This Blackened Snapper with Mango Salsa is easy, delicious and bursting with flavour. You can keep it Paleo and Whole30 by serving it with a side of mixed vegetables. Or live your Food Freedom with some steamed rice, roasted sweet potato or fried plantains.
What You Need for the Blackened Snapper
- Snapper: You can use red or yellowtail snapper for this recipe. I used deboned, skinless, red snapper filets that came frozen because that’s what was available. Feel free to substitute your favourite white-fleshed fish, such as grouper, haddock, cod, halibut, orange roughy, or pickerel.
- Blackening Spice: You can either use a store-bought spice rub or easily make one from scratch with seasonings you may already have in your pantry. If purchasing, you can use a Cajun seasoning, jerk seasoning, or even taco seasoning.
- Avocado Oil: I like to cook the fish with a healthy, neutral-flavoured, high heat-safe oil such as avocado oil.
What You Need for the Mango Salsa:
- Mango: For the best texture and flavour, try to use a mango that is just barely ripe. It will be easier to dice and will also maintain its texture a bit better. The sweetness and acidity pair very well with the blackened snapper.
- Red Bell Pepper: For sweetness, crunch and colour, try adding some diced red bell pepper to your mango salsa.
- Roma Tomato: Roma tomatoes are ideal for salsas because they have a firm flesh with very few seeds.
- Onion: I like this salsa a bit on the sweet side so I try to use white onions. If you want to add some colour, try using red onions but soak them in some cold water after dicing to remove some of their bitter flavour.
- Jalapeño: Spice level is a personal preference so use as much or as little chile as you like. If you want to tone down the heat, you can remove the seeds of the pepper. Or keep things completely mild by omitting the jalapeño altogether.
- Avocado: Like the mango, it’s best to use an avocado that is just barely ripe so that it maintains its shape and texture in the salsa.
- Fresh Lime: For the best flavour, use both the zest and juice of the lime!
5 Tips for Cooking Fish in a Pan
- Choose the Right Pan: Non-stick skillets will give you the least resistance when it comes to searing delicate fish but it’s not the only option. You can use cast-iron, carbon-steel or stainless-steel as well. They are non-toxic, safe for high-heat cooking and compatible with all cooking surfaces. When preheated correctly and properly cared for, each of these options will perform similar to a non-stick pan.
- Preheat the Pan: If using stainless-steel, cast-iron or carbon-steel, it is crucial to properly preheat the pan dry BEFORE adding any cooking fat or oil.
When cooking fish filets, I like to preheat the pan over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until a splash of water beads and dances across the surface of the pan. Once the pan is properly preheated, add a sufficient amount of cooking oil or fat and let that heat until shimmering. Only then do I add the fish.
- Let the Pan Do the Work: One of the biggest mistakes people make is trying to flip the fish before it has had a chance to develop a crust. For best results, let the fish cook undisturbed until it starts to brown or, in the case of this snapper recipe, blacken. If you notice that the fish starts to curl up a bit, you can gently press it down with a fish spatula so that it makes more even contact with the pan and oil.
- Use a Medium-High Heat: It depends on the recipe and thickness of the fish, but in general, fish is best cooked over a medium-high heat. This will ensure good browning and will help the fish form a flavourful crust that allows you to flip it more easily.
- Don’t Overcook It: As obvious as it sounds, avoid overcooking the fish to prevent a tough and chewy texture. Once the thickest part of the flesh is opaque, flakey and warmed through, the fish is ready to come off the heat. Some fish, such as salmon and tuna, can also be cooked medium-rare.
Blackened Snapper with Mango Salsa
For the Mango Salsa:
- 1 large ripe mango peeled and diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 medium Roma tomato diced
- ½ small white onion finely chopped
- 1 medium avocado or ½ large avocado diced
- 1 jalapeño seeded and finely chopped, substitute serrano or red finger chile
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- Zest and juice 1 lime plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper to taste
For the Blackened Snapper:
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper plus more as desired
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
- 2 6- ounce red snapper filets sliced into 2 equal pieces, lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil for garnish
- Lime wedges for serving
For the Mango Salsa:
- In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients and gently toss together. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper and lime juice as desired.
For the Blackened Snapper:
- In a shallow bowl, combine the onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, smoked paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Mix to fully combine.
- Rinse the fish under cold water and pat very dry with paper towel. Coat both sides with the spice mix and set aside.
- Preheat a stainless-steel skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the avocado oil and heat until shimmering. Carefully add the fish to the hot oil and cook until the flesh has lightly blackened, around 2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until lightly blackened and the thickest part of the fish is opaque and warmed through, around 2 more minutes.
- Transfer the fish filets to individual serving plates, top with the mango salsa and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing and side dish of choice, such as steamed rice.