Any firm-fleshed fish would work well in this recipe. I like to pick what’s freshest: halibut from Alaska, grouper from Florida or even the old standby, salmon, especially when the stores are well stocked with the wild variety. The main thing is to pick a meaty fillet, at least an inch thick, or to get one cut from the center. The thin fillets or tail ends tend to overcook quickly.
I’ve made many versions of this dish, but this is my current favorite. Heating the fruit, even for just a few minutes, brings out its tropical flavor. Allspice lends a healthy kick of spice. The lime, brown sugar and jalapeno pepper balance it all. If you love mango, you might want to double the amount of salsa.
This dish is best served while the salsa and fish are still warm.
- 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Four 4- to 6-ounce skinless fish fillets, such as grouper, halibut or salmon (see headnote)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion, such as Maui, Vidalia or Walla Walla, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
- 1 medium jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
- Flesh of 1 large, ripe mango, cut into 1/3-inch chunks
- Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 2 limes (at least 1 tablespoon zest and 1/4 cup juice)
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet or shallow pan with aluminum foil.
Combine the allspice, pepper and 1/8 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl.
Place the fillets on a plate and sprinkle them with the spice mixture, turning and rubbing the fish to evenly distribute the spices.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fillets, skinned side down. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until seared, then carefully turn over the fillets. Cook for 1 minute, then use a spatula to transfer them to the lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven; bake for 5 to 8 minutes, until the fish is just done.
Meanwhile, place same skillet used to sear the fish over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the onion softens. Add the jalapeno pepper; cook for 2 minutes. Add the mango and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring, until the mango is heated through. Stir in the lime juice and zest and the brown sugar; season with salt to taste. Cook for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.
Place the fillets on individual plates. Divide the salsa among the portions, spooning it on top of each fillet. Serve immediately.
From Nourish columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Email questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.