Blackened Halibut With Mango-Avocado Relish Recipe

For a dish that will transport you to some of the fabled tables of New Orleans, look no further than this blackened halibut with mango-avocado relish. This dish adopts the blackening technique, which involves coating a fish in a mixture of spices and then cooking it in butter on a very hot skillet. This technique has roots in Cajun cuisine, though it has gained popularity across various culinary styles for the bold flavor it imparts when the milk solids interact with the spices over extreme heat. 

According to Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table, the resulting dish is a celebration of contrasts, where the fiery crust of the halibut provides a counterpoint to the cool and creamy mango-avocado relish. Though this dish has some heat, you can temper it by using less jalapeño peppers in the salsa or omitting the cayenne from the fish coating. Consider serving the fish alongside French-inspired potatoes or simple roasted asparagus. It's a meal that promises to deliver a burst of flavor in each bite, perfect for those seeking a taste of Southern charm with a twist.

Gather the ingredients for this blackened halibut and mango-avocado relish recipe

To prepare this dish, start by assembling your spices for the blackening mix — dried oregano, thyme, onion flakes, granulated garlic, mustard powder, cayenne, both sweet and smoked paprika, freshly ground black pepper, and salt. For the fish, you'll need halibut filets, unsalted butter, and olive oil for cooking. The salsa calls for a ripe mango, an avocado, a jalapeño for a bit of heat, red bell pepper, and red onion for crunch, with cilantro and lime juice adding freshness. A touch of honey sweetens the mix. Keep lime wedges handy to serve alongside the finished dish.

Step 1: Make the blackening seasoning mix

Make the blackening mix by combining the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

Step 2: Prep the filets

Pat the halibut filets dry and season liberally with the prepared blackening mix.

Step 3: Make the salsa

Make the salsa by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and seasoning with a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Step 4: Prep a skillet

In a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the olive oil until very hot.

Step 5: Cook the fish

Add the fish filets and cook for 4 minutes per side, until the fish turns opaque inside and the internal temperature reaches 145 F.

Step 6: Transfer to a plate

Transfer the cooked halibut to a plate.

Step 7: Top with salsa

Top the blackened halibut filets with the prepared salsa.

Step 8: Serve the blackened halibut and mango-avocado relish

Serve immediately with more lime and cilantro.

Can I use a different type of fish for this blackened halibut recipe?

This blackened fish recipe is versatile and allows for various substitutions when it comes to the choice of fish, so don't feel limited to halibut. We chose halibut for its firm texture and mild flavor, which pairs well with the bold spices of the blackening mix, but other types of firm white fish can be used effectively. Options such as cod, mahi-mahi, or sea bass make excellent alternatives. Each of these fish can stand up to the high heat required for blackening while still maintaining its firm shape. When substituting with a different fish, it's important to be mindful of the filets' thickness as this will influence cooking times. Thicker cuts may need additional time on the skillet, whereas thinner pieces will cook more quickly. Whatever fish you choose, ensure that its internal temperature reaches the FDA-recommended 145 F to guarantee that the fish is cooked through and safe to eat.

How can I adjust the spiciness of the blackening mix for this halibut recipe?

Adjusting the spiciness of the blackening mix to suit your taste is as simple as adding more or less spice, but it can greatly impact the overall flavor profile of the dish. If you have a lower tolerance for heat, reducing the cayenne pepper in the spice blend can easily help to dial down the intensity while still allowing the other spices to shine. On the other hand, if a fiery dish is what you're after, increasing the cayenne pepper will certainly turn up the heat. Additionally, you can also experiment with other ground peppers, like ground Thai chili peppers, which can add both heat and depth to the flavor. Similarly, you can use more or less jalapeño when preparing the salsa, opting to remove or keep the seeds according to preference. Please remember that spices can vary in intensity, so whatever peppers you choose, start with a small amount and adjust incrementally. This way, you can achieve the desired level of spiciness without overwhelming the dish. 

What can I serve with the blackened halibut and mango-avocado salsa?

Selecting the right accompaniments for this tropical-inspired blackened halibut can easily take a meal from good to fantastic. A side of dirty rice or quinoa will keep the Cajun theme going and nicely soak up the spices and juices of the dish, allowing the flavors of the fish and salsa to shine. Roasted vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, or sweet potatoes, can add a touch of caramelized sweetness and a hearty element to the plate. If you're looking for a lighter option, a bed of mixed bitter greens dressed with a vinaigrette offers a crisp, refreshing contrast to the richness of the blackened fish. Grilled asparagus, with its subtle earthiness and charred edges, will also complement the tropical notes of the salsa. The beauty of this dish lies in its flexibility — you can choose sides that cater to your dietary preferences or simply work with what you have on hand. 

Blackened Halibut With Mango-Avocado Relish Recipe
5 from 19 ratings
This quick and simple fish recipe is perfect for weeknights, delivering flavorfully spiced halibut with a homemade salsa in less than 20 minutes.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
8
minutes
Servings
2
servings
close up on halibut with salsa
Total time: 18 minutes
Ingredients
  • For the blackening mix
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • For the fish
  • 2 (roughly 8-ounce) halibut filets
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • For the salsa
  • 1 large mango, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 1 small avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • ½ medium jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • ¼ finely chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for serving
  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt, to taste
  • For serving
  • Lime wedges
Directions
  1. Make the blackening mix by combining the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Pat the halibut filets dry and season liberally with the prepared blackening mix.
  3. Make the salsa by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and seasoning with a pinch of salt. Set aside.
  4. In a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the olive oil until very hot.
  5. Add the fish filets and cook for 4 minutes per side, until the fish turns opaque inside and the internal temperature reaches 145 F.
  6. Transfer the cooked halibut to a plate.
  7. Top the blackened halibut filets with the prepared salsa.
  8. Serve immediately with more lime and cilantro.
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