In this easy, healthy recipe for grilled salmon, the fillets marinate quickly with chili powder, garlic, lime, and olive oil. After grilling, the salmon is served with a sauce of Mexican crema or sour cream, lime, cilantro, and green onions. Serve alongside rice pilaf or sautéed zucchini for an easy, healthy dinner.
What to buy: Look for wild or sustainably farmed salmon—check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch for salmon recommendations and find a market or fishmonger you can trust. And see our guide to types of salmon for more about different varieties of the fish.
- Yield:4 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 25 mins, plus 20 mins marinating and resting time
- Active: 20 mins
For the fish:
- 4 (6-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets, pin bones removed
- Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1/2 medium lime)
For the sauce:
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
- 2 green onions, finely sliced
- 1/2 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
- Finely grated zest and juice from 1 medium lime, plus more as needed
- Kosher salt, to taste
For cooking the fish:
- Vegetable oil
- Dry the salmon well with paper towels and season it all over with salt. In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, garlic, olive oil, and lime juice; stir to form a paste. Spread the paste all over the salmon fillets in a thin layer, distributing it evenly. Set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce. Stir together the cilantro, green onions, crema, lime zest and juice, and a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more lime juice or salt as needed. Transfer to a small serving bowl and set aside.
- Set a large nonstick or well-seasoned grill pan over medium-high heat and wait for it to get hot, about 5 minutes. Brush the surface with vegetable oil and add the salmon fillets skin-side down. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, pressing down on the fillets with a spatula to make sure the skin is making contact with the pan. Cook until the skin is crisp, about 6 minutes. Turn the salmon and cook on the flesh side until the salmon is done to your liking (about 1 minute longer for medium-rare). Transfer the fish to a warmed serving platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving with the sauce.