Chili Lime Grilled Salmon

A nice big piece of salmon on the grill is a happy sight.

Quick and easy dinner with big flavors thanks to the tasty marinade that goes on the fish.

This dinner could be made with any good fish fillet. Wild Salmon (sockeye, coho, and Copper River if you’re really lucky) is in season and its sweet/strong flavor pairs really well with the smokey and citrus flavors of the chili lime marinade.

As a bonus, unlike chicken or beef which needs to marinate for hours, fish absorbs the marinade while you prepare the rest of the meal. Great for any weeknight dinner.

Here’s what you need:

Salmon, Limes, Garlic, Chipotle Chili Powder, Sugar, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Chili Lime Grilled Salmon Shopping List

Chipotle Chili Powder has become more and more common lately and can be found in most grocery stores. Look in the regular spice section but also check out the section of spices by the Mexican foods. If you have a Latin Market in your neighborhood, you’ll probably have many varieties from which to choose. In a pinch regular chili powder will work, but you’ll lose the smokiness of the chipotles in the flavor.

Our quick marinade begins with a bit of garlic, 4 cloves, chopped fine and then mashed with 1 teaspoon of salt to make a paste.

This is easy to do and a good technique when you not only want the garlic in very small pieces, but also want some of the garlic juices to come out.  Peel and finely chop the garlic, add 1 teaspoon of salt on to the cutting board, and then using the side, flat part of your big knife, carefully scrape the garlic and salt back and forth together on the board.

Scrape it one direction, applying some pressure with your fingers on top of the knife, gather it all back together on the board, and then scrape it the other direction. 10 – 12 passes of the knife should give you a pretty nice garlic paste.

It’s pretty easy to get the hang of this…it’s not difficult to do and hard to go wrong and mess up garlic and salt…just be careful of the sharp knife edge. However, if you are worried about smashing with your knife, you could also use a garlic press or a mortar and pestle to combine the garlic and salt.

Add your garlic and salt paste to a small bowl. Squeeze in 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice (1-2 limes) and add 2 Tablespoons of good olive oil.

Season with 1 3/4 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder, and a little freshly ground black pepper.

To me the chipotle powder isn’t  very hot or strong, but if you’re concerned or cooking for kids, cut back to 1/2 teaspoon the first time you make this dish. Give the marinade a good whisk to combine.

Place the fish, skin side down on a large baking sheet that has been covered in a layer of plastic wrap. If the fish is overly damp, pat it dry with a paper towel then pour the chili lime marinade over the top of the fish.

Use your fingers to rub the seasonings into the top of the fish…

then wrap the plastic wrap around the fish sealing in the marinade. Let this rest and soak in at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Prepare a medium hot grill and oil the grate with cooking spray or oil on a paper towel. Unwrap the fish and place it skin side down over medium heat with the lid closed for about 10 – 12 minutes. No need to flip the fish. (I’m using a gas grill  – try not to let the flames touch the bottom of the fish.) With salmon it’s easy to tell when it’s done because it lightens slightly in color as it cooks. It should also flake easily with a fork or spatula.

If you don’t have a grill, you can bake this in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Run it under the broiler for a minute to get a little color on top.

To serve the fish, I cut it into portions right on the grill and then lift the fish off the skin with a spatula.

Some people would go ahead and crisp up this skin and eat it. Go right ahead if that’s your thing. This skin will come up off your grill pretty easily once you don’t have to be concerned about breaking your fish all apart.

I served mine with some grilled asparagus that had been tossed in olive oil, salt & pepper, and this amazing Panzanella Salad.

Fresh, Easy, and Delicious.

Here’s the recipe:  Adapted from Gourmet Today

Chili Lime Grilled Salmon

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5 Responses

  1. What time is dinner? 😛

    I often use a garlic-lime flavor combination — often with chicken (sometimes even with salmon!) and sometimes I choose a “sweet mesquite” seasoning, but I had not thought to add in the chipotle-chile flavors with my old standard. It sounds fabulous!

    My stepfather would broil his salmon with strips of bacon on top. It has become the favorite for at least one of my kids. If you try it, please let me know what you think! 🙂

  2. I’ve yet to enjoy salmon. Perhaps it’s because I just started enjoying seafood about 5 years ago….and this is one I am resisting. Or it’s that silent ‘L’ that bugs me.
    However….alll the other ingredients in here look divine!

    1. My youngest son will only willingly eat 2 kinds of seafood: grilled or broiled salmon, and tuna fish. Even my SIL, who is a picky eater, will eat salmon (but not shrimp or clams). I highly recommend salmon — even with that silent L — as an excellent fish for non-seafood eaters.

    2. My lovely sister is not a big fan of salmon either. I think this would be a great and easy preparation for any kind of grilled fish. Mahi Mahi comes to mind first or even snapper.

      As for that silent L….I think we should start pronouncing the L….much like Martha Stewart pronounces (or over pronounces) the H in Herbs or Sandy Duncan (now really showing my age) pronounced the WHHHHH in Wheat Thins! It can be our new thing. Or maybe not.

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