The salmon purists are probably yelling at me right now – and I get it. Freshly caught salmon tastes phenomenal all by itself, with just a sprinkling of celery salt and maybe some lemon juice. But we’ve been eating a lot of salmon this summer and I wanted to mix it up a little bit. Every dinner party I’ve served this to has absolutely loved it, and for those who don’t like fish you can easily substitute a thin chicken cutlet. Note that the mango salsa makes a little bit extra for snacking, which usually gets devoured in seconds by hungry mouths armed with a few tortilla chips.
BLACKENED SALMON WITH MANGO SALSA
(makes enough for topping on the fish plus extra for snacking)
2 cups diced mango, approx. 1 large or 2 small mangos
1/2 cup red bell pepper, small diced (about ½ a red bell pepper)
1/2 cup red onion, diced finely (about ½ of a small red onion)
2 green onions, both white and green parts, sliced
1/2 cup packed, chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 medium jalapeños, de seeded and diced (leave in some seeds if you want extra spice)
red chili flakes, optional, to taste
1.5 teaspoons chili powder
1.5 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch or two of ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons canola oil, for cooking (or any neutral oil will work)
1. Mix all salsa ingredients together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2. Cut your salmon into 4 equal filets. Set on a plate for at least 15 min, covered, to warm a little from being in the refrigerator. While you are waiting, mix the spices together in a small bowl. Pour the spices onto a small plate.
3. Heat a large pan (I recommend using cast iron, if you have one) over medium heat. While the pan is heating, pat each salmon filet top side down in the spices. Make sure the filet has a decent coating of spices (just on the top side).
4. Add canola oil to the pre-heated pan and place the salmon top side down (skin side up) and cook until the spices have blackened, about 3 min. Flip each filet over and continue cooking for another 3-4min, until they have just barely cooked through. It’s ok if the skin burns or sticks to the pan. When the filets are done, remove from the pan immediately to prevent overcooking. These are best served warm, but I’ve also served them at room temperature and they are still delicious. Top with the mango salsa before serving.
*Sustainably caught, if it’s within your budget. I recommend Sockeye.