Spice-Rubbed Roasted Salmon Salad With Mango Vinaigrette. Photo for The Washington Post by Tom McCorkle

At this point in the winter, I’m more than ready to move on from roasted root vegetables, earthy stews and bakes to meals that pop with freshness and color. I find myself leaning on the sunnier ingredients at the grocery store, and fresh mango is high on the list.

In this lively and satisfying salad, the fruit does double duty, first as the base of a sweet-tart vinaigrette dressing, and second, in chunks, as a juicy element tossed with the other ingredients. Fresh fruit works best here, but you could also use frozen, thawed mango instead, if need be.

The dressing couldn’t be easier to make: Just whir mango in a blender with olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper – and maybe a touch of honey, depending on the sweetness of the fruit – and voila! It’s one of those dressings that’s so good on its own you could eat it with a spoon. And because it goes well with any type of green salad, you might want to pick up a couple of mangos and make a double or triple batch while you’re at it.

The dressing couldn’t be easier to make. Photo for The Washington Post by Tom McCorkle

Here, this stunner of a dressing is tossed with cool, crisp vegetables – romaine or Baby Gem lettuce, sliced cucumber and radishes – and served topped with roasted salmon rubbed with chili spices that ping alluringly against the flavors of the mango. (You could swap in any thick, steaklike fish you like.) Finely diced mango is sprinkled over the salad at the end, along with rings of sliced, fresh chile (if you like), and a shower of fresh cilantro.

The result is a satisfying meal that’s juicy, fresh, spicy and bright – just the thing to shake us out of our winter routine.

Spice Rubbed Roasted Salmon Salad With Mango Vinaigrette


4 servings

Storage: Refrigerate leftover salmon for up to two days; serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate leftover dressing for up to four days; let come to room temperature before using.

For the salmon:

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon light brown sugar (optional)

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin


1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste

Four (6-ounce) center-cut, skin-on salmon fillets (1 1/2 pounds total)

1 tablespoon olive oil

For the dressing:


1/2 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Honey (optional)


For the salad:

4 cups torn romaine or baby gem lettuce

2 medium radishes, halved and thinly sliced

2 Persian cucumbers, sliced

1/2 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced

1 serrano or jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced, to taste (optional)


1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Flaky salt, for sprinkling

Make the salmon: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

In a small bowl, whisk together the chili powder, sugar (if using), cumin, coriander, salt and cayenne pepper. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the top of the fish with the oil, then sprinkle with the spice mixture, pressing it in gently so it adheres. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, or until desired doneness.

Make the dressing: While the salmon is roasting, in a blender combine the mango, oil, lime juice, salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Add honey to taste, depending on your preference and the sweetness of the mango. You should get a generous 3/4 cup. (This dressing works well in a small smoothie blender. If you have a large blender that requires larger quantities, double the recipe and keep the remaining dressing for future use.)

Make the salad: In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, radishes and cucumbers, and toss with the dressing – start with 4 tablespoons, taste, and add more dressing, 1 tablespoon at a time, if desired. Divide the salad among 4 serving plates, then top each with a piece of salmon. Sprinkle with the mango, hot pepper, if using, and cilantro; top with the flaky sea salt, to taste; and serve.

Nutrition information per serving (1 piece salmon and about 1 cup salad):

Calories: 351; Total Fat: 18 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 94 mg; Sodium: 288 mg; Carbohydrates: 12 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g; Sugar: 9 g; Protein: 35 g

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