers citrusy lime notes to perfectly accent the fish and salsa.
Of course, you also can’t go wrong with a little tequila, such as my tequila sour, tequila lemonade or triple citrus tequila smash. If a margarita is more your style, I have plenty of options for you. You’ll especially love a fruity margarita, like my pineapple-coconut margarita, raspberry margarita, jalapeno-mango margarita or blackberry margarita.
When you need a summery Mexican dinner, you will love these blackened salmon tacos with a fresh pineapple pico de gallo with its simple preparation with an explosion of tropical flavor. Bring on taco night.
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Blackened Salmon Tacos With Pineapple Pico de Gallo
- Aluminum foil
- 12-inch cast-iron skillet
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
Blackened Salmon Tacos
- 12 corn or flour tortillas
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 ½-2 pounds salmon skin on, cut into four evenly sized pieces
- 3-4 tablespoons canola oil
- Additional desired toppings
Pineapple Pico de Gallo
- 2 cups diced pineapple
- 1 jalapeño stemmed, leave in seeds
- ¼ cup finely diced red onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 lime juiced
Blackened Salmon Tacos
- Wrap the tortillas tightly in foil. Place in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes to warm. Remove after 10 minutes. The foil will keep the tortillas warm.
- In a small bowl, stir together the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, dried Mexican oregano, cayenne pepper and ground cumin to make the blackening seasoning. Generously rub the salmon pieces with the blackening seasoning.
- Pour enough canola oil in the cast-iron skillet so that's it's well-coated. Turn on the stove to medium-high heat. Continue to heat the oil just until it begins to smoke. Carefully add the salmon seasoning-side down and turn the heat down to medium. Cook until the blackening exterior develops, about three to five minutes.
- Flip the salmon onto the skin side. Cook until the fish easily flakes with a fork and the internal temperature reaches 130-135 degrees.
- Remove the fish from the skillet and allow it to rest for five to 10 minutes. Use a fork to flake into bite-size pieces. Fill the warm tortillas with blackened salmon, pineapple pico de gallo and desired toppings. Enjoy!
Pineapple Pico de Gallo
- Add the pineapple, jalapeño, red onion, cilantro, ginger and salt to a mixing bowl. Squeeze the lime juice on top.
- Stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Visit this full tutorial on making the pineapple pico de gallo for additional tips and tricks.
- If you opt to make the pineapple salsa, you can make it a few hours or even two or three days in advance. Not only does this give time for the flavors to meld, but it makes entertaining even easier.
- Let the salmon sit at room temperature 30 minutes before cooking. This takes the chill off the salmon and allows the fish to cook more evenly.
- Use fresh spices. After six months, dried spices start to lose their potency. Replace your spices once they’re past their peak quality.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.