I’ve cooked through quite a few dishes from Marcus Samuelsson’s The Rise by now. So when I say that this Crispy Pan Seared Salmon with Spicy Mango Salad has been my favorite recipe thus far, that is saying something.
While I made some tweaks to suit my own tastes and pantry (swapping croaker collar for salmon, searing the fish instead of steaming it), this is definitely a recipe that I will be making again and again. I could not get enough.
The flavors–tangy grapefruit, sweet mango, and smoky heat from the chipotle and habanero peppers–were amazing. Moreover, the contrasting textures from the sauteed peanuts and buttery salmon with crispy skin made eating this spicy mango salad an experience.
It is no wonder that this dish was inspired by Houston chef Chris Williams, who I had the pleasure of interviewing in my last post. As a restaurateur on the Texas Gulf Coast, Williams is a huge proponent of featuring seafood on his menu. He serves gulf fish, shrimp, catfish, lobster and grilled octopus at Lucille’s.
Although his dishes are greatly influenced by his southern roots, Williams is also very innovative. He finds inspiration in many different cultures–including his own chef de cuisine Khang Hoang’s Vietnamese heritage.
That cultural fusion was evident in this spicy mango salad. Latin chipotle pepper in adobo. Asian shrimp paste and fish sauce. The peanuts and ginger prominent in both Southeast Asian and West African cuisines. The citrus and tropical fruits popular in the Caribbean.
A Recipe for Deliciousness: Salmon with Spicy Mango Salad
I began by creating a mixture that would serve as both a marinade and the base of the salad dressing. It included freshly squeezed lemon, lime, and orange juice as well as chipotle pepper in adobo, minced ginger, thyme, and olive oil.
Next, I divided the chipotle citrus mixture between two bowls. I marinated seasoned salmon fillets in half the mixture for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Meanwhile, I added sliced pink grapefruit and ripe mango to the remaining chipotle citrus mixture. While the original recipe called for oranges instead of grapefruit, I loved the slight sourness the grapefruit brought to the salad dressing.
Then, I heated a pan over medium high heat and added some vegetable oil. I sauteed a diced onion, minced garlic, chopped peanuts, habanero pepper, chili powder, maggi and salt. I added the peanut habanero mixture to the bowl with the marinade, grapefruit, and mango.
While those flavors began to meld, I pan seared the marinated salmon over medium high heat. I like to start the fish skin side do wn for 4 minutes, flip, and cook it for another 3 to 4 minutes. It is very important not to overcook the salmon! You want it flaky and moist.
Finally, I tossed spring mix in the chipotle mango dressing and topped the salad with the seared salmon. Such a light and refreshing, yet satisfying, meal. This dish illustrates how tasty simple foods made with care and fresh ingredients can be.
For more seafood dishes, check out Crispy Shrimp Fritters with Bitter Greens and Grapefruit and Salmon Rasta Pasta.