Salmon with Avocado Crema
and avocado are two of my favorite foods. For this Valentineís
Day, why not pair them together for your sweetie?
chose salmon for a couple reasons. First, itís a good
source of lean protein and is lauded for its omega-3 fatty
acids. Secondly, I think salmon has that "special
meal" feel because a nice fillet makes for a pretty
because salmon is such a popular dinner choice, some of us
get into a rut when cooking it.
Valentineís Day is the perfect time to spice it up. Itís
as simple as using your favorite chili powder and a few
other pantry staples. The salmon in todayís recipe has an
ancho chili powder-based spice rub and is topped with a
sweet glaze. The sweet and spicy tones provide just the
it comes to chili powders, all are not exactly the same.
Products simply labeled chili powder may also contain other
ingredients including salt, cumin, garlic powder and even
oregano. In todayís recipe, I used ancho chili powder, one
of my favorites. I like it because itís fairly mild and
has hints of smokiness. In its fresh form, ancho is called a
poblano chili pepper. Itís a deep green color, almost
heart-shaped and mild in flavor. Once dried, the pepper
takes on a little more heat.
can use any favorite chili powder in this recipe, just keep
in mind you donít want to overpower the mild-flavored
best advice for salmon? Donít overcook it. I know, I know.
Itís easily done. But you can take a few steps to prevent
it from happening.
is a good way to be certain the salmon stays moist during
cooking, even if you overcook it by a few minutes. To brine
salmon (even the two pieces in todayís recipe) mix
together 6 cups of water with 1/4 cup kosher salt and 1/4
cup sugar, until both dissolve. Place the salmon pieces in a
glass baking dish, pour the salt/sugar mixture over, making
sure the salmon is submerged in the water. Refrigerate it
for about 2 hours. When ready to cook, remove the salmon
from the brine and discard the brine. Rinse and pat the
salmon dry. You can brine the salmon as little as one hour
and up to 3 hours. Brine fish any longer than 3 hours and
you run the risk of it becoming mushy.
preferred method of cooking salmon is to broil it because it
is quicker than baking and easier for me to keep an eye on
it to judge for doneness.
last component to this dish that makes it special is the
avocado crema. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I gush
over avocados. Rarely is my kitchen without avocado. I love
them for their creamy, almost buttery flavor and that they,
like salmon, are considered a good fat. The avocado crema is
made by mixing avocado with sour cream, a bit of lime juice
to help smooth it out and a pinch or two of salt. This
creamy mixture also helps to balance this dish because it
provides a coolness to the chili spice.
CHILI-SPICED SALMON WITH AVOCADO CREMA
2 / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 40 minutes
center cut salmon pieces, about 5 ounces each, rinsed patty
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
tablespoon ancho chili powder (or favorite chili powder)
teaspoon smoked paprika
teaspoon garlic powder
teaspoon cumin, optional
tablespoons maple syrup or agave
ripe avocado, pitted, peeled
cup Mexican crema or sour cream
teaspoons lime juice
the salmon, if desired. Place the pieces in a glass baking
dish. In a large glass measuring cup, mix together 6 cups
water with 1/4 cup salt and 1/4 cup sugar until both
dissolve. Pour over the salmon pieces, making sure thereís
enough liquid to completely cover them. If there isnít,
add more. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1
hour and up to 3 hours. When ready to cook, remove salmon
from brine, discard brine and rinse and pat salmon dry.
the salmon pieces lightly with salt and black pepper.
small bowl, combine all the rub ingredients and sprinkle all
over the salmon. Let stand for 15 minutes.
in a separate small bowl combine the glaze ingredients.
blender, food processor or drink blender combine the
avocado, sour cream, lime juice and pinch of salt. Process
until the mixture is smooth, but slightly on the thick side,
like Dijon mustard. Set aside.
the broiler. Place the salmon on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Spoon some of the glaze on top ó some will drip off. Place
under the broiler, about 6 inches from the heat element, and
broil about 10 minutes. Halfway through, spoon on more glaze
from broiler, let stand a few minutes before plating. Slide
a spatula between the skin and the salmon flesh and transfer
salmon to a plate. Serve drizzled with crema.
and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
Nutrition information not available.