A recipe for seasoned and pan-seared salmon topped with tangy Szechuan sauce, served over fluffy chili-basil rice. Light, fork tender, perfect.
We're lightening things up a bit over here in Chili Pepper Madness kitchen with one of my very favorite fish fillets to cook with - SALMON. If I HAD to choose only a single fish to eat for the rest of my life, I think it would be salmon. I love a LOT of fish, but salmon is the ideal package when it comes to flavor, texture, healthy oil content and overall versatility. I can cook salmon so many different ways and into many different types of meals. Seriously. See our Salmon Recipes. YUM.
Sometimes, though, you want to keep it simple and serve it fillet style, like this recipe, which preps the salmon with basic seasonings, then finishes it off with sweet and mildy spicy Szechuan sauce. Talk about delicious.
Szechuan sauce is both spicy and sweet, made primarily from soy sauce, tomato sauce, dried peppers, brown sugar and other seasonings. It's easy to keep on hand and can make for a quick meal any night of the week. If this recipe looks familiar, it is because I made a similar version not long ago - Szechuan Salmon Tacos - which have quickly become one of my favorites. I loved it so much, I wanted to make a non-taco version, and here it is, and you know what? YUM! I love it.
Please don't forget the Chili-Basil Rice. This stuff is crazy good with the salmon. This is another recipe I enjoyed so much that I had to place on the site as a separate recipe - Chili-Basil Rice - as it can be used for different proteins, even a good stir fry. The recipe is included below, but truly, it's an integral part of the final dish.
It is loaded with fresh chopped chili peppers, basil, ginger and lime juice, and makes for the ideal bed for the salmon. The Szechuan sauce drips down a bit over the salmon fillet into the rice. Scoop a piece of drenched salmon along with the rice onto your fork. For me, it's the perfect bite.
I pan-seared the salmon in this particular recipe, though you can easily grill it as well for some additional grilled, smoky flavor. Go for it!
I do hope you enjoy it! Let me know how it turns out for you!
Szechuan Salmon with Chili-Basil Rice – Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 6 ounces salmon filets
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup water or stock
- 1/2 cup Szechuan sauce, or more as desired
- FOR THE RICE
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2-3 Thai chilies, chopped – or use Serrano peppers - + more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2-1/2 cups water
- 1 cup rice
- 4 large basil leaves, chopped
- Juice from one small lime – about 2 tablespoons
- Lightly toasted peanuts
- Get the rice going first by heating the oil in a pot. Add onion and chilies and cook about 5 minutes, stirring often, to soften.
- Add the ginger and stir. Cook about a minute.
- Add the water and rice and bring to a quick boil. Reduce the heat and simmer about 20 minutes or so, or until the rice is cooked through.
- Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice. Garnish with basil leaves, toasted peanuts and extra sliced peppers.
- For the salmon, heat the oil in a large pan.
- Season the salmon with salt and pepper and sear them in the pan about 2-3 minutes per side. Wait for the salmon to loosen in the pan before flipping the first time.
- Add the water or stock and cover for about a minute or so to let the salmon steam a bit. Remove the lid and let the water reduce a bit.
- Add the Szechuan sauce and shake the pan to coat the salmon. Cook it for about a minute to heat it through.
- Serve the salmon over the rice and garnish with extra chili peppers, chopped basil, and crumbled toasted peanuts.