Since we re-discovered El Tio Variedades, our local mini-mercado, we have been on a Latin American/Caribbean bender: avocado-mango salads with lime and coconut; fried ripe plantains (“amarillos”); strips of crunchy jicama and cucumber with fresh squeezed lime, salt, and cayenne; and gorging ourselves to the point of illness on chicharrones dipped in Valentina. A recent Costco run added to our obsession when we came across plantains for 50 cents a pound and picked up a package of Wholly Guacamole. With that as an inspiration, and a little extra time to pull something together (thank goodness for rest days and crockpot lunches!), I set out to make something interesting out of the contents of our fridge/freezer.
I defrosted some frozen salmon filets and, lacking a jerk blend in my ever-expanding spice cabinet, went on the hunt for a recipe. A quick search found multiple approaches; I liked the idea of mango salsa that Pinch of Yum served with her salmon so I decided to give her recipe a try.
With my seasonings blended and mango salsa prepped, I heated some oil in a pan, dried my salmon filets, rubbed them with the jerk spices, and did my best attempt at preparing skin-on crispy pan-fried salmon. Not quite the perfection I encountered at Aromas, but a significant improvement over my floppy skinned broiled salmon.
While the salmon rested, I heated coconut oil and sliced up some green plantains to make tostones. After a few minutes frying on each side, I pulled them out, smashed them with the bottom of a pint glass, then put them back in the oil for another minute or two before finishing them with a sprinkle of kosher salt.
Pulling it all together, I topped a pile of mixed lettuces with a salmon filet and spooned the mango salsa on top. Tostones were arranged on the side of the plate with a dollop of guacamole and a dash of cayenne for dipping. Delicious!
Jerk Salmon with Tostones
- 2 salmon filets (~6 oz. each)
- 2 T. coconut oil
- salt and pepper
- lettuce/mixed greens of choice (~4 cups)
Jerk Seasoning (from Pinch of Yum)
- 1 1/2 t. cumin
- 1/2 t. hot curry powder
- 1/2 t. chili powder
- 1/2 t. allspice
- 1/4 t. cayenne (could be increased, especially if you like heat)
- 1/4 t. cinnamon
- 1 mango, peeled and cubed
- handful of cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 1/8-1/4 red onion (or 1 shallot), finely chopped
- juice of 1/2 a lime
- pinch of sea salt
- red pepper flakes or minced fresh jalapeno (optional), to taste
- 2 T. coconut oil
- 1 green plantain, peeled and sliced (I do ~1/2″ slices)
- guacamole (optional)
- Blend spices together for jerk seasoning. Set aside.
- Combine mango, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and red pepper flakes (or jalapeno). Set aside.
- Use paper towels or a clean dish cloth to press salmon filets until surfaces are thoroughly dried. Salt and pepper on all sides and rub with jerk seasoning to coat (on skin side if desired, too).
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until it is shimmering. Add salmon filets skin side down and immediately reduce heat to medium-low. Using a spatula, press lightly on the salmon to ensure that its skin has full contact with the pan (I looked like some crazy kitchen ninja, dodging oil splatters and pressing with two spatulas!). Cook for about 6 minutes, or until filet lifts easily from the pan with a spatula.
- Flip salmon and cook on second side for about a minute. Transfer salmon to a plate to rest.
- Heat 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, place plantain slices in pan. Cook 2-3 minutes, flip, and cook 2-3 minutes on the other side. Remove plantains to plate and flatten them using the bottom of a glass. Return flattened pieces to the pan and cook about one minute more per side. Transfer tostones to a plate and sprinkle with salt to taste.
- Plating: Put ~2 c. greens on each plate and top with a salmon filet. Spoon salsa over salmon and greens. Line tostones on the side and add a spoonful (or two!) of guacamole for dipping. Sprinkle with cayenne for an added kick and dig in!