Can we all agree that the past 365 plus days have been some of the longest days of most everyone’s lives?
I look at my photos from casual gatherings, celebrations and normal everyday life dated prior to March 13, 2020 through a completely new lense. All of us attended weddings, parties, concerts, movies, sporting events, and so much more without batting an eye. In the past year, we have had to evaluate every single thing we do because of a virus. I look back on the past year with so many emotions, but mostly I am grateful that we’ve made it to this juncture, where vaccination is or will be available for those who choose. I mean, thank goodness for modern medicine and the hope that it can deliver. What a gift to wake up in the morning and feel slightly optimistic after such a long slog, even if that feeling tends to comes around to most New Englanders at this time of year. In 2021, the arrival of Spring is multi-dimensional and I am so looking forward to spending time outdoors with as many people as possible, safety still being of the utmost importance.
Recently, I did attend a safe dinner for a friend’s birthday. We had take away from a restaurant so nobody had to do any more cooking! One of the appetizers offered was chipotle-lime chicken wings that were served with the most insanely delicious avocado ranch dressing. I think we liked the dressing more than the wings and we used it on the tacos and bowls we assembled for our dinner. I have to say, it was the first time in a long time that I’ve enjoyed something so much, I wanted to recreate it at home.
So I did. Sort of.
Except I didn’t make wings, but rather prepared a chile-lime marinade for some salmon by combining the zest and juice of a lime, olive oil, honey, salt, pepper, chile powder and cumin. I marinated salmon filets in the mixture for less than an hour and then cooked them in a cast iron pan on the stove.
For the avocado ranch dressing, I found one online that needed just a bit of tweaking to suit my palate. I looked at lots of recipes and decided this one seemed the most similar to what we enjoyed at the birthday dinner. One of the reasons I particularly liked this recipe was it didn’t require buttermilk, but rather had you create your own by adding some apple cider vinegar to milk to create that signature tang. One less ingredient for the fridge that you may use half of if you are like me! Rounding out the dressing ingredients are sour cream, mayo, 1 good sized avocado, garlic, lots of fresh and dried herbs, lime juice, salt and pepper. My version adds just a touch more vinegar as I like things tangy and it cuts down on the richness just a bit. I also added just a tiny amount of hot sauce which is completely optional. The recipe makes about 2 cups and should keep for up to a week. You can easily cut the recipe in half, but I have been dipping veggies in it as a snack since I made it – it’s so versatile.In fact, it gets better after sitting for a bit as the flavors all marry together.
I served the chile-lime salmon on a bed of Little Leaf Lettuce with some black beans, corn, tomatoes, homemade pickled onions, avocado, corn chips and of course, the avocado ranch dressing. The husband said it was bloggable so here we go! The plate got me so excited for the bright, fresh dishes that we all associate with Spring and Summer!
Happy Hopeful Spring to you all. Until next time…
One Year Ago: Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Two Years Ago: Cherry Tomato and Eggplant Curry
Three Years Ago: Sunshine Bars
Four Years Ago: Slow Cooker Chicken Marbella
Five Years Ago: Carrot Pineapple Cake
Six Years Ago: Blackened Fish Tacos
Seven Years Ago: Truffled Ricotta Dip
The salmon recipe makes enough to serve 3 hungry people, 4 less hungry people! The dressing makes 2 plus cups so it can very easily be cut in half. It can be used for salads, fish, meat, to accompany quesadillas or tacos, or as a dip for vegetables. Very versatile! It gets better as it sits. Enjoy.
- 1 pound salmon filets, roughly 5 or so ounces each.
- Zest and juice of one juicy lime
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 large avocado
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 2 Tablespoons parsley leaves
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives or 1 tsp. dried chives
- 2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill or 1 tsp. dried dill
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (optional), more to taste
- In an 8x8 glass dish, whisk together the lime zest and juice, olive oil, honey, and seasonings. Add the salmon filets and toss them so all flesh is covered with the marinade. If skin on, leave them flesh side down in the pan. Cover and place in the fridge for about a half hour or so.
- Heat a small cast iron skillet over medium heat. Reserving the extra marinade, add the filets flesh side down to the skillet. Cook for about 3-4 minutes and then flip them carefully. Pour the remaining marinade over the filets, cover and turn the heat down to low. Cook the salmon to your desired doneness, another few minutes.
- Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until completely combined and smooth. Taste and adjust to your palate with additional salt, lime juice, or hot sauce. You can also add more herbs if you'd like! Or to give it a more onion forward flavor, add 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder.
This looks so good! I will definitely make this tonight. Thanks, Valerie!