Annatto seeds come from the Achiote tree, which originates in Central and South America. Annatto seeds or Achiote powder, when ground, is used to add natural flavor and color to many food products. In Mexican cuisine it is used as a spice or seasoning in rubs and marinades and I find that it gives meat and fish a unique tang that compliments Mexican food, especially when grilled. Annatto seeds, powder or Achiote paste can be found online or in most upscale markets.
In this recipe, I marinate the salmon for a few hours before grilling. Then, I serve the fish with a refreshing crunchy slaw with a touch of sweetness from the pineapple. This dish is easy enough to serve during the week or double it, for a fun dinner party.
2 teaspoons ground Annatto or Achiote powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt + more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper + more for seasoning
2-4 fillets salmon
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream or Greek yogurt
1/2 red cabbage
1 cup sliced pineapple, fresh or frozen defrosted
1 bunch cilantro
grapeseed oil or other cooking oil
fresh tortillas, optional
1. In a casserole dish, add the annatto, cumin, onion powder, oregano salt and pepper. Squeeze in the juice of 1 orange and 1/2 a lime. Reserve the other half of lime for the slaw. Whisk the mixture together to combine.
2. Dip the fillets in the marinade and place them flesh side down in the dish. Cover with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours.
3. While the salmon marinates, make the slaw by combining the mayonnaise, sour cream, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and juice of 1/2 a lime in a bowl. Whisk the mixture until smooth.
3. Slice the cabbage and add it on top of the dressing along with the pineapple chunks. Stir the slaw together to combine.
4. Slice the jalapeno, dice the avocado and chop the cilantro and add it to the slaw, stir to combine. Place the slaw in the refrigerator until ready to serve with the salmon.
5. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and pat dry with paper towels. Salt and pepper your salmon lightly. In a grill pan on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil to coat lightly. You can use your outdoor grill as well.
6. Place the fillets in the pan, flesh side down and grill for 4 minutes.
7. Flip the fillets over and continue to grill for 6 more minutes. Turn the heat off, and leave the fillets in the pan for 3 more minutes to continue cooking.
8. To serve, place one salmon fillet on each plate and spoon a large serving of slaw on the side. You can serve with fresh corn tortillas warmed on the stove top or just by itself. Enjoy!