As a kid I used to hate seafood, just because. I don’t think I’d ever given it a chance, I had just decided at some stage that it wasn’t for me. The only thing I would eat were my mum’s salmon rissoles, and even those I occasionally had issues with. I was the queen of picky eaters.
Some time in my mid-teens, things changed. I discovered calamari rings. Then I realised that fish didn’t actually taste too bad. My taste buds halted their expansion for a few more years and then I discovered smoked salmon. My brother, with his ‘refined’ palate and penchant for savoury food over sweet, was a smoked salmon connoisseur by the age of 12. I was slow to the party, but I’ve sure made up for all the smoked salmon I missed out on over the years since. After smoked salmon came salmon fillets, which have since stolen my heart. I’m am a humongous fan of salmon fillets now. I just can’t believe it took me so long to get my act together.
Luckily for me, I adopted a food mantra of trying everything once. I still don’t like tuna, anchovies, mussels, oysters or whale (I know it’s controversial, but when in Iceland…), but I’ve at least given them a chance to tempt my taste buds. And who knows, maybe my palate will develop further and I’ll like them in a few years’ time.
With my relatively new-found love of salmon fillets, I have been on the hunt for awesome salmon recipes and this super easy Brown Sugar & Chilli-Rubbed Salmon recipe is a corker. Each bite is filled with a sweet, smoky, spicy crunchiness which all meld so well with the tender salmon. Serve with a creamy dressing or sauce to balance out the sweet smokiness, such as the avocado crema that Andie made in the original post, or just some ranch dressing and you’ll have a flavour sensation in your mouth.
I have made this twice now and absolutely love them. The second time, my salmon fillets were a bit thinner and they were slightly overcooked and dry, so it’s important to adjust the cooking time to suit the thickness of the fillets. If unsure, cut your fillet open and monitor it’s colour.
Brown Sugar & Chilli-Rubbed Salmon
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cooking Time: 8 minutes
1½ tbsp brown sugar
½ tbsp chilli powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 (120g) boneless and skinless salmon fillets
1 tbsp olive oil
- In a small bowl or plate, combine brown sugar, chilli powder and cayenne pepper. Press salmon fillets into the sugar mixture, one at a time. Turn salmon in sugar mixture to ensure each side is coated, scooping and rubbing extra mixture onto patchy spots.
- In a medium frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add salmon fillets to pan and cook for about 3 minutes, until salmon is blackened and crispy. Turn salmon and cook for another 3-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet. The fillet should be blackened, feel firm but spring back when touched and be a dark pink on the inside. It is normal for the pan to become quite smoky, so ensure you have a window open or a fan on. Serve immediately with avocado crema or ranch dressing and salad or veggies.
Recipe adapted from Can You Stay for Dinner.