This sweet, spicy and smoky salsa negra easily comes together and tastes deeply complex! The intensely flavored, moist and tender salmon is perfectly balanced by a refreshing seasonal fresh fruit salsa on top!
Why this Recipe Works
- Balance of flavor! The sweet molasses, brown sugar, tart vinegar and fresh fruit salsa topping balance the intense spicy and smoky heat of the chilies in adobo sauce.
- Moist and tender salmon! Thanks to the glaze acting as an insulating layer while the salmon cooks.
- Recipe is versatile! The salsa negra works with both individual portions of fish and large party-size filet, as well as with other ingredients in your kitchen (more ideas below)!
- Easily transform any dish! With this salsa negra that is quick to make and holds in the fridge for 1-2 month.
Make this salsa negra once and enjoy in a so many different ways!
This salsa negra recipe is inspired from Rick Bayless. I first saw it used in black beans and as a coating for eggplant. And was blow away by the flavor! It’s by no means an authentic salsa negra, which takes some serious work. Instead, I like to think of it as the very next best thing!
I love and crave that balance of sweet and heat flavors!
And I loveeee spicy! But ya can tone the heat up or down depending on how many chilies you use! And remember: it’s always easier to tone up the heat by adding more chilies than toning it done once you’ve added too many…
How to Make this Salsa Negra Salmon Recipe
Places chilies (and their canning sauce) in a blender along with molasses, vinegar, sugar and water. Process until completely smooth and reduce over heat. Smother on salmon, let marinade and bake. Top with a seasonally fresh fruit salsa. To date I've topped with a strawberry salsa, mango-avocado salsa, and papaya salsa.
Please check out my in process shots for easy cooking!
Other Ideas for this Salsa Negra
Make this salsa negra once and enjoy in in a variety of ways!
- in black beans
- brush on veggies (so good on eggplant!)
- in tacos or quesadillas
- as a barbeque sauce
- on chicken or pork or grilled other meat
- in stews
Got other ideas for this mouthwatering glaze? I’d love to hear ‘em! Please let me know in the comments below.
Wild vs. Farm Raised Salmon
When possible, always go for wild over farm-raised salmon. It tastes better, has firmer, fattier meat and is better for the environment.
Wild salmon is a truly amazing wild superfoods!
And if you’re buying fresh over froze, go for what’s in season (duh, always!).
I sourced this gorgeous piece of salmon from Copper River Salmon in Alaska. If you have a chance to try their sustainably harvested wild salmon, I *highly* recommend it!
Not all salmon is created equal. If you’re not sure where the salmon at your local market is from, if it’s been previously frozen or not, if wild vs. farm raised… simply ask your fishmonger! As consumers, we gotta start caring and asking these questions!
- When possible, buy wild salmon over farm-raised salmon.
- Allow salmon to marinate for at least 10 minutes, preferably for 30.
- Salmon cooking times will vary! It all depends on the thickness of your fish.
- Store any leftover salmon in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Leftover salsa negra will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 months.
Stoked on more salmon recipes? I got YOU! Check out my Citrus & Fresh Herb Roasted Salmon and my Salmon Rainbow Party Salmon Board.
Have ya tried this recipe? I’d love to hear about it and see it too! Please leave a comment below and take a pic and tag it on Instagram with #chefdanielagerson. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more colorfully delicious food and all sorts of awesome adventures!
Let's make waves in the kitchen!
Salsa Negra Salmon with Fresh Fruit Salsa
- 1 can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
- 4 tablespoons molasses
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- kosher salt to taste
- 3 pound wild salmon filet left whole or cut into salmon steaks
- Place between half to all of the chilies and their adobe canning sauce in a blender. Exact quantity depends on how spicy you’d like it.. the more chilies the spicier the sauce will be! Add the molasses, vinegar, sugar and ½ cup water. Process until completely smooth.
- Pour mixture into a small sauce pan set over medium heat and bring to a moil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer, stirring regularly, until the mixture is the consistency of ketchup, about 30 minutes.
- Remove the salsa negra from the heat and stir in the soy sauce.
- If necessary to thin it out, add some water, until desired consistency is reached.
- Let the salsa negra cool and taste to season it with salt if necessary.
- Transfer the salsa to a pint-size jar and store, covered, in the refrigerator, where it will last for 1-2 months.
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
- Pat salmon dry with a paper town cut into steaks if you’d like or leave filet whole. Place skin side down on a baking sheet. Sprinke lightly with salt. Smother with salsa negra on the salmon with a brush or spatula and let sit for at least 10 minutes and up to 30.
- Bake for 15-25 minutes, until salmon is cooked through. Exact time will vary depending on thickness of filet and if it’s cut into steaks or the filet is left whole. Insert the tip of a knife into the thickest part of the salmon, if it’s pink and flakes easily, it’s cooked through.
- Top with a seasonally fresh fruit salsa. For the strawberry salsa recipe, check out this post.
Jacqueline Gerson says
Seriously the best salmon👍👍👍👍
I had it in your pop up and it was totally heavenly🙏
Thanks for sharing the recipe, hope mine turns as good as yours🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏😘💜👍
Daniela Gerson says
You are too cute Jacqueline! I'm so stoked to hear that you loved it at my pop up and I'm sure yours will turn out just as good :)!!!
Carie Fritzsche says
Strawberry salsa connoisseur. Trying this whole recipe
Daniela Gerson says
Wowie Carie can't wait to hear your thoughts from a strawberry salsa connoisseur! I made this salmon dish over the weekend with strawberry salsa as strawberry season is still going so strong in Cali! I added avocado and omitted the ginger in the salsa. Hope you love it too!