This chili-rubbed fish with watermelon salsa is the perfect light summer dish. The juicy watermelon, tart apples, and spicy jalapeno make the most delicious salsa to top this fish. I coat the fish in a blend of spices and brown sugar for a little kick and sweetness that pairs perfectly with the salsa.
What type of fish should I use?
After catching lingcod while fishing this past weekend, I was inspired to make this recipe using the lingcod. That said, lingcod can be tricky to find in stores. Halibut or any other sturdy, mild, white fish will work well. Halibut and lingcod are about 2-3 inches thick. Given that, know that the cook time will vary if you use a thinner fish. I recommend asking your fishmonger for suggestions close to halibut and lingcod if those are not available.
What should I serve with this dish?
I love serving this on top of your favorite grain. I like serving it on top of a bed of quinoa seasoned with salt and extra-virgin olive oil. It would be delicious served with white wine, rosé, or even rosé sangria. If you are making this for a dinner party, I'd recommend tzatziki with vegetables for an appetizer and strawberry cornflake crisp for dessert.
How can I prepare this fish with watermelon salsa ahead when serving guests?
The salsa can be made up to two hours ahead and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To really get ahead, dice the watermelon the day before and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
The spices can be mixed together pretty much as far in advance as you'd like, as spice blends typically can last several months when stored in an airtight container.
If you make this chili-rubbed fish with watermelon salsa, I'd love to know what you think in the comments below!
Chili-Rubbed Fish with Watermelon Salsa
- 1 cup finely diced seeded watermelon
- ½ cup finely diced green apple
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon finely diced seeded jalapeno add more or less to change spice level
- ⅛ teaspoon Kosher salt
Chili Rubbed Fish
- 4 filets of mild, sturdy white fish, such as lingcod or halibut about 5 oz. each
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon chili powder spice blend
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne optional, omit for less spice
- 2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.
- While oven is preheating, make the watermelon salsa by combining all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Taste and add more jalapeno if more heat is desired.
- Pat each fish filet dry with a paper towel and place fish on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Brush each filet with olive oil. In a small bowl, combine all spices. Evenly coat each filet with spice rub all over.
- Bake fish for 10-12 minutes, or until fish is fully cooked and flakes when a fork is slightly inserted and twisted.
- Serve fish with watermelon salsa on top. Dish is great served with your favorite grain, such as quinoa.
- See above for information regarding the type of fish to buy.