This Mexican Salmon is flavored with lime and an aromatic blackened spice crust made of Ancho chile, garlic, onion and oregano. It's super easy for a busy weeknight and very impressive for a weekend dinner party.
This incredibly tasty Mexican salmon recipe takes about ten minutes to make, start to finish -- and it's just as delicious as it is pretty.
It's great for a healthy weeknight dinner, and impressive enough to wow weekend dinner party guests. A win-win!
What's in this recipe?
The blackened "crust" is made of four spices:
- dried Mexican oregano
- dried, ground Ancho chiles
- granulated garlic
- dried, chopped onion
- wild salmon fillets
- lime juice
How to Make Blackened Mexican Salmon with Lime
- Combine the spices.
- Sprinkle the salmon fillets with salt, and drizzle with lime juice. Then evenly coat the top surface of each salmon fillet with the spice mix and gently press it down.
- Coat a sauté pan with oil and place it over high heat. Once it's very hot, place fillets in the pan, spice side down.
- Let the salmon sauté until you can see that the spices have formed a crust, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Carefully use a flat-bottomed spatula to flip the fillets over. Turn the heat to the lowest setting, cover the pan, and cook just about 2 more minutes. It should still look a bit raw in the very center.
(More detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
- Can you substitute any of the spices? Yes, you can use regular dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder if it's what you have. The differences . . . Mexican oregano is a bit earthier and stronger in flavor, granulated garlic is coarser, and dried, chopped onion is usually small pieces of onion. I prefer the texture of these spices for the blackened crust, but the flavor will still be good if you use the others. Ancho chile powder is smoky and mild -- if you'd like something spicier, use Chipotle chile powder (about half of the amount).
- When you're ready to sauté the fish, make sure the pan is hot enough. If you don't hear a sizzling sound when it hits the oil, wait! The pan must be super hot for the blackened crust to form.
- For this recipe, you can use a non-stick pan or a cast iron skillet -- either works well, as long as it's hot enough before you sauté.
- Salmon is the most flaky and tender when it's cooked just until the very center is still almost raw. You can cook it more if desired.
- Cooking times might vary, depending on the thickness of your salmon fillets.
What to Serve with Blackened Mexican Salmon
- Avocado-Lime Dressing -- This rich and creamy sauce is fantastic beneath the salmon, or on the side.
- Guacamole with Lemon -- This is so delicious to dip each bite of salmon into.
- Smoky Lemon Vegetable Quinoa -- This along with the Mexican salmon would make for a very healthy hearty, satisfying meal.
- Coconut Cilantro Rice -- With a touch of sweetness, this rice pairs perfectly with the Mexican spice blend.
- Mexican Chopped Salad with Pepitas -- Drizzled with a Honey-Chipotle Dressing, this is a festival of fresh Mexican flavors that perfectly compliments the salmon.
- Really, any fresh, delicious salad or side of vegetables would be lovely with it.
You can plate each portion of salmon to serve, or place all of them all together on a large serving platter to serve on the table.
If you do the latter, add a few extra lime slices between the fillets of fish, and if you have it, a few sprigs of fresh oregano would be lovely.
Can you make it ahead?
I don't recommend it. Mexican Salmon with Lime is at its best when it's served as soon as it's finished cooking. When I'm serving this for guests, I have everything else I've prepared for the meal ready, and the salmon is coated with the spices and ready to go in the pan. About five minutes before I'm ready to serve, it hits the pan.
I love this Mexican salmon recipe not only because of how scrumptious it is, but also because of how beautifully the combination of textures and colors present.
I hope you love it as much as my family and I do.
More delicious salmon recipes:
- Salmon Cabbage Rolls
- Olive Oil Poached Salmon
- Baked Cilantro Chimichurri Salmon
- Salmon Burgers with Lemon and Dill
- Ginger Roasted Salmon and Broccoli
May 2022 update: This post has been updated with new images and information.
Mexican Blackened Salmon with Lime
- Combine spices. In a small bowl, mix the dried onion, oregano, Ancho chile powder, and granulated garlic together.
- Prep the salmon. Sprinkle each salmon fillet with salt and then sprinkle them with lime juice. Then evenly divide and sprinkle the spice mix among the top surfaces of the salmon fillets. Then use your hands to gently press it down so that it adheres to the fish.
- Sauté. Coat the bottom of a medium-sized sauté pan with grapeseed oil and place it over high heat. Once it's very hot, place them in the pan, skin side up. (If you don't hear a sizzling sound, wait another moment. The pan must be super hot!)Let the salmon sauté until you can see that the spices have formed a crust, 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully use a flat-bottomed metal spatula to flip the fillets over. Turn the heat to the lowest setting, cover the pan, and cook just about 2 more minutes. It should still look uncooked in the very center. (You can cook it more/longer if desired.)*
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