Spicy Salmon with fresh ginger, jalapeno, garlic, and lime juice is one of those simple recipes you will make again and again. It’s another good spicy option for salmon in addition to our Blackened Salmon and Cajun Salmon for anyone who loves heat as much as we do.
I am always on the lookout for new salmon recipes since it is something I prepare on an almost weekly basis. So when I saw this recipe on The Iron You I was excited to try it. The simple flavor blend of ginger, chili, and lime juice is one of my favorite combinations and it seems like the perfect pairing for salmon. In terms of the salmon, any type will work, but I often prefer coho salmon since it is a bit lower in fat and calories than other wild salmon varieties including king and sockeye salmon. I usually ask someone at the grocery store seafood counter to remove the skin before I buy to make prep easier for me at home.
Spicy Salmon: Adjust the spice level
This baked salmon recipe calls for jalapeno pepper, but adventurous eaters might want to experiment with other varieties of chilis, or chiles — both spellings are technically correct. Here are a few possible spicy substitutes to try in your ginger chili lime salmon marinade. But, no matter which variety strikes your flavor fancy, remember to be careful when you’re seeding and mincing any spicy pepper. That’s because hot peppers contain a chemical called capsaicin, which gives chilis their burn and can affect your skin and eyes as well as your taste buds.
- Anaheim Chilis – These peppers, sometimes called New Mexico chilis, are green when fresh, red when dried, and can vary widely in terms of their spiciness.
- Serrano Chilis – These green chilis are smaller than jalapenos, but pack more heat if you’d like to spice this ginger chili lime salmon up even more.
- Habanero Chilis – These peppers go from green to yellow to orange to red as they ripen and are some of the spiciest available in grocery stores.
- Bird’s Eye Chilis – These chilis can be green, red, or somewhere in between. And while they’re tiny, they pack a ton of spice for their size.
If you’re cooking for kids and others who can’t take the heat, you might try substituting part of a sweet pepper for the jalapeno. The garlic and ginger in the marinade will still provide some kick. But most won’t find seeded jalapenos or mild Anaheim chilis too hot to handle, and you can always try a small sliver of the chili before you add it to the marinade to make sure the spicy salmon will suit your taste.
Getting to the Root of Ginger
Your first experience with ginger may have been in the form of edible holiday houses and cookies cut from gingerbread, but the versatile brown root can be used in sweet, savory, or spicy dishes. You’ll find it in Asian stir frys and curries, Jamaican jerk recipes, and much more. So side dishes with an Asian, Indian, or island flair will probably pair well with this spicy salmon. Try it over brown rice, with a light Asian-style slaw, or with some savory stir-fried veggies.
And, while it’s possible to substitute dried ginger in a pinch, your fish will be much more flavorful if you use fresh ginger in the spicy salmon marinade. When buying ginger, look for firm roots that don’t show any signs of shriveling. The ginger root’s thin skin should be tan and free of mold. You can store any extra ginger root in the refrigerator, where it should last for several weeks, or even freeze it and grate it into recipes as needed. As just one example, it gives carrot soup quite a kick.
Baked Spicy Salmon Tips and Tricks
- Lining the baking sheet with foil will minimize clean up. The baked salmon shouldn’t stick, but spraying the foil with a light coat of cooking spray before adding the fish and marinade is always a good idea.
- Sometimes when you cook salmon, white residue will appear during cooking. This is a protein released from the fish as it cooks and totally harmless and generally doesn’t affect the fish’s flavor. To completely eliminate this, try brining the salmon first in some salted water for about 10 minutes. I always take this extra step when serving salmon to guests to make my presentation a little prettier.
- If you like firmer fish, add a minute or two to the cooking time. If you prefer your spicy salmon on the rarer side, remove it from the oven earlier than the recipe suggests. Since the salmon is baking on its own, you don’t have to worry about any veggies or other accompaniments being under or overcooked, so you can really prepare the fish to fit your friends’ and family’s taste.
Once you try this spicy, simple, and oh-so-delicious salmon, it’s bound to be in heavy rotation on the dinner menu.
Just starting with salmon? If salmon is a new ingredient for you or you are looking to learn more about this healthy protein, check out our Ultimate Salmon Guide to learn more about its nutritional benefits, how to choose it, cooking it, recipes, and more.