Craving mole by don't have the time to prepare it? Make this shortcut version instead! Mole spiced salmon takes the flavors of mole and turns it into a dry spice. Pair the salmon with homemade salsa verde, pomegranate molasses, and garlic labneh for a restaurant-worthy meal.
Mole Spiced Salmon
- ½ cup labneh
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon ground fennel
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- salt and pepper
Mole spiced salmon
- 1 lb salmon
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon aleppo pepper
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dark cocoa
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Make garlic labneh. Combine labneh with garlic and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and let sit for 30 minutes or overnight.
- Prepare salsa verde. Combine chopped parsley with olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, garlic, fennel, coriander, and red chili flakes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Combine mole spices for salmon including chili powder, aleppo pepper, paprika, cumin, brown sugar, black pepper, salt, oregano, cocoa, and sugar. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons evenly over the salmon and drizzle 1 tablespoons olive oil on top. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Bake salmon for 12-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Spoon garlic labneh on serving plate and spread in an even layer. Lay salmon on top and drizzle pomegranate molasses on top. Spread salsa verde on top and serve extra salsa on the side. Serve immediately.
Watch how to make this:
Salmon seems to be one of the most popular fish options but in all honesty, it can get so boring. Whenever I order salmon at a restaurant, it's nothing special. Just because I order a seafood dish doesn't mean I want light flavors, give me something flavorful! So I'm taking control and making the most flavorful salmon dish, mole spiced salmon.
Take the same spices you'll find in a traditional Mexican mole sauce and use that to season the fish. Then, pair that beautiful fish with tangy pomegranate molasses, a fresh salsa verde, and garlic labneh for an insanely delicious meal. Say goodbye to boring salmon because this is anything but!
- Salmon: A type of fish that is prized for its flavorful and often slightly fatty flesh. Although this recipe is intended for salmon, you can substitute it for another protein such as chicken, pork loin, steak, or kabocha squash, or sweet potatoes for a vegetarian option.
- Labneh: A Middle Eastern strained yogurt cheese made from yogurt that has been strained to remove most of its whey. It has a thick, creamy consistency similar to cream cheese but with a tangy flavor. If you can't find labneh, you can use plain Greek yogurt instead.
- Parsley: A bright green herb that is the main ingredient in salsa verde. It has a mild, slightly peppery, and herbaceous taste.
- Ground fennel: Made from the seeds of the fennel plant, which have a sweet, licorice-like flavor. If you can't find ground fennel, you can omit it.
- Chili powder: A spice blend typically made from ground dried chili peppers along with other spices such as cumin, garlic powder, and paprika. I used Mexican chili powder but you can use any variety of chili powder.
- Aleppo pepper: A crushed red pepper spice made from dried chili peppers, primarily the Aleppo pepper variety. It has a moderate level of heat and imparts a fruity, slightly tangy flavor. If you can't find aleppo pepper, use ancho chili powder instead.
- Smoked paprika: Also known as pimentón, smoked paprika is a spice made from dried and smoked red peppers. It has a deep, smoky flavor and is often used to add a smoky dimension to dishes. Regular paprika can be used as a substitute for smoked paprika, but it won't provide the same smoky flavor.
- Dark cocoa: A cocoa powder that has a high cocoa solids content and is not sweetened. It's often used in baking to add a rich chocolate flavor without additional sweetness. Unsweetened cocoa powder and dark cocoa powder are essentially the same ingredient and can be used interchangeably in this recipe.
- Pomegranate molasses: A thick, tangy syrup made from reduced pomegranate juice that adds a sweet and sour flavor to dishes.
How to Make Mole Spiced Salmon
Step 1: Prepare salmon
Begin by preheating your oven to 425 degrees F and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper. This will ensure easy cleanup and prevent the salmon from sticking.
Now, let's infuse the salmon with those distinctive mole flavors. In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, Aleppo pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, brown sugar, black pepper, salt, dried oregano, dark cocoa, and granulated sugar. The dark cocoa might seem like an odd ingredient but if you ever made mole rojo before, you'll know that the sauce incorporates Mexican chocolate.
Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture evenly over the salmon followed by 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Let the salmon sit for about 10 minutes to really soak in those flavors.
This recipe makes extra spice blend so if you're planning on cooking double the amount of salmon, it works out perfectly. You can also reserve the remaining spice mixture and use it to season roasted root vegetables!
Step 2: Make Sauces
While the salmon marinates, it's time to create two complementary sauces, the salsa verde, and garlic labneh.
For the creamy garlic labneh, take ½ cup of labneh and mix it with 2 teaspoons of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. This allows the labneh to really absorb that garlic.
Now, let's whip up the vibrant salsa verde. Combine chopped fresh parsley with olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, garlic, ground fennel, ground coriander, and red chili flakes. Season the salsa with salt and pepper to taste.
Feel free to make both of the sauces the day before.
Step 3: Putting it all together
Now it's time to put everything together. Bake the salmon in the preheated oven for approximately 12-15 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Once baked, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Although I don't normally rest seafood, I do for salmon and other fatty fish to prevent it from overcooking.
Assemble the plates starting by spreading the creamy garlic labneh in an even layer, creating a base for your salmon.
Next, lay the perfectly baked salmon on top and drizzle the pomegranate molasses on top. Finish with a drizzle of the herby salsa verde and enjoy it while it's hot!
And there you have it – a mole spiced salmon dish that's sure to delight your taste buds. The blend of mole spices, creamy labneh, and zesty salsa verde creates a flavor explosion that convinces me that restaurants need to take up the spices a notch.
Can I use other types of fish instead of salmon?
While this recipe is tailored for salmon, you can experiment with different types of fish, such as trout, cod, or tilapia. Just keep in mind that cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of the fish fillets.
How do I know when the salmon is perfectly cooked?
Salmon is cooked when it flakes easily with a fork and its internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F (63 degrees C). Keep an eye on it during baking, as overcooking can result in dry salmon.
What side dishes would pair well with this salmon recipe?
You can serve this dish with a variety of sides, such as rice, quinoa pilaf, a simple green salad, roasted vegetables, or mashed potatoes.
What's the best way to store leftover mole spice blend?
To preserve the mole spice blend, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. This will help maintain its freshness and flavor for future use in other recipes.
For more salmon recipe inspiration check out this hawaiian-style salmon recipe!