Zest and juice of 1 small limeabout 1/2 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice
1/2teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
Steamed cauliflower riceoptional for serving
FOR THE AVOCADO SALSA:
2ripe avocadospeeled, pitted, and cut into a rough dice
Juice of 1 limeabout 1 1/2 tablespoons
4–6dashes hot sauceto taste
1clovegarlicfinely minced or grated
1/4teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
2tablespoonsfinely chopped fresh cilantroplus additional for serving
1medium tomatoseeded and small-diced, or 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Arrange the salmon fillets in the center of the sheet.
In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Drizzle and brush generously over the salmon. (You will have some run off and down the sides, but brush what you can onto the fish.) Let the salmon stand at room temperature for 10 minutes while the oven finishes preheating.
Bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork and reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F, about 16 to 20 minutes.* Cover and let rest 3 minutes.
While the salmon bakes, prepare the avocado salsa: In a large bowl, stir together the avocado, lime juice, hot sauce, garlic, salt, pepper, and cilantro. With a fork, gently crush pieces of the avocado and stir. You want them to break down a little and make the salsa creamy, but you should have plenty of chunkiness remaining. Stir in the tomatoes. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Transfer the salmon to serving plates. Serve hot, topped with avocado salsa and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.
*The cooking time will vary based upon the thickness of your salmon. Thicker (2-inch-plus) slices will need several extra minutes, while thinner slices may cook more quickly. My salmon fillets were a little more than 1 inch thick and cooked in 18 minutes.
This recipe is best enjoyed the day that it is made, as salmon usually dries out when reheated. If you have leftover salmon, try serving it room temperature over a salad the next day or flaking and scrambling it with eggs.