coming around to it August 20, 2013

Habanero-Honey Salmon

My no-fly list is pretty short when it comes to food. My disdain for green peppers is well-documented and clearly understood. I have a texture thing when it comes to cucumber but it’s completely arbitrary and has no rhyme or reason. I’ve just now gotten around to liking celery – no real reason for that one, either. My only other food I’m not so stoked about – salmon. Cooked salmon, I should say. Put it in front of me at a sushi place or smoked on a bagel and it’s on. My friend Helene does a good job with cooking salmon and makes it often when I visit and I’ve enjoyed it every time…but when I try and make it, not so much.

Usually when I want to coax myself into eating something, adding a little bit of heat to something will get me on board. As I have a very important dress to get into in about a month (!!!), I have been trying to eat mostly healthy proteins and vegetables. Salmon is so good for you and I’ve wanted to like it for so long. To experiment, I made this dish as a solo lunch (my future hubs is even more anti-salmon than I am) to see if I could make myself come around. I did. The keys here are the heat from the habanero sauce and getting a nice sear on the fish – texture is everything here. Pairing it with a super crunchy salad also helped balance out what I always think of as a “soft” fish – you can editorialize the salad however you want with items you have on hand. Corn and avocado just naturally pair well with the sweet heat.

Honey-Habanero Salmon with Corn & Avocado Salad- serves 2

The key to this salmon is good sear, good seasoning and a little heat. The crunch of the salad really helps add texture to compliment the salmon – add pineapple, papaya, mango, or radishes to the salad, too, if you have them. Using the Tabasco Habanero Sauce in place of working with actual peppers gives a good amount of spice without tormenting yourself with cleaning and cooking the habaneros. Adjust the spice however you’d like here – the amount in the recipe is a good starting point. If you want a little more burn, gradually add more to the sauce.

For the salmon:

  • 2 6-8 ounce pieces of fresh salmon, skin on
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco Habanero sauce
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp. light brown sugar

For the salad:

  •  1 large ear fresh white or yellow corn, shucked but left on the cob
  •  1 large avocado, pitted and cubed (squeeze a bit of lime or lemon juice on it before you cut it!)
  •  2 green onions, white and green parts cut in chunky pieces
  •  1/2 cup cilantro, tough stems removed
  •  kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • a tiny drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (optional – i didn’t need it)

-  In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, Tabasco, lime juice and brown sugar. Set aside.

-  On a stove burner over medium-high heat, place the corn cob over the flame and rotate periodically (use tongs please!) until the corn begins to char a bit. Remove from the flame. In a large mixing bowl, cut the corn off the cob and combine with the avocado, green onions, cilantro and salt & pepper (and olive oil, if using). Set it in the fridge or cover at room temp while you cook the salmon.

- In a non-stick skillet, drizzle a bit of olive oil or a spritz of cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and place skin side down in the pan. Cook for 3 minutes then jiggle the pan to make sure the skin isn’t stuck to the bottom. With a fish spatula or off-set spatula, flip over to the flesh side. Drizzle 2/3 of the sauce over the fish and cook for another 3-4 minutes. You want a nice sear & caramelization on the fish and the inside medium-rare to medium.

- To assemble: Place one piece of the salmon on a plate. Pile on a big spoonful of the salad. Drizzle the salmon with a bit of the remaining sauce. Serve immediately.

This recipe is part of my Tabasco Tastemakers series that I’m working on with the folks at Tabasco. I’m being compensated for the recipes but all photos, words and the recipe itself are mine. Thanks!

Comments

Mimi Aug 20, 2013 08:08 am

Funny how tastes are. Salmon is my favorite fish because of all that flavor! But each to her own. Thank goodness! That’s a beautiful meal!

Ali @ Inspiralized Aug 20, 2013 09:08 am

I don’t know if it’s the photography or the fact that I love the sweet-spicy combo, but this is the BEST dish of the week! Thanks for the post…. deeelish, can’t wait to make it.

I loooove salmon, but my roommate and boyfriend don’t like me cooking fish in the house because they HATE it. I would love this version, bring on the spice!

Eileen Aug 20, 2013 02:08 pm

Cooked salmon has never been my favorite either, although I will certainly scarf down the sushi! I think a sweet glaze like this sounds like a great way to move toward cooked salmon enjoyment. :)

Mallory Aug 20, 2013 04:08 pm

I think a lot of people don’t like salmon because they are accustomed to the fishy, farmed, Atlantic stuff. Wild BC salmon (or other West coast salmon) is so much better.

[...] honey habanero salmon with corn + avocado. think we all know I’m a freak about all three of those [...]

mayra Sep 9, 2013 08:09 pm

making this for dinner tonight, but shouldn’t i pour the sauce on the salmon before flipping??

friday favorites. | cucinabuona Sep 13, 2013 09:09 am

[...] Healthy Bite: Honey-Habanero Salmon + Corn & Avocado Salad. I am a huge fan of the savory/sweet combos and this one looks pretty incredible! I am definitely [...]

Shobelyn Sep 23, 2013 08:09 am

I have different ways of cooking salmon. I bathe the meat with tons of garlic, wrap it with tin foil, add in tomatoes, onions and cheese. Bake for 25 mins and you got a scampy flavor salmon. Please try it you might like it too.

Chacha Garcia Sep 28, 2013 06:09 pm

Just looking at the pic I know it’s delicioud and I’m making it tonite! Thanks.

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Lauren Everson Oct 22, 2013 11:10 pm

This is a beautiful dish. I love salmon, when anyone other than myself cooks it. Something just never seems right when I do it. That and I can never get excited about it when it’s on my weekly menu. But this, this looks divine.

coming around to it | CookingPlanet Dec 10, 2013 10:12 pm

[...] coming around to it [...]