Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with the lighter side of Mexican fare. Pan seared halibut with citrus salsa fresca.

When I think of Mexican food, my mind drifts to splendid visions of gooey cheese, but then I snap out of it and remember, “that’s Tex-Mex, you dummy.” If you go further south over the border, there are refreshing fish dishes along the coasts with fresh salsas instead of cheese, and inland you’ll find spicy, tender braised meats that don’t need anything but a squeeze of lime or pickled onions. Here’s a recipe that showcases Mexico’s coastal fare – just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

Pan Seared Halibut with Citrus Salsa Fresca

1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
¼ cup minced red onion
½ jalapeno, minced
1 tablespoon capers, minced
1 lime, juiced
½ naval orange, juiced
¼ cup minced cilantro
1 tablespoon minced mint
1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
4, 6-ounce pieces of halibut or swordfish

In a medium bowl, combine the halved grape tomatoes, minced red onion, jalapeno, capers, lime and orange juices, cilantro, mint, ½ teaspoon salt, black pepper, oregano, and olive oil. Stir to combine and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Season the fish with 1 teaspoon salt then heat the oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Place the fish skin-side-down in the pan so that none of the fish is touching one another. Cook for 4 minutes on each side (for pieces that are about ¾”-thick), then remove to a plate and cover with foil for 2 minutes.

Top the fish with the salsa fresca and serve.