March 29, 2019

Chipotle Salmon with Mango Avocado Salsa

It's basically summer, with all the above-freezing days and sunlight past dinnertime. It's enough to get me in the mood for light, fresh dishes, but only if they're quick and easy to make since I don't want to be trapped in my hot claustrophobic kitchen longer than I have to. This salmon is ready in under 30 minutes, and all you have to do for the salsa is chop up some produce and let it sit for a while. Honestly, the hardest part is finding ripe mangos and avocados.

The tricks to a perfect salsa are good knife skills and time. You want the mangos and avocados to be the same size dice so you don't end up with any big chunks or small mushy pieces. This makes for a prettier appearance and better eating experience. There's also some red onion and jalapeno, which should be minced finely so you don't bite into any giant pieces. If you made them the same sizes as the mango and avocado, your friends and family would never want you to make this recipe again.

The chopped veggies (and fruit) get tossed in a light dressing. This infuses it with more flavor, and the acid keeps the avocado from browning immediately after you cut it. All you need are some lime juice, honey, olive oil, and some spices. They match the flavors in the salmon glaze to bring the whole dish together. I like to let it sit for about 2 hours, which is enough time for the flavors to meld together but not too long that everything turns brown and mushy.

The flavor in the salmon comes from a tasty glaze I make with the liquid from a can of chipotles in adobo, honey, lime juice, and spices. Pretty similar to the salsa dressing, right? The chipotles are responsible for most of the flavor, and they add a smoky heat that counters the sweetness and the acid from the honey and lime juice. That honey also makes the glaze caramelize beautifully, but keep an eye on it since it will go from brown and caramelized to black and burnt pretty quickly if you don't baby it. Luckily, it only takes about 10 minutes to cook so the hands-on time required for this dish is pretty short.

The salmon is best cooked in a skillet so you get all that surface area caramelized, but you can also use a grill, grill pan, or a nice hot oven (though it's not nearly as good). The cooking time depends on the size and thickness of your filets, so if you have a thicker piece you may want to sear it off and finish it in the oven so the glaze doesn't burn. A thermometer is going to be your friend here because cutting your fish open every few minutes to check on it is going to dry it out. Once it's cooked through to your liking, top it with a big scoop of that refreshing salsa and dig in! This recipe is going to be on my meal plan for the next few months, and if you don't mind your salmon cold or room temperature it makes a great lunch, too.

For the Salsa:
2 Mangoes, Diced
2 Avocados, Diced
1/4 Cup Minced Red Onion
1/2-1 Jalapeno, Minced
1 T Lime Juice
1 T Honey
1 T Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Cayenne
1/4 tsp Chili Powder

For the Salmon:
2-4 T Chipotles in Adobo
1/4 Cup Honey
2 T Lime Juice
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1 1/2 lbs Salmon Fillets

For the salsa, combine the mangoes, avocados, onion, and jalapeƱo. Whisk the lime juice, honey, olive oil, cayenne, and chili powder together. Add to the mango mixture and season with salt and pepper. Let sit for at least 2 hours.

For the salmon, combine the chipotles, honey, lime juice, garlic powder, and onion powder. Season generously with salt and pepper. Brush the sauce onto the salmon.

Heat a skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Sear the salmon flesh-side down until caramelized, about 4-6 minutes. Flip and finish cooking skin-side down, about 4-6 minutes more. Serve with the salsa.

Serves 4-6

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