Blackened Salmon Lettuce Wraps with Mango Salsa and Avocado Cream Recipe


The Alaska from Scratch CookbookI originally got the recipe for the salmon spice rub in this dish from my friend and fellow Alaskan Heidi Drygas, from her blog Chena Girl Cooks. And she adapted the recipe from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. This smoky-sweet spice rub pairs perfectly with a robust, lean sockeye salmon. I’ve been using the rub for years in many different preparations, and I even served it on a seafood entrée special when I worked at the bistro because we had fresh sockeye in house. It completely sold out.

This version with blackened salmon tucked into a crisp lettuce wrap and topped with refreshing mango salsa and cooling avocado cream is another winner. I couldn’t stop eating them as I was testing this recipe, because in addition to being downright delicious, they are also incredibly healthy, full of fresh fruit, vegetables, and lean protein.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


For the mango salsa
  • 1 ripe mango, finely cubed
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 0.33 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Half juice of lime
  • Salt
For the avocado cream
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • Half of lime juice
  • 0.33 cup sour cream
  • Milk, for thinning
  • Salt
For the blackened salmon and for serving
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 4 fillets (4–6 ounces each) wild Alaska sockeye salmon, pin bones removed
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 head butter lettuce, separated into individual leaves
How to Make It
  1. In a medium bowl, fold together the mango, bell pepper, onion, jalapeño pepper, cilantro, and lime juice. Season with salt to taste. Refrigerate while you complete the next steps.
  2. To make the avocado cream
  3. In a food processor, combine the avocado, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and sour cream. Process, drizzling milk in gradually until the avocado cream is smooth and spreadable. Season with salt to taste.
  4. To make the blackened salmon
  5. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt, black pepper, mustard, and cinnamon. Generously coat the top of each salmon fillet with the spice rub, pressing it down gently into the fish to adhere.
  6. In a large skillet, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully place the fillets seasoning side down into the oil, pressing down on the fillets to ensure that all of the fillet is making direct contact with the pan. To protect from oil splatters, cover the pan with a lid. Sear the salmon for 2 to 3 minutes, or until caramelized on the bottom. Turn the salmon and cook, skin side down, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until medium-rare to medium in the center. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the salmon to rest for 3 minutes before removing the skin. The skin should peel away easily from the fillet.
  7. To assemble the lettuce wraps
  8. Using a fork or your fingers, flake the blackened salmon roughly in large chunks. Place a small handful of salmon flakes onto each lettuce cup. Top each lettuce cup with a generous spoon of mango salsa. Serve with avocado cream on the side.

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