Pan-Fried Salmon Mexican Style
Salmon is a wonderful fish to work with but make sure you get a good quality piece. This recipe calls for filets not steaks. Choose fresh (not frozen) salmon and pick some filets that are about 1 or 1¼ inch thick. A good indicator of freshness is a bright pink color. Fresh salmon smells like water not like fish. If you are using vacuum-packed fish then use the best before date as a freshness indicator as well as the color.
Salmon can be baked, pan-fried, roasted, grilled, or even cooked in the crockpot. The following recipe uses a skillet and a little oil for a pan-fried result. Pan-frying is a nice cooking method because it is so easy and you can keep an eye on the salmon the whole time. If you wrap it in foil and bake it, you have to open the oven (letting the heat out) and unwrap the salmon to check doneness. With pan-frying you can tell at a glance when it is done, making it a good cooking method for the beginner. Pan-frying is faster too.
Serve the finished salmon with a side salad or with your favorite Mexican vegetable side dish. It would be good with Mexican rice or you can even make a sandwich with the salmon, adding some mayo too. This is quite a spicy recipe so if you prefer your food milder just make sure you scrape out the seeds from the chili (those are the hottest part!) or use ¼ of a chili instead of ½ of one. You can even grind some chili powder over the fish if you do not have a fresh chili pepper. The end result will be very similar.
As well as boasting a rich, full flavor, this is a nice colorful recipe which will look fabulous presented on the plate with some kind of greens like snow peas, broccoli or anything else with a bright green hue. Consider creamed spinach too. Although this is not a typical south of the border dish the soft, creaminess will contrast nicely with the spicy bite of the fish. If you prefer to serve this as an appetizer, perhaps before a meat course, then add a few lettuce leaves and serve half-portions so you do not fill your dinner guests up too much before the main dish. However you serve it, this Mexican salmon recipe is sure to impress.
- 2 fresh salmon filets (about 7 oz each)
- ½ minced fresh red chili pepper
- Juice from ¼ lime
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Salad, to serve (optional)
- Season both sides of the salmon filets using salt and black pepper.
- Let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Rub half the oil over the fish and let it sit for another 5 minutes.
- Heat a nonstick skillet over a high heat until a droplet of water 'dances' when you drop it in there.
- Turn the heat down to moderate and add the other tablespoon of oil.
- Add slightly more if you are not using a nonstick skillet.
- Add the fish, skin side up, and cook for 2 minutes.
- Use a wide spatula to flip it over.
- Squeeze the lemon juice on top and add the minced chili.
- Cook for another 5 minutes or until the salmon is done.
- You do not need to flip it again.
- A toothpick inserted into the center of a filet should come out clean when it is cooked through.
- Also the salmon should not be glossy in the center anymore when it is done.
- Serve the salmon hot, with a fresh salad of your choice, perhaps some lettuce, red onion and tomatoes, or another type of side dish.
You can see in the photo how the salmon is topped with a minced chili, both the red part and the seeds. The seeds are the hottest part so leave those out if you want this milder. Salmon is an elegant, tasty and clever choice. Not only does it offer plenty of natural flavor of its own but it also offers ‘healthy’ fats which are beneficial to any diet. The lime and chili add a subtle south of the border flavor while the salad adds more nutrients to your plate. Serve some garlic mayonnaise or sour cream with this if you wish, both to soften the spiciness of the fish and to complement the salad.
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