Passionfruit sauce, sweetened with honey, adds a special touch to pan-seared salmon in this impressive dinner. Bold romantic flavor, easy recipe.
Today I’m sharing a dish that’s easier and healthier than the Steak with Homemade Potato Chips I shared last week. It was totally worth it to make the potato chips, but I understand not everyone loves deep frying.
Pan-Seared Salmon with Passionfruit Sauce is a special meal you might consider for your Valentines menu or any time you’re craving something a little different. I paired it with cilantro mashed potatoes and steamed green beans, but I can think of many sides that would go well with the salmon. Make sure to pick some type of starch (rice, mashed cauliflower, etc.) that can soak up the extra sauce.
Have you ever had passionfruit before?
I’m not the biggest fan of tropical fruits. I don’t like mango, papaya, dragon fruit, etc. But I love the unique tart flavor of passionfruit. The first time I had passionfruit was when I traveled to Peru in 2013. (By the way, here’s my recipe for Lomo Saltado, a Peruvian dish.) Passionfruit is much more popular in South America than here in the US.
During my trip, every hotel served fresh fruit juice at breakfast, and they were usually juices we don’t normally drink at home, like blackberry-pear, tomato-orange, and a passionfruit blend. I also had trout with passionfruit sauce for dinner one night, which inspired today’s recipe.
Since then, I’ve eaten passionfruit dishes every chance I get. You don’t see it around much, but I’ve managed to try a passionfruit tart, passionfruit mousse, passionfruit cream chocolate, and probably a few others I’ve forgotten. In Poland, I had passionfruit sorbet. (I only knew what it was because passionfruit in Spanish is maracuyá, and in Polish it’s marakuja. I saw the sign and got so excited!) But I haven’t seen anything with passionfruit as part of a savory meal since that trout dinner.
Passionfruit by itself is very tart. It’s kind of like cranberry in that people don’t normally drink 100% cranberry juice. They either drink cranberry juice cocktail or a 100% juice blend that mixes cranberry with sweeter juices like apple and grape. Passionfruit goes so well in desserts because you are probably adding a lot of sugar anyway.
When I started out to make this recipe, I was looking for passionfruit juice. I only found passionfruit juice cocktail and passionfruit as part of a juice blend. I thought about scooping out the pulp from fresh passionfruit, but they were $2.50 each at the only supermarket that carried them in my area, which would be very expensive. (They’re tiny.)
Then I looked for frozen passionfruit. I found Goya brand sells frozen passionfruit pulp that already has the seeds removed. This was in the Latino Foods section in the freezer aisle. It’s much cheaper than buying fresh passionfruit and scooping out the pulp yourself, and easier. All I had to do before using it in the recipe was break off some chunks and defrost them in the microwave.
I used honey to sweeten the sauce. The added sugar also helps the sauce thicken up. I thought mashed potatoes would be a good choice for a starchy side because you can pour the extra sauce over them.
Without even realizing what I did, I made a winter seasonal version of my Pumpkin Seed Crusted Salmon with Sweet Potato Mash. I didn’t mean for that to happen when I started out creating this recipe, but it did. What can I say? Salmon with a fruity sauce is just the best!
The ingredients here are two salmon fillets, green beans, russet potatoes, cilantro, honey, and that defrosted frozen passionfruit pulp I was talking about.
Here’s that passionfruit sauce.
I mixed some cilantro in with the mashed potatoes since I was using chopped cilantro to garnish this dish anyway. If you don’t like cilantro, try parsley or basil.
The last part of the recipe is searing the salmon.
And I had some fun with edible flowers as garnish because, c’mon, it’s almost Valentine’s Day.
Salmon with Passionfruit Sauce
- 2-3 russet potatoes (1 - 1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons milk or cream
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup frozen passionfruit pulp (seedless), defrosted
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 6 ounces green beans, ends trimmed
- 2 (6-8 ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
- chopped cilantro for garnish
Start Potatoes: Put potatoes in a pot and sprinkle with salt. Add cold water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium-high and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
Make sauce: While the potatoes are cooking, make the passionfruit sauce. Put passionfruit pulp and honey in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 10 – 15 minutes. Set aside.
Finish Mashed Potatoes: When the potatoes are done cooking, drain. Return to pot and mash by hand or mash with a food processor. Add butter and milk and stir until all butter is melted and incorporated. Stir in cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Steam green beans: Put green beans in a pot and add about 1 inch of cold water. Cover and turn heat to high. Steam 3-5 minutes, depending how crisp or tender you like them.
Sear salmon: Pat salmon dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add salmon, skin side up. Cook for 3 minutes. Carefully flip salmon over with a spatula and cook 3-5 more minutes, until it reaches your desired doneness. (A thinner fillet will be done in less time. Fish should flake easily or reach internal temperature of 145 degrees).
To serve: Divide mashed potatoes and steamed green beans between serving plates. Top with salmon and drizzle with passionfruit sauce. Garnish with chopped cilantro.