South America is a melting pot of cultural and culinary traditions, as the different countries in the region have their own takes on ingredients like vegetables and meats. In particular, fish and seafood dishes are popular because of the countries’ proximity to the Amazon River and the Caribbean Sea.1 If you want to try a South American-inspired dish, look no further than this Mouthwatering Pan-Fried Fish With Fiery Pico de Gallo Salsa recipe. The tender and juicy fish and the fresh yet spicy salsa offer a flavorful balance of the land and the sea.
Note: While this recipe provides flavor and health benefits, be cautious of the very high possibility that the fish is tainted with mercury and other heavy metals and pollutants. Ideally, eat fish in moderation and thoroughly check for labels that verify the fish’s freshness and quality (more on this later).
Mouthwatering Pan-Fried Fish With Fiery Pico de Gallo Salsa Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 8 minutes Serving Size: 4
Pico de Gallo Salsa
- 2 large organic plum tomatoes, deseeded and finely diced
- 1/3 cup chopped coriander
- 1/4 cup organic red onion, finely chopped
- 1 small organic jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (keep the seeds if you like it hotter)
- 1 Tbsp. organic lemon or lime juice (plus extra to serve)
- 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 4 wild fish fillets of your choice (Dr. Mercola's wild Alaskan salmon, barramundi, cod, coral trout etc.), skin on
- 2 Tbsp. Dr. Mercola’s coconut oil
For the salsa:
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Season to taste with Dr. Mercola’s Himalayan salt and freshly cracked pepper, and add a little more lemon juice or jalapenos if desired.
For the fish:
- Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper and rub them on both sides with the coconut oil.
- Heat a large, non-toxic frying pan over medium-high heat. Put them skin side up on the pan and cook until golden brown for 3 minutes, then flip the fillets with a spatula.
- Cook the fish until completely opaque throughout, for 5 minutes longer.
- Remove fillets from the pan, place them on plates and serve topped with the Pico de Gallo Salsa and lemon.
Make the Most Out of This Fish and Salsa Recipe
This Mouthwatering Pan-Fried Fish With Pico de Gallo Salsa Recipe might require a little effort and caution, especially if you’re a beginner in relatively short cooking time the kitchen, but it’s not a highly technical or complicated dish, and only requires a relatively short cooking time. Even better, you can make a batch of the no-cook salsa ahead of time and use it for other dishes, too. Feel free to add more flavor to the fish by using other herbs and spices. The number of ways you can prepare this recipe and make it your own knows no bounds.
Why Choosing the Right Fish Is a Big Factor
The fish fillet you choose for this dish is the star of the show, which is why selecting the best portions is a must. However, as mentioned earlier, a huge caveat of fish is the high likelihood of it being contaminated with mercury and other pollutants.
The boom in the fish farming industry has resulted in high profits, but at the cost of producing low-quality fish. Farmed fish are given unnatural feed loaded with dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other drugs and chemicals. Even worse, these fish are at high risk for genetic mutations and deficiencies like ear bone deformities and brittle flesh.
The good news is, you can still enjoy your favorite fish dishes by choosing wisely and carefully inspecting the portions you’ll be purchasing. A trusted local fish monger is your best source for high-quality fish, but if you have no choice but to buy from grocery stores or big box retailers, check for these third party labels that’ll assure you of top-quality fish:
- The Marine Stewardship Council logo, featuring the letters “MSC” and a blue check mark in the shape of a fish
- Alaska’s “Wild Alaska Pure” logo, since the state doesn’t allow aquaculture, making all fish wild-caught
- The Global Aquaculture Alliance symbol, if the fish is farmed (although this should be your last resort, as much as possible)
This Simple Salsa Is Flavorful and Nutritious
Salsa, which literally means “sauce,” is popular as a topping for quesadillas and enchiladas, as a dip for tortillas and tacos and as a condiment poured over eggs, fajitas, grilled beef and roast chicken. While tomatoes, onions and chilies are its three main ingredients, sometimes papaya, mango and plantains are also added,2 alongside spices for additional flavor and heat.
You can reap the health benefits that salsa has to offer by using fresh and organically grown produce instead of canned vegetables (as much as possible, avoid canned salsa). You can have peace of mind knowing that these ingredients are healthy and fresh, without artificial flavorings or spices.
Think About Tomatoes for Improved Health
Juicy and organic tomatoes, which form the salsa’s base, are a good storehouse of:
- Vitamins A and C and B-complex vitamins
- Minerals like potassium, manganese and phosphorus
- Flavonoids and carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin
- Phytonutrients like flavonols, flavonones, hydroxycinnamic acids, glycosides and fatty acid derivatives
Research showed that a carotenoid antioxidant called lycopene in tomatoes can help lower a person’s stroke risk, compared to other antioxidants. Lycopene may also facilitate cell protection and shield skin from ultraviolet damage. Additional findings also highlighted lycopene’s ability to maintain bone density and decrease risk for diseases like osteoporosis, prostate or colorectal cancer and diabetes.3
Other positive effects linked to tomatoes include regulating blood pressure levels, supporting better heart health, minimizing constipation, improving eye and skin health and helping prevent defects in infants.4
Hot Jalapeno Peppers Can Help Boost Your Well-Being
Capsaicin, an active ingredient responsible for the peppers' pungent odor and burning sensation in your mouth, may help reduce the risk of breast cancer cell growth by activating olfactory receptors on the tumor cells called Transient Receptor Potential Channels (TRPV1).5 The researchers stimulated these cells by adding capsaicin to cell cultures for several hours to days. Afterwards, the cells not only began to slowly divide but also started dying in large numbers.6 Aside from this, adding chili peppers to meals can:7,8
Help with pain relief
Assist with weight loss
Deliver antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
Help enhance immunity
Aid with insulin level reduction
Protect the heart
Prevent sinusitis and relieving congestion
About Pete Evans
Pete Evans is an internationally renowned chef who has not only cooked for the general public, but he’s also cooked a royal banquet for the Prince and Princess of Denmark, a private dinner for Martha Stewart, and even represented his hometown at the gala GʼDay USA dinner for 600 in NYC.
Pete’s career has moved from the kitchen into the lounge room with many TV appearances including Lifestyle Channel’s Home show, Postcards from Home, FISH, My Kitchen Rules, and Moveable Feast.
Pete’s latest endeavor, The Paleo Way, is a vibrant health, weight management, and fitness program, tailored to a Paleo lifestyle. Its 10-week activation program teaches you the synergy between eating good food, moving your body every day, and looking at the positive sides and secrets to a healthier and happier life.
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