Updated to: Amazin’ Asian Sauce
This dish is delish — I mean, truly restaurant-worthy — but it’s also super easy and totally healthy.
I have to give the hubs partial credit for this one.
I had made this spice-rubbed salmon for dinner one night, but hadn’t really figured out a vegetable to go with it, and Eric was doing Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet (which is NO carbs), so I served the salmon with some romaine spears alongside and some ready-made guacamole to dip them in.
But instead of using the guacamole as dip, he put it on top of his salmon — and loved the combination!
Since then, I’ve evolved the recipe a bit. I started out with a recipe called “Broiled BBQ-spiced Rubbed Salmon,” from The Sonoma Diet Cookbook, but I’ve tweaked the spice combo each time I’ve made it, and I was really happy with the way it came out this last time I made it.
For the guacamole, I use Wholly Guacamole brand, and it comes in these boxes that contain individual-use packets. Which is just brilliant! If you just need a bit for a recipe, or you just want a quick easy snack, these are the perfect size, without the risk of the rest of batch turning brown before you can use it. I use the “Classic,” but they also make a “Spicy” version.
Recipe: Ancho-crusted salmon with avocado crema
2 8-oz. salmon fillets, about 1″ thick
1/2 T. ancho chili powder
1/2 T. paprika or smoked paprika
1/2 t. kosher salt (or 1/4 t. table salt)
1/2 t. granulated garlic
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. ground cumin
2 T. olive oil
1 2-oz. packet of guacamole (that’s one two-ounce packet, not a 12-ounce packet)
2 oz. Greek yogurt (or sour cream, or dairy-free yogurt)
optional, for garnish: diced red onion
You will preheat the broiler later in the recipe.
Measure the thickness of the salmon at its thickest point. You want to be accurate to within 1/4″. To do this, I push a toothpick into the thickest point of the salmon, then pinch the toothpick so my thumb and finger just touch the top of the fish. Then, keeping my fingers in the same place on the toothpick, I remove it from the fish and move it to a measuring stick. Make a mental note of the measurement. (Or a written note, if you have a short memory.)
Drizzle the olive oil in the pan, then spread it around. This recipe is for two servings, and for that I use a 6 x 8″ baking pan, but for more servings, you’ll need a larger pan. This photo is post-drizzled, but pre-spread:
Mix together all of the spices in a small dish. Before you begin to season the salmon, fold any super-thin edges under (or over) so that the thin part is doubled, and the fillet is a fairly uniform thickness across, like this.
Just press it down a little with your fingers; the fish is a bit sticky, so it will sort of adhere to itself.
Next, sprinkle half of the seasoning mix over the top side of both fillets. Pat the spices gently onto the fish.
Then turn them over and season the other side, using the rest of the spice mix.
Move your top oven rack to 4 to 6″ below the broiler, and preheat broiler. Let the spiced salmon sit at room temp while the broiler heats up. Then place them in the oiled pan, folded side down, and put the pan in the oven.
Remember your fish thickness in inches? Now’s when it matters! Cook your salmon for 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. So if your salmon is 3/4″ thick, cook it for 7.5 minutes. 1″ thick: 10 minutes. 1.25″ thick, 12.5 minutes. And, turn it over once, half way through baking.
While the salmon is cooking, mix together the guacamole and the yogurt. I don’t bother to measure the yogurt; I put the guac in first, then just “eyeball” the yogurt so that it looks like about the same amount.
We had plentiful leftovers from a pork roast my husband had smoked, so I was searching for something tasty to do with them. Of course, I could do pork fried rice or a Vietnamese sandwich, but I didn’t think the smoky flavor would work with Asian. I found this recipe at Group Recipes, and it sounded delish, but I’d never had pork with pasta before and wasn’t too sure how it would turn out.
And I was right, on both counts. The sauce was absolutely yummy, but pork and pasta… eh, a little weird.
I thought salmon would be a better match for the sauce, so we tried that the following week. The flavor combination was good, but stirring the baked salmon into the pasta was a mistake, texture-wise. I think it would work great to serve the salmon filet on top of or beside the pasta, but it just got too shredded and mushy when stirred in.
I haven’t tried them yet, but I think shrimp or chicken would be the perfect meat for this dish.
Oh, and if you’re a spice wimp like me, you might want to knock the ancho chile down to 2 or 3 teaspoons. My hubs and daughter probably would have liked it just fine at triple that, but when I’m making the dish, I get to make the call!
A great side dish for this would be my Slightly Spicy Slaw.