I use wild king salmon for this recipe, because that's what I catch. But any salmon or large trout would work, as would any other big piece of fish, really. I like this salsa with striped bass, mahi mahi and yellowtail a lot, and I bet it would be good with halibut, red snapper, cobia, redfish, walleye or black seabass, too. Don't skimp on the soak time for the red onion, unless you like the bite you get from raw onions. The acid in the lime juice really helps tame it.
3tablespoonshigh smoke point oilsuch as canola, safflower, grapeseed or rice bran oil
1/2cupchopped red onion
Juice of 2 limes,about 1/4 cup
1large garlic clove,minced
1to 3 hot green chiles,such as serrano, minced
1Roma or other plum tomato,diced
2avocados,cut into chunks
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you want a starch to go with this meal, I'd suggest rice. Or you can break up the salmon and throw it and the salsa into a tortilla and make salmon tacos.