I do a play on a Vietnamese style fish dipping sauce (nuoc mam), and its always a crowd pleaser when I prepare whole grilled or fried fish.
1- Fresh young coconut
1- Tbs fish sauce
1- Tbs sugar
1- Whole fresno pepper finely chopped (de seeded and membrane removed)
3- whole cloves garlic smashed and finely chopped
3- stalks of green onion chopped
Optional - Pickled carrots shredded or julianed (little less then 1/4 cup)
Heat coconut water in a small pan and combine sugar until dissolved. Pour into serving bowl and let cool. Combine rest of the ingredients and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours for best results. Taste and adjust amount of sugar or fish sauce if necessary.
wild salmon pairs nicely with mushrooms, either sauteed in butter or as a scoop of duxelles over the top. duxelles freezes beautifully, so make a batch and portion it out for later uses. romesco and pesto also freeze well for uses like this.
my quickest sauce is asian sambal mixed with mayo and a bit of sesame oil.
sorry, but i won't go near tilapia.
Pesto is nice on salmon, you can thin with olive oil.
I also like a simple mustard sauce -- pan juices, some dijon mustard, a bit of butter or good olive oil, some herb of your choice.
Another thing I like with salmon is to saute some shallot or onion, add some chopped black olives and chopped prunes, then the pan juices from the fish and a bit of butter. This is good if you like the sweet/salty combo but maybe want to get away from the Asian sauces. (Tho' I also love the Asian sauces.)
I am in the same boat as you as my new year's resoulution is to cook more seafood. So far, I have tried a few recipes this year. The following two sauce recipes are ridiculously easy and passed my taste test. Hopefully, they will pass yours too! (Please let me know how you find them)
Spicy Garlic Sauce (It's spicy so you may want to adjust red pepper accordingly)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves (crushed with the side of a knife)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon steak seasoning (Montreal Seasoning by McCormick is recommended)
1 teaspoon lemon, zest of
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Honey Ginger Sauce (I had this on salmon, marinate for 15-30 mins, then baste while cooking)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup honey
Salmon responds to almost any sauce that might float your boat. Favorites here are teriyaki, hollaindaise, & bearnaise.
For the latter two, there's no need to make them from scratch at first. Supermarkets carry both Knorr & McCormick sauce packets for both, & both are nice. Just tweak the Hollandaise with some fresh lemon juice &/or the Bearnaise with some fresh chopped tarragon. I always keep both on hand for impromptu sauces, & never feel like I'm cheating - lol!
I like a portuguese fisherman stew type sauce - either poured onto the fish or cook the fish in it.
saute onion/celery/pepper, add paprika, bay leaf
deglaze with white wine
add canned clams and broth
Theres another oriental-like, chili-type sauce I like. Again, pour on fish or cook the fish in it
sweat 1/2C rough chopped ginger with 1/2C rough chop garlic and 1/2C fine chop onion
Add chicken broth and handful of crushed chili flakes
stir in a can of tomato paste
mix well, simmer
My go-to for mild white flesh fish is a Veracruz sauce, of which there are many interpretations. Sautee onion, garlic, and a poblano or jalapeno, fold in a couple mashed peeled roma tomatoes, capers, sliced green olives, and a few golden raisins. Goes well with shrimp, also.
Melt some butter and add some chopped shallots along with some grated ginger. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, at a temperature low enough to prevent the butter from burning. Add a splash of wine that pairs well with your fish and reduce by half, strain. Drizzle the sauce over each serving when plating or puddle alongside, depending on your plating configuration.
It's even pretty good on Tilapia.
I am very fond of teriyaki and other soy based sauces. Good soy sauce, a little brown sugar, a little lemon or rice vinegar, finely chopped garlic and ginger, brush over the fish a before and a few times during broiling. Course you can find about a zillion variations if you search.