Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Baby Bear Chili Rubbed Salmon

No, it's not too hot, and it doesn't taste like you're in a San Antonio chili cook-off. It just tastes delicious. By the time you finish marinating and cooking it, there's a warm, spicy flavor that enhances the salmon beautifully. One of the best surprises was, when I used honey instead of sugar in the dry rub, it really improved the flavor. I've tried smoked paprika (too mild), chipotle chili powder (too hot!), and chili powder (just right), hence the name :-).

Try serving it with a side of roasted or steamed broccolini tossed with lemon zest. The heat from the broccolini will release the essential oils, so you get the lemon flavor without the acid. Serves 4

1- 1 1/4 lb wild caught salmon, skin on
1 lime, cut in quarters
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 TB raw honey
3 TB apple cider vinegar

Optional salsa
1/2 medium avocado, cut in small dice
1 TB small dice red onion or scallion
1/2 c pineapple, small dice
2 pinches kosher salt
1 TB lime juice

Preheat oven to 350*

If you're using a bigger piece of fish, be sure to proportionately increase the amount of spices, honey and marinade. In a small dish, combine the chili powder and salt. Thoroughly dry the salmon all over (leave it whole for now) with paper towels and then using your fingers, rub the honey all over the top - the skinless side - so there's a very thin coating. Sprinkle the chili-salt mixture evenly over the top and gently press/rub it in. Cut the salmon into 2 equal portions; I like to leave it in bigger pieces because there's less chance of over-cooking it. Kinda pretty, isn't it?

Combine the EVOO and vinegar in another small bowl and pour it in the bottom of a glass dish just big enough to hold the salmon (mine is 11"x7.5"). Put the salmon in upside down (skin side up) and let it marinate for 20 minutes.

If you're doing the salsa, now's the time to prep it. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside; the lime juice will keep the avocado from turning brown.

Lightly coat the bottom of a 12" oven-proof skillet with EVOO (approx 1 tsp) - not necessary if you're using nonstick - and heat just below medium-high on the stove. When the pan is hot, put the salmon in skin side up. Cook for about 4 minutes, turn right side up, and place in the oven to finish cooking with a splatter guard on top of the pan. This will take anywhere from 8-12 minutes depending on how thick the filet is and how well-done you like your salmon. It should still give gently when you press down on it, but not feel mushy. When it's done, cut the salmon into serving portions and serve with a wedge of lime, salsa spooned over the top.

?What the heck? That's not pineapple! We were out tonight, so I used mandarin oranges. It was pretty darn good, too, but I prefer the pineapple.


  1. I actually think I might be able to get Morgan to eat this! I'll have to use the super hot Chile powder though ;)

  2. Mmmm... I was planning to make salmon tonight and now I don't know if I'll do Baby Bear or Saffron Poached. :/

  3. Please let me know what you make and if you like it!