Blackened Salmon With Tropical Pico Is Our Go-To Summer Meal

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At Camille Styles, our love of delicious, nourishing food runs deep. In-person and on Slack, our conversations inevitably gravitate to what we’re currently cooking in our kitchens across the country. From our best taco recipes to soups when the cozy season calls for it to our enduring passion for sweet potatoes—food is endless fodder for conversation. And the dish that’s in constant rotation in my kitchen right now? Sara Forte’s blackened salmon recipe with tropical pico from her new cookbook, Around Our Table: Wholesome Recipes to Feed Your Family and Friends.

As the creator behind the healthy cooking site Sprouted Kitchen, Sara is an expert at making fresh, delicious dishes accessible to an ever-expanding audience. Her recipes pair creativity with honesty—acknowledging that as much as we’d wish otherwise, our time in the kitchen is limited. Sara understands food as a core tenet of the larger pursuit of wellness. And though that translates to nutrition, nourishment also takes into account what’s possible with the resources we have.

Blackened salmon with pico de gallo.

What’s more, food is also a means of connection. It’s the foundation for intimate moments spent in the company of family and friends. Sara’s latest cookbook, Around Our Table, creates space for this comprehensive understanding of food. It’s the sort of cookbook that evolves alongside of you. Instead of being steeped in shifting food trends, it serves as a guide for how food can support your life—no matter the season.

We sat down with Sara to talk about the intention behind her latest release. As she reflects, Sara’s passion for incorporating food into a full life is evident. Her recipes are on-the-fly friendly, bringing color and creativity to the table while keeping things simple and streamlined.

Tropical salsa.

Blackened Salmon With Tropical Pico

“This is your salmon for a crowd,” Sara writes in her cookbook. Whereas other salmon recipes forgo flavor for simplicity, Sara leans on fresh, heavy-hitting ingredients to streamline the prep and deliver a delicious meal, every time.

We also love that this salmon—and its accompanying pico—can be served in endless ways. Sara tops fish tacos with the pico or adds a little heft to the salsa with avocado for a standout, standalone appetizer. (With crunchy, salty chips, of course.)

Serving tips for your salmon abound. She enjoys it best “[…] generously seasoned and served with some punchy pineapple pico and avocado.” (I.e., the exact recipe you’re getting below.) “I serve it with coconut rice, but it could just as easily be wrapped into a burrito or even served over greens. This dish makes for excellent lunch leftovers, so don’t overthink the suggested serving number.”

And contrary to popular belief, salmon isn’t a year-round dish. Sara notes that you’ll find the freshest fish between May and September. And while frozen fillets work in a pinch, she advises staying away from “thin, flimsy tail-end pieces.”

With those expert tips in mind, read on for Sara’s blackened salmon recipe with tropical pico. And be sure to pick up Around Our Table for more recipes to keep in your everyday arsenal.

Excerpted with permission from Around Our Table by Sara Forte published by Hardie Grant Publishing, April 2024, RRP $40.00 Hardcover.


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A crowd-pleasing dish you can make in a pinch, this Blackened Salmon With Tropical Pico is the standout recipe of the summer.

For the Tropical Pico:

  • 2 cups / 330 g chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1 ripe mango, diced small
  • 1 Roma tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 bundle cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 of a red onion, minced
  • 1 serrano, seeded to taste and minced
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • A few grinds of freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of sugar

For the Salmon:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + more for the pan
  • 2 pounds / 900 g center-cut slab of salmon

For the Blackened Seasoning:

  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

For the Coconut Rice:

  • 1 cup / 200 g short-grain white rice, well rinsed
  • 1 cup / 240 ml water
  • 1 cup / 240 ml coconut milk
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Sea Salt
  • 2 large avocados, cubed
  • Fresh cilantro and microgreens

For the Tropical Pico:

  1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine. Keep covered in the fridge until ready to use.

For the Blackened Salmon:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F / 150°C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray or rub it with oil. Dry the salmon with a paper towel and place it on the oiled parchment sheet.
  2. Mix all the blackened seasoning ingredients together. Mix in the oil and gently rub it all over the flesh of the salmon.
  3. Start the rice. Combine the rinsed rice, water, coconut milk, sugar, lime zest, and salt together. Stir to mix. Bring the rice to a boil, then down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 18 to 20 minutes until cooked and tender. Set aside.
  4. While the rice cooks, roast the salmon. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the heat up to broil and cook another few minutes until the top starts to char. Timing will vary by oven, but assume somewhere in the 2-minute ballpark. The salmon should be cooked to about medium in that time; add 5 minutes to that first bake if you prefer it well done. Remove to rest.
  5. Serve the slab of salmon over the rice on a platter, flaking it apart with a fork, with the avocado and pico over the top. Garnish with cilantro and microgreens.

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