This fresh and tangy cucumber mango salsa is one of my favorite toppings for simple pan-seared salmon. It’s a fast and easy paleo condiment packed with colorful, seasonal vegetables. This is weeknight cooking at it’s easiest and most delicious.
We eat a ton of salmon in this house. Reasons? Allow me to pontificate:
- One, salmon is delicious.
- Two, it’s super nutritious. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins B and D. Total brain food.
- Three, it’s fast and easy to prepare. Simple pan-seared salmon cooks up in just under ten minutes. That’s my kind of weeknight cooking.
- Four, everyone in this house loves it, even my super picky big kid. Since salmon is a nutrient-dense food my kids love, I try to get it into their bellies as regularly as I can.
Keeping the preparation both easy and diverse, however, can be a head-scratcher. You can only eat so much salmon topped with lemon butter or tossed into a salad before it starts to feel a bit boring. Enter this fresh and tangy cucumber mango salsa. It’s a fast and easy condiment packed with colorful vegetables and yet another boost of nutrition. And did I mention delicious? Yeah, it’s that too.
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How to Dice Fresh Mango
Stumped on how to cut a fresh mango? It can be an intimidating fruit – huge pit, weird skin. No fear – mango cutting tips are here.
Start by selecting a ripe mango. A ripe mango will have bright yellow, orange, and red hues (one or all three, depending on the variety) and usually smells quite sweet. The flesh should be soft but firm, and when you gently press the skin, the flesh should give a little, like a fresh peach or pear. If it’s rock hard, leave it to further ripen. If it gives a LOT, it’s too ripe to use in salsa (cut it up anyway and use it in a smoothie).
If you can’t source any ripe mangos, place underripe mangos in a paper bag and set them on the counter. They should ripen up within a day or two.
To slice a fresh mango, slice two large pieces from top to bottom, avoiding the large center pit. Slice along the fatter sides of the mango to get as much flesh as possible. Lay one of the slices skin side down, and use the tip of paring knife to score the flesh into cubes, being careful not to cut through the flesh entirely. Then pick up the slice and gently push the skin side up to separate the cubes.
Using your paring knife, slice the cubes from the skin. Repeat with the remaining slice.
The flesh around the pit of the mango will likely still have “good” flesh, but I find it burdensome to continue hacking away at the fruit. Instead, I peel the remaining skin using my pairing knife and bite off the remaining fruit for a snack (or give it to the kids to gnaw on – they love it!).
Cucumber Mango Salsa Recipe Notes
This cucumber mango salad is packed with colorful veggies, and it comes together super fast. Let’s eat the rainbow together, shall we?
The base for this colorful salsa is fresh mango, half an english cucumber, half a red onion, one bell pepper, and a generous handful of flat leaf parsley.
I mix it with the juice and zest of a lime, plus a like sprinkle of unfiltered extra virgin olive oil, good sea salt, and cracked black pepper. The “recipe” is so basic I should be embarrassed to label it as such – just chop, mix, and serve.
Definitely experiment with additional ingredients to customize to your palette and whatever it is you’re slathering this salsa onto.
- Swap cilantro for parsley.
- Add a jalapeño and a pinch of red pepper flakes for a spicy kick.
- Throw in some fresh cherry tomatoes.
- Add avocado and serve with chips for a heartier salsa.
Choosing Wild Alaskan Salmon
Wild caught Alaskan salmon is a product we prioritize in our whole foods grocery budget. There is a raging debate on the inter-webs between wild caught and conventionally farmed salmon, and for us, it’s a difference we can both see and taste.
Like most food debates, this wades into the waters (no pun intended) of personal choice. We choose wild caught for a variety of reasons, but the biggest one is sustainability. The vast majority of salmon consumed in the US comes from imported factory farms. On the other hand, the wild Alaskan salmon industry is as “local” and sustainable as you can get in the US, and the industry is incredibly well-managed and sustainable. Even though it’s not the most local choice in terms of distance, it’s a choice that keeps our dollars in an industry that supports American fisheries in an ecologically and economically sound way.
You’ll be surprised at how readily available wild Alaskan salmon is. I can source it everywhere from my local grocery store to my co-op, and even my local CSA carries a flash frozen source. Look for the “wild” label, and talk earnestly with your seafood counter attendant. They’ll be happy to tell you everything you need to know to make the best choice for your family!
Pan searing salmon for the first time, or wondering how to do it perfectly? Get my no-fail tips for flaky, perfectly seared salmon in this post.
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Cucumber Mango Salsa over Pan-Seared Salmon
This fresh and tangy cucumber mango salsa is one of my favorite toppings for simple pan-seared salmon. It's a fast and easy condiment that is packed with colorful, seasonal vegetables. This is weeknight whole foods cooking at it's simplest and most delicious.
Pan-Seared Wild Salmon
- 1 lb salmon wild, alaskan
- kosher salt
- cracked black pepper
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
Cucumber Mango Salsa
- 2 champagne mangos diced to 1/2"
- 1/2 red bell pepper halved, seeds removed, then diced to 1/2"
- 1/2 english cucumber halved, seeds removed, then diced to 1/2"
- 1/4 red onion diced to 1/2"
- 1/2 c. italian parsley chopped
- 1 lime zested and juiced
- 1 tbsp unfiltered extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
Pull the salmon out of the fridge and set on the counter to come to room temperature while you prepare the cucumber mango salsa.
In a large bowl, combine the diced mango, bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, and parsley. Add the juice and zest of a lime, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon until incorporated and set aside.
Using a sharp knife, slice the salmon fillet into 4 equal portions. Pat each salmon fillet dry with paper towels, then season the flesh with salt and pepper.
Heat a cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium high heat and add about a tablespoon of avocado oil. Heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the fillets to the pan skin-side down and then do not touch them. Cook over medium-high heat for 3-7 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fillets), or until the flesh is mostly light pink instead of translucent.
With a fish spatula, gently flip each fillet and cook for an additional 30 seconds to one minute. (If the skin sticks or begins to tear when you attempt to flip, it probably needs another minute or two of cooking.)
Remove the fillets from the pan and transfer to plates. Allow to rest for a few minutes, then top with 1/4 of the mango salsa and serve immediately.
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