blackened salmon with mango & avocado salsa

birds eye view

Apparently I’m really into salmon lately.  So, I apologize if you’re not a salmon fan and all I’ve posted the last few times are salmon recipes. I promise to mix it up in the next post!

Ironically, this recipe was actually an attempt to mix it up.  Usually, I end up doing one of two things when I cook a salmon fillet: roast with teriyaki sauce or roast with some fresh herbs, lemon, and white wine.  Both are delicious, but I wanted something different so I took to the Internet and came across a few blackened salmon recipes.  I immediately thought of Cape Cod and these delicious fish tacos I once had for dinner at the Island Merchant with jerked cod, mango salsa, and guacamole.  Ahhh, take me back to the Cape!

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Again, in an effort to make something different I decided on polenta as the side rather than the same old roasted potatoes or quinoa that usually accompany the fish. Polenta on it’s own is pretty bland so I found a recipe that included sharp cheddar cheese to liven it up. Altogether, this meal definitely satisfied the need to change up my typical salmon and side dish recipes!

mango and avocado salsa


For the salmon:

  • ~ 2 lbs. wild salmon fillets, boneless, skin removed
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter*
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cracked pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • olive oil

For the salsa:

  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 3 scallions, white part only, thinly sliced
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tbsp. parsley (or cilantro if you’d like)
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the polenta:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste


First make the salsa by combining all ingredients in a bowl. I refrigerated until ready to serve.

To start the polenta, bring the milk and 2 cups of water to a boil. Whisk in the cornmeal and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the salmon.  Combine all spices, butter, and garlic in a bowl.  Rub the spice mixture on both sides of the salmon.  In a large skillet, heat enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add salmon.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, until the spices “blacken” and the center is opaque.

Once polenta is done simmering, add more water if it is too thick.  Then add butter, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve salmon over the polenta and top with the mango and avocado salsa!

*I do have one note about the recipe that I will most likely change next time I make it: the butter in the spice mixture made it hard to evenly coat the salmon. I will probably omit the butter and do a completely dry rub to get a more even, crispy coat.

Recipe(s) adapted from: Against All Grain & Shared Appetite

How I eat it: with a little bit of everything in each bite! And a nice fresh salad on the side.

By the way, I revisited this yummy french yogurt cake recipe for dessert tonight. Take a look and enjoy 🙂

 the dish



cheddar cheese & chive puffs

What’s better than cheese? Seriously. The creamy goodness of brie and brown sugar in puff pastry, the salty taste of parmigiano-reggiano on pasta, fresh buffalo mozzerella in a caprese sandwich, or the bite of melted gorgonzola on a nice piece of steak  – I’ll ask you again: what’s better than cheese!?

I came across the basis for this cheese puff recipe while working out. Yes, working out.  What do I do to entertain myself as I elliptical? Watch Food Network. As I attempt to get in shape, I am also discovering new recipes that will do just the opposite.  It’s a vicious cycle. Last week I caught an episode of Barefoot Contessa and Ina was making cheese puffs for her new neighbor.  Even though I love Ina’s recipes, I just really can’t stand her scripted scenarios on Barefoot Contessa.  These shows don’t need a story line! Just show me how to make the food!

Ina used gruyere and parmesan in her puffs, but I decided to use sharp and flavorful New York style cheddar cheese.  Cheddar cheese is also less expensive than gruyere, which is always a plus! I also had some chives on hand that I threw in to add a little extra something. I’m planning on serving them along side this potato leek soup and a fresh chopped salad.

Cheddar Cheese & Chive Puffs

 Ingredients (yields ~20 puffs)

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
  • 1 tbsp. chopped chives
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water for egg wash


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a saucepan, heat the milk, butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg over medium heat until scalded. Add the flour all at once and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for two minutes over low heat. Transfer the hot mixture to a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Immediately add eggs, cheese, and chives and pulse until the dough is smooth and thick.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag (or freezer bag with one corner cut) and pipe in small mounds onto parchment-lined baking sheets. With a wet finger, press down tips on the top of each puff so that they don’t burn.  Brush the top of each puff with egg wash and sprinkle with a bit of cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown on the outside, but soft on the inside.


Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Cheese Puffs

How I eat it: one after another after another..

Before I leave you for today, I must announce some exciting news: Just this weekend my last post featuring french yogurt cake was recognized on Bon Appetit’s “Bloggers Cook BA” page! I was so thrilled to see a picture of my cake and an excerpt from my blog as the caption. Make sure to click the link and check it out – I am picture 10 of 12 under the “Bloggers Cook BA… En Francais” section. You can also see how the cake, and other yummy Bon Appetit recipes, turned out for some other food bloggers!