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Mango + Avocado Salsa on Pan-Seared Salmon

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Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

As the defiant second child growing up in a multigenerational household, I made it a point to assert my contrariness whenever I could.

You want me to wear a coat because it’s 30°F outside and the windows are frosted over? No way! I’m wearing a TANK TOP. And the reason my teeth are chattering is ‘cause I’m sooo HOT.

The power struggles spilled over to the kitchen table, too. My parents and grandparents loved tropical fruit—papaya, guava, durian—but I would cross my arms and turn my nose up in disgust. I don’t want to try that mango. Papaya and durian? YUCK. I despise tropical fruit! Blech! [Insert gagging, retching noises here.]

I hate to admit it, but I should’ve listened to my elders. Especially about mango—I crave that fragrant, tender fruit now, especially the golden Ataufo variety from Mexico, which is similar to the Manila mango (a.k.a. champagne mango).

(I still can’t stand papaya and durian, though. Gross.)

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

One of my favorite summer dishes is pan-seared salmon topped with a tangy and refreshing mango and avocado salsa—it’s quick, simple, and delicious. It’s easy on the eyes, too.

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Make your Mango + Avocado Salsa first, so you can top your salmon as soon as it’s finished cooking.

Here’s what to gather to make 4-6 servings of salsa:

  • 2 cups diced ripe mango (about 2 mangos)
  • ½ cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 cup diced Hass avocado (1 medium avocado)
  • ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • big pinch of kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Juice from 1 lime

Here’s how you make it:

Grab two ripe mangos and dice them up.

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Clueless about mangos? Check out this video from the National Mango Board, which shows you how to pick a ripe one and cut it up.

Place the diced mango in a bowl…

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and add all the other ingredients, like so:

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Stir to combine, and adjust for seasoning. Easy, right?

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’m certainly not the first to extol the virtues of combining mangos and avocado. This pairing has been featured in food magazines, cookbooks, TV shows, blogs, and restaurants for…well, forever. But there’s a reason why so many cooks love this flavor combination: It’s goo-ood.

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But you wanna know what makes it even better?

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Topping it on SALMON!

There are tons of ways you can cook salmon. My favorite preparations are: (1) sous vide, (2) Elise Bauer’s grilling method, and (3) J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s pan-fried approach.

Lately, I’ve been following Kenji’s pan-frying instructions because I’m obsessed with crispy salmon skin.

Here’s what you need to make pan-seared salmon for 4 people:

  • 1½ pounds fresh wild king salmon filet (pick a thick, uniform filet with minimal tapering if you can)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper

Here’s how to make the salmon:

Start by cutting the salmon filet into 4 serving-size pieces. (If the skin is still scaly, use a kitchen towel to wipe off the scales.)

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Pat ‘em dry. Really dry. And then season all sides with salt and pepper.

Heat a tablespoon or two of ghee in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the salmon, skin-side-down, and then turn down the heat to medium-low. Gently press each piece of salmon down with a flexible spatula to prevent them from curling up—you want the skin to crisp evenly.

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Cook for 6 minutes or until the crispy skin releases from the surface of the skillet (or until a meat thermometer registers between 120°F and 130°F). For color, I like to then quickly sear the other sides of the salmon, about 30 seconds per side.

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I serve the filets with the crispy skin on top, and spoon on the Mango + Avocado Salsa.

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Mango + Avocado + Salmon = Flavor Explosion.


Looking for more recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel, December 2013).