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Seared Salmon with Avocado Salsa

Salmon with avocado salsa seems like some weird nouveau creation divorced from environment or reality… but if you thought that, you’d be wrong. Scores of variations of salmon with avocado salsa exist, and I could have probably come up with something fancy. But I didn’t. Nope, this is the kind of dinner I do on a typical work night: Simple, and it really does come together in about 30 minutes.

Prep Time

        Prep time: 20 minutes
        Cook time: 10 minutes
        Yield: Serves 4


    •    salt
    •    1/3 cup chopped cilantro
    •    1/2 cup chopped red onion
    •    1 large garlic clove, minced
    •    2 avocados, cut into chunks
    •    juice of 2 limes, about 1/4 cup
    •    1 1/2 to 2 pounds salmon fillets
    •    1 Roma or other plum tomato, diced
    •    1 to 3 hot green chiles, such as serrano minced
    •    3 tbsps high smoke point oil such as canola, safflower, grapeseed or rice bran oil


  1. Take the salmon out of the fridge and salt it well while you start the salsa. Soak the red onion in the lime juice; this helps remove that sulfurous taste of raw onion. Let the onion soak and the salmon sit out for 20 minutes while you chop everything else.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a saute pan large enough to cook all the salmon fillets. Pat the salmon dry with paper towels. If you are using skin-on pieces, use a butter knife to scrape the skin -- this dries it out even more so the skin gets extra crispy. Lay the salmon down on the hot pan skin side down (or on the side that used to have the skin). Adjust the heat so the fish is sizzling like bacon: Neither an inferno nor a lazy pop. Let this cook undisturbed for 2 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, put the onion and lime juice into a large bowl and add the garlic, chiles, diced tomato, avocado chunks and cilantro. Add salt to taste.
  4. Use a soup spoon to baste the salmon with the hot oil. Do this on each fillet until the meat tightens a little and turns completely opaque, about 30 seconds per fillet. If you like your salmon cooked all the way to the center, repeat this process a couple times. Do not flip the salmon. Let the salmon cook for a total of 6 to 10 minutes, depending on how thick it is and how well you like your salmon. A thin salmon fillet, such as a pink salmon or a small sockeye or silver, will take only 6 minutes or so total. A really thick piece of king salmon or Atlantic might require a little more than 10 minutes.
  5. Carefully remove the salmon from the pan with a spatula; it should come right up, or stick in only one or two small spots, and place it crispy side up on the plate. Give everyone some salsa on the side and open a beer.

This great family recipe is thanks to Honest-Food.Net at


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