Cajun Salmon and Salsa

With summer on the way, it’s out with heavy comfort foods and in with light, vibrant dishes full of bright colors and fresh flavors.  This week’s recipe features sockeye salmon, known for its deep red flesh and considered to have the richest flavor of all the varieties.  Full of vitamin D and omega-3s, this wild Alaska salmon is a delicious and heart-healthy choice, containing even more nutrients than other kinds of salmon.

This fresh Copper River salmon is pan-fried with a spicy, homemade Cajun seasoning and topped with a fruity and tropical mango salsa, proving that you don’t have to sacrifice great taste for a healthy meal!

This week’s recipe: Cajun Salmon with Mango Salsa

Why we like it:

Salmon is such a versatile fish, and with so many ways to cook and season it, it can easily be a staple ingredient in your summer recipe lineup.  You can stock up on Copper River salmon on May 24th, 2014, from 10 am to 4 pm at any of the Sunset Foods locations, where whole sockeye salmon are being flown in fresh from Alaska for our Copper River Salmon Tent Sale.

While this Cajun spice mix pairs perfectly with fresh salmon, it also adds bold flavor to a variety of dishes, and making your own batch is so very simple.  Store it in a mason jar or other airtight container and keep it in the pantry for all your future seasoning needs!

For the Cajun spice mix:

6 tbsp smoked paprika

4 tbsp kosher or coarse salt

4 tbsp granulated garlic (or garlic powder)

4 tbsp rubbed thyme

3 tbsp dried oregano

2 tbsp dehydrated onion (or onion powder)

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp black pepper


2 mangos

½ medium red onion

1-2 jalapeno peppers

2 medium cloves of garlic

handful fresh cilantro

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

3 tbsp fresh orange juice

salt and pepper

2 6-ounce salmon fillets

Cajun spice mix

To make your Cajun spice mix, combine your paprika, salt, granulated garlic, thyme, oregano, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and black pepper and stir together well.

Combining spices for cajun mix

You’ll have plenty left over for future recipes, but you can also halve or quarter the recipe if you only wish to make a small amount.

Saving the spice mix

Now it’s time to make the mango salsa!  The best way to dice the mango is to first cut away two large chunks of the flesh from the pit in the middle, leaving the skin on.

Preparing the mango

Using a small paring knife, score the flesh in strips lengthwise, and then rotate the mango 90 degrees, scoring it again so the flesh is cut into a grid of small cubes, but still attached to the skin.

Slicing the fruit into cubes

Use your fingers to invert the mango, pushing up from the underside, and slice the flesh away from the skin into a medium-sized bowl.  Finely dice your red onion and add it to the mango.

Mango cubes and diced red onion

Dice your jalapenos (making sure to remove all seeds), mince or press your garlic, and finely chop your cilantro, adding each ingredient to the bowl with the mango and onions.

Preparing cilantro, garlic, and jalapeno

You can use only lime or orange juice instead of combining the two, but together they create a nice balance between sweet and zesty citrus flavors.  Juice the lime and orange and add the juice to your salsa.

Juicing a lime

Mix the ingredients well and season with freshly ground pepper and a pinch or two of kosher or coarse salt.  Set aside the mango salsa while you prepare your salmon.

Salsa ingredients mixed together

Pat your salmon fillets down with paper towel to remove excess moisture and liberally sprinkle your Cajun seasoning on top.

Seasoning the salmon fillets

Drizzle some olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and heat over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot, add your salmon fillets and then reduce the heat to medium.  The hot oil will help crisp up the skin, but you don’t want to keep the salmon cooking at too high a temperature.

Pan frying the fish

You’ll want to let the salmon cook almost the entire time with the skin side down, about 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet (if you are not using a thicker variety than sockeye salmon, cooking time may need to be increased quite a bit), and only flip it over to cook the other side for the last minute or less.

Crispy salmon cooked to perfection

When the salmon is cooked, removed the fillets from the heat and let stand for a few minutes.  Serve on a bed of rice with a generous amount of mango salsa on top!

Salmon and salsa over a bed of rice