Springtime seems to have skipped Juneau. Oh we did have a few weeks of sunny weather, which was much appreciated by all of us locals, even though the temperatures were still rather chilly. However, May and June are normally the driest and warmest months here. Not so much this year. In May we had rain 29 out of 31 days. We even set records for wet and rain and in some cases miserable weather.
I have lived her for only three years and I’m still getting used to the weather cycles. I love rain. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to live here. The rain makes everything green and moist and lush and beautiful. But 29 days of rain can kind of suck the perky right out of you.
What to do? I need spring! I need something fresh and light. I head to the kitchen and start working. When the salmon run in southeast Alaska, spring is here. Kings and silvers soon after start infesting our water ways providing diners all over the world a feast of spring.
We have salmon, but how should I prepare it? Blackened is always a crowd pleaser. This is a good start, but it needs something. Something light and that tastes of spring. I know! A light, spicy, fruity salsa with something different, maybe nectarines. Throw in lots of cilantro and lime juice and viola! A perfect spring time dish. I set about chopping, dicing and zesting with a vengeance. The smells that soon waft through the kitchen are like sunshine.
For a side I chose to make a simple rice dish, which I call Spring Rice. It too has cilantro and lime, two of my favorite spring and summer flavors.
I present a dish that evokes spring and all things warm: Blackened Salmon with Nectarine Salsa.
Blackened Salmon with Nectarine Salsa
4 6oz salmon filets
2 tablespoons blackening seasoning (Old Bay, Konriko)
½ red onion, finely diced
1 large tomato, finely diced
2 large nectarines, pitted and diced (peaches or plums work well, too)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon diced fresh jalapeno (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Combine onion, tomato, nectarines, cilantro, jalapeno and lime juice in large bowl. Add salt & pepper to taste. Set aside and let marinade for 20 – 30 minutes.
In large skillet heat olive oil to medium high heat. Sprinkle blackening season on salmon and place in pan seasoned side down. Let it cook until you have a good sear. Turn over and cook 2-3 minutes. Place in over and cook additional 5 – 10 minutes, depending on thickness, cook until no longer red in center.
2 cups water
1 cup long grain rice
½ teaspoon salt (or more if you like it salty)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 large scallions, finely chopped
Zest of one lime
In a rice steamer or pot, put two cups of water and rice. Add salt to taste. Let cook per package directions. Place cooked rice in bowl and toss with cilantro and scallions. Add lime zest and serve immediately. Pairs wonderfully with Blackened Salmon with Nectarine Salsa.
NOTE: This recipe first appeared in Capital City Weekly in 2012.