This spicy and slightly sweet grilled salmon is bound to become a favorite this summer. Smoked paprika, garlic, and onion powders in the rub create a savory, smoky flavor, while a touch of sugar adds a hint of sweetness and helps the skin become unbelievably crispy.
As if that weren’t enough, the salmon is topped off with a peach and avocado salsa, which compliments the richness of the salmon. The peaches and avocado also contribute a velvety quality to the whole dish.
USE A GRILL PAN FOR CRISPY SKIN THAT WON’T STICK
Grilled salmon is one of my favorite foods ever, but for years I shied away from making it because the fish would stick to the grill and fall apart. For me, the best solution to this problem has been using a good nonstick grill pan, which sits right on top of the grates.
Grill pans are perforated on the bottom, so you still get the classic flavor of cooking over open flame, but you also avoid the tragedy of fish getting stuck to the grill.
If you can’t find a nonstick grill pan, use a stainless steel one and rub it liberally with oil before laying on the salmon.
PREHEAT THE GRILL FOR BEST RESULTS
Next to a grill pan, preheating the grill is the most important part of this recipe. Getting your grill really hot means you get golden caramelization on the fish and crispy salmon skin (my favorite).
Don’t skip this step. It is worth every second of the 15 minutes. Turn the heat to high and close the lid!
I like to season and refrigerate my salmon, then get the grill going, and then make my salsa at a leisurely pace while the grill heats up. You may even have time for a cocktail or glass of wine while you wait.
FRUIT SALSA FOR A SWEET-SAVORY BALANCE
Fruit salsa is a very popular pairing with fish, and one that I come back to over and over. Salmon’s bold richness pairs well with the sweetness, heat, and acidity of this peach salsa.
When choosing your peaches, look for a ripe but still firm peach to contrast the texture from the creamy avocado. The peach’s slight tartness balances the rich fish and avocado.
PLAN AHEAD FOR AN EASY DINNER
You can make the dry rub in advance; you may even consider making a large batch so you have it on hand for other meals. It will keep indefinitely at room temperature when stored in an airtight container. This particular mix of spices tastes great on everything from summer squash to steak.
You can make the salsa up to eight hours in advance. Just wait to add the avocado until you’re ready to serve—adding it at the last minute keeps it from turning brown or getting mushy. You may also consider making a larger batch of the salsa, as it goes great with chips.
MORE GREAT SALMON RECIPES!
Grilled Salmon with Peach Salsa Recipe
Paleo friends! Swap in maple sugar for the light brown sugar in this recipe for a paleo-friendly summer dinner.
For the salmon:
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated onion
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pinch of cayenne (optional)
- 1 pound skin-on salmon filets (about 4 pieces)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons neutral cooking oil, such as grapeseed, avocado, or canola oil
For the salsa:
- 2 heaping cups diced peaches, unpeeled (about 3 medium peaches)
- 1 medium ripe avocado, diced
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons finely minced jalapeño (optional)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- A few slices of jalapeño
- A few sprigs of cilantro
- Gas or charcoal grill
- Nonstick Grill Pan
1 Season the salmon: Whisk together paprika, garlic, onion, maple sugar, salt, pepper, and cayenne.
Sprinkle spice mixture evenly on all sides of the salmon. Refrigerate uncovered while making the salsa and preheating the grill, about 20 minutes.
2 Make the salsa: In a medium bowl, mix together the peaches, avocado, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, lemon juice, and salt. Season to taste, adding more salt or jalapeño if you like. If your peaches are a bit tart, you can add a pinch of sugar.
3 Prep the grill: Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to 500ºF for at least 15 minutes, or until you can hold your hand above the grates for 2 to 3 seconds.
4 Grill the salmon: Brush all sides of the salmon with oil—about a tablespoon total. Brush a bit of oil onto the grill grates as well, ensuring that any fish touching the grates through the grill pan will easily lift away.
Place the salmon skin side up on the grill pan and transfer the pan to the grill. Close the lid and cook undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes. Using a fish spatula or tongs, gently lift one corner of the fish. The grilled side should be opaque and show some sear marks. If not, check every minute or so until it is.
Gently, flip the fish to skin side down, close the lid, and grill for another 3 to 4 minutes. Open the lid and watch carefully until the fish is done, another 1 to 3 minutes. The salmon is perfectly cooked when the top and bottom are opaque and there is a nice translucent streak through the middle. (If you prefer your salmon more well-done, continue cooking to your preferred doneness.)
5 Serve: Remove from the grill and serve immediately. Top with peach salsa and cilantro and chilies for garnish.
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