Feelin’ like today is a tropical food kind of day.
Every single year around Easter, I always think of Cuban style food. I know I’ve mentioned this many times now, but my family used to spend many Easters in south Florida with my grandparents. A lot of times we would head to Miami for day trips and if you know anything about Miami, than you know it’s full of Cuban food and culture.
I was only a kid when we used to go, so unfortunately, my meal of choice was usually something that consisted of hamburger, fries, and a chocolate shakes, many times from Johnny Rockets along the beach (ahh, can I please go back? This time I’ll go for grown-up Cuban food!). Some of my favorites memories are those spent with my family, soaking up the Florida sun and eating way too many mangos and pineapples. We always had the best time, and I feel super lucky to have those memories. My grandpa would take us on boat trips down to Key West or the Bahamas. We’d swim in the ocean, go snorkeling, and do all kinds of fun and adventurous stuff. One year we even ventured off to an abandoned island that Disney used to park their cruise ships at. It was like a scene out of Jurassic Park, I kept waiting for dinosaurs to roar. The island looked as if it was suddenly abandoned. Jet skis available for rental just left behind, tiki huts looking ready for customers to walk up to, signs indicating to passengers of all the various places on the island where fun was to be had. I’m thinking we probably visited there in about 2002. My grandpa said that Disney abandoned the resort because the waters surrounding the island were too shallow. It was honestly one of the coolest things ever. If you’re interested in reading more on it, I found this blog post on it. When we visited it must have been not too long after it was abandoned because things still looked new. And now you see why these trips are some of my best memories, right?
PS. has anyone played on the giant chess boards on Miami Beach? My brothers and I totally did, and obviously we thought they were so cool.
Anyway, I always have a topical mindset when this time of year rolls around, and my food totally reflects that. I’m sure you guys have probably noticed, what with all the mango and pineapple sneaking their way into so many recipes these days. Can’t help it, they’re my favorite.
SO, this salmon! It’s so jam-packed with fresh flavors and citrus. Light, but still hearty, and oh so pretty with that tomato avocado salsa on top. I wasn’t sure about posting this today, but then I remembered that Friday is Good Friday and it just seemed to make total sense.
Cuban style food is typically loaded with citrus, so that’s what I did here with this salmon. The salmon is soaked in a quick marinade of orange, lime juice, a little garlic, and some spices. It’s basically what they call Mojo sauce, but with a little extra heat and flavor added by me. It is SO good. And well this totally is not necessary, I love to finish the grilled salmon off with a small pat of butter. The butter melts down over the fish and creates a delicious sauce. <–I highly recommend it. 🙂
And then, because I am salsa obsessed (there is a whole salsa page in the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook), I had to add a little tomato avocado salsa. YUM. Not gonna lie, if you want to just grab a bag of chips and go to town on this salsa, I would not blame you, it’s kind of hard not to. My secret? Using super sweet cherry tomatoes instead of a big tomatoes. I always have bad luck with large tomatoes and much prefer using cherry tomatoes. They’re bite size, crazy sweet and perfect for salsa. Plus, anything with avocado and lime is always a good idea in my book!
So what do you think? Good Friday dinner? Maybe Easter brunch? Either way, this is a must make. It’s quick, healthy, and packed full of so many delicious flavors.
Oh, and while I didn’t add pineapple to this salsa, I think it would be pretty freaking good. Just sayin’.
Random Wednesday Question: what do you and your families do for Easter? I’m dying to know what traditions you guys have. Do you go on vacation? Visit relatives? Have a big brunch? What’s the deal?!
Cuban Grilled Salmon with Tomato Avocado Salsa
Tomato Avocado Salsa
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 ripe avocados, diced
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
- pinch of sea salt
1. Place the salmon in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
2. In a blender, combine the olive oil, lime juice, orange juice, garlic, green onions, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper. Pulse until combined. Pour the marinade over the salmon and let set for 15 minutes.
3. Heat your grill, grill pan or skillet to medium high heat.
4. Transfer the salmon to the preheated grill and grill for about 3 minutes on each side or until the salmon is cooked to your desired doneness, brush the salmon with the marinade as it cooks. Remove the salmon from the grill.
5. To serve, pat the salmon with butter and allow it to melt. Serve topped with the tomato avocado salsa. Enjoy!
Tomato Avocado Salsa
1. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, avocado, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeño, and a pinch of salt. Serve alongside the salmon.
Tomorrow will be talking one last Easter side, then on to Friday cocktails, I’m already so excited!