Chipotle Chili-Crusted Salmon

Perfectly cooked salmon, seasoned with chipotle chili powder, lemon and honey and roasted until fork-tender on the inside and slightly caramelized on the outside. As the salmon cooks, the honey in the coating blackens slightly, dishing up flavor and texture in every bite (tender salmon, slightly crunchy crust - you get the point). Nestled over thyme-scented, sauteed vegetables, this quick and easy, gluten-free dish is an excellent, healthy dinner for any busy weeknight.

About the vegetables: I nestled my salmon over sauteed mixed vegetables, but you can also roast those vegetables right alongside the salmon in the oven (toss them with the olive oil and thyme, season with salt and pepper, and arrange them around the fish filets before roasting). 

Other side dish ideas: Salmon partners with practically everything, so consider serving the filets with rice, couscous, quinoa, or angel hair pasta that's been tossed with good-quality olive oil.

Chipotle Chili-Crusted Salmon
Note: If you don't already have chipotle chili powder, blend equal parts smoked paprika and chili powder and then add a little cayenne pepper for heat.

Cooking spray
4 salmon filets, about 4-5 ounces each
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons ground chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 teaspoon honey
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 each, red, green and yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup snap peas
1/2 cup sliced or chopped carrots
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a shallow baking pan with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, whisk together chili powder, cumin, coriander, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest, and honey. If the mixture is very thick, add a few drops of water until you reach a thin, spreadable paste. Spread the mixture all over the top of salmon.
Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, until the salmon is fork-tender.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp-tender. Pull the thyme leaves from the stems and add to the vegetables. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the salmon nestled on top of the vegetables and garnish with lemon wedges.

Serves 4

Photo: Apolonia