If you want to create a smoky BBQ experience without having to leave your kitchen, blackening is a wonderful cooking technique to achieve that! Whether you’re looking for a Fish Friday recipe with a difference or are simply in the mood for a smoky charred meal for dinner, our Blackened Salmon with Mango Salsa recipe is our best fish recipe to date! Everything from the smoky seasoning to the fresh and zingy mango salsa makes this recipe a winner!
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Now that I started writing a food blog, I realised how much of my food is inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi’s cooking. I first tried salmon and fruit combination when I was working at one of the Ottolenghi delis in London. One of the dishes that was on the menu almost every day was baked salmon fillets with pineapple salsa. And it was always one of my favourite things to eat!
Years later I tasted a wonderful sea bream ceviche with mango at a small restaurant in Cheshire and instantly fell in love with the combination.
Salmon goes very well with a variety of fruit. Tart fruit, like lime, lemon and pineapple are perfect with oilier fish, as the sourness cuts through the oil-rich flavour. On the other hand, pairing salmon with sweet fruit, like melon, pear or mango enhances not only the rich oily flavours of cooked salmon but also complements the texture very well.
What is Blackening?
Blackening is a cooking technique typically found in Cajun cuisine. Fish or meat is drenched in oil or melted butter and rubbed with spices before cooking. Blackened dishes are usually cooked in cast-iron skillets, but can be replicated in standard frying pans too. The key is to get the pan very hot before adding the fish. This ensures that the black crust will form. Not only does the crust add the smoky bbq-like flavour, but it also keeps the fish from drying out.
Since the crust will be charred, we wouldn’t recommend using any fresh herbs in your blackening mix, as they will burn and taste bitter. The blackening comes from the butter charring in the pan, not from the spices.
It is best to use a cast-iron skillet for blackened fish or meat dishes because it heats up to higher temperatures and more evenly. It means that your fish/meat cooks quicker and you are at less risk of burning it on the outside before it’s cooked through.
The last advise I’d give you is to turn the kitchen fan on and crack a window open. Blackening the fish will create quite a bit of smoke in your kitchen due to the combination of high-fat content and high temperature of the pan. It is all worth it though, trust me on that one!
How to Make Blackened Salmon with Mango Salsa?
Prepare the mango salsa by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set this aside for later.
Start cooking the rice following packet instructions. When cooked, drain and keep warm in a covered pan.
Make the blacken seasoning by mixing all the spices and salt in a small bowl. Then melt the butter (but do not let it boil or brown). Pour it over the salmon fillets. With your fingers, rub the seasoning all over the salmon fillets.
Heat your cast iron skillet or a non-stick frying pan on high heat. No need to add oil, but make sure it is very hot before you add the salmon.
Add the fillets skin side up. Cook the fillets for 3-4 minutes. Gently flip the fillets and cook for another 3-4 minutes. When cooked, squeeze over the juice of half the lime.
***We cooked 2 salmon fillets for this recipe and chose to pan fry them, but if you’re cooking for a crowd, you may find it easier to bake the whole side of salmon. Simply rub the seasoning all over, place on a baking tray and bake at 230C Fan for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your salmon. Your fish won’t char, but sill still taste amazing!***
Serve your salmon with rice and a couple of spoonfuls of mango salsa! I’m confident you will LOVE this!
Let us know what you thought about this Blackened Salmon with Mango Salsa recipe. For other fish dinner ideas, have a look at our recipes for:
Blackened Salmon with Mango Salsa
- Cast-Iron Skillet or heavy based frying pan
For the Rub:
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp mixed dried herbs
- 20 g unsalted butter melted
- 2 salmon fillets (approx.120g each)
- ½ lime
For Mango Salsa:
- ½ ripe mango cut into small cubes
- 1 small ripe avocado cut into small cubes
- 10 g fresh coriander finely chopped
- ⅛ red onion finely chopped
- ¼ red chilli finely chopped
- ½ tsp runny honey
- ¼ lime juice & zest
- 150 g rice
- ½ lime cut in wedges
- Prepare the mango salsa by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set this aside for later.
- Start cooking rice following packet instructions. When cooked, drain and keep warm in a covered pan.
- Make the blacken seasoning by mixing all the spices and salt in a small bowl.
- Melt the butter (but do not let it boil or brown). Pour it over the salmon fillets. With your fingers, rub the seasoning all over the salmon fillets.
- Heat your cast iron skillet or a non-stick frying pan on high heat. No need to add oil, but make sure it is very hot before you add the salmon.
- Add the fillets skin side up. Cook the fillets for 3-4 minutes.
- Gently flip the fillets and cook for another 3-4 minutes basting continuously. When cooked, squeeze over the juice of half the lime.
- Serve your salmon with rice and a couple of spoonfuls of mango salsa!