The health benefits of wild salmon are many, but it is the taste that keeps me coming back! Usually I keep the preparation pretty simple, but this recipe amps up the flavor with ginger, lime, and a little garlic. The resulting glaze has a spicy kick that is especially welcome when you are following the autoimmune protocol (AIP) and staying away from nightshade spices. I combined that with a technique for “blackening” that gives it some charred edges and yet keeps the the flesh moist and flaky.
Why choose wild caught salmon?
This recipe was specifically developed for wild caught salmon (specifically sockeye salmon from Alaska) and I strongly encourage you to use that, rather than its farmed equivalent. Why? For one very practical reason – they are different enough that cooking techniques need to be specific to the type. Farmed salmon has a much higher fat content and can be cooked more aggressively because of it. Typically a “blackened” preparation of wild salmon will be disappointing, but I worked hard to experiment and test this one, so pay careful attention to cooking times and don’t be afraid to err on the side of under-cooking rather than going over.
Wild caught salmon is also much healthier for us. It has a better ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 essential fatty acids, more trace minerals, and more vitamin D. Ounce for ounce, it also has fewer calories. And probably most importantly, wild salmon has much lower concentrations of harmful contaminants.
Notes on ingredients
The fish sauce in this recipe gives the sauce an extra layer of complexity that I really enjoy, but you could omit it or reduce the amount if you find it to be too strong. Make sure the fish sauce you use does not have any added sugar or other undesirable ingredients. My personal favorite brand is Red Boat, which is available in many standard grocery stores now, and can also be purchased online (my favorite new place to get all my AIP-friendly ingredients is ShopAIP – great selection and very competitive prices).
Notes for healing diets
This dish is compliant with both the Paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), provided you use a fish sauce like Red Boat without sugar or other additives. It can also be made low-FODMAP by simply omitting the garlic.
Ginger Lime Salmon Recipe
- 2 wild salmon fillets, about 4-6 ounces each
- 2½ tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon Red Boat fish sauce
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- lime, cut into wedges
- Remove salmon from packaging and dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt, and set aside at room temperature while you are preparing the sauce.
- Use a food process or a mortar and pestle to make a paste from the ginger, garlic and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Transfer this paste to a bowl and add honey, lime juice, fish sauce, and water. Set aside.
- Heat coconut oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over high heat until shimmering, but not smoking.
- Immediately place fillets in pan, skin side down, and reduce heat to medium-high.
- Allow fillets to cook without moving them for 4-5 minutes, or until skin is well browned and bottom half of fillet is opaque.
- Use a large flexible metal spatula to carefully flip the fillets and allow them to cook on the other side without moving them for 3-4 minutes, or until firm and no longer translucent.
- Remove fillets and allow to rest. Reduce heat to medium low and add sauce to pan. Cook until golden and thick.
- Pour 2-3 tablespoons sauce over each fillet and serve with a wedge of lime. Pour remaining sauce into a bowl and pass at table.
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