Every red-fleshed fish lover should know how to make blackened salmon. A beautiful char appears on the surface of the fish with a help of a special cooking technique and a blackening spice blend. You can use blackened salmon anywhere you like but I want to offer you a delicious spinach & orange salad!
You won’t find a bigger salmon fan than me. Uh-uh. When I’m in a restaurant I always order salmon. My favorite sandwiches are the ones made with salmon. When I am fed up with all the food in the world there is still one thing I am happy to see on my plate… Salmon. If not for the price, I would have it on a daily basis. 3 times a day.
Considering my deep love for this fish, it’s funny that I tried blackened salmon for the first time in my life only a few weeks ago. I might have heard something about it some time ago, but it was left unnoticed by me. My initial thoughts were “so people are burning food intentionally now… strange”. If it weren’t for a friend of mine, I don’t know if I would ever find out that “blackened” doesn’t mean “burnt” at all! That famous char on the surface of salmon appears with a help of a special cooking technique in combination with a flavorful Cajun-style spice blend.
Today you can find a special blackening seasoning on supermarket shelves but it’s easily doable at home. Just mix kosher salt, paprika, dried thyme, ground black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and ground white pepper and you are good to go! I have fallen in love with this spice blend. The flavor is amazing!
Ok, you have a seasoning on hand, how to make blackened salmon with it? Everything is pretty easy, my dear friend. You just need a large, heavy skillet (cast iron is the best option), a few tablespoons vegetable oil, and that’s it! Now just heat the oil until smoking hot, coat the fish with the spice mix, and throw it in the skillet. Easy peasy. Cook for 3 minutes on one side and 3 more on the other one, and voila – your blackened salmon is ready! Keep in mind that there can be some smoke, so turn your exhaust fan on high or open a window.
As for the ways to use it, there are plenty of options. The most obvious one – you can just stuff the blackened salmon into your face without any side at all. Brutally. It will still be crazy delicious because of all the spices. Or you can make tacos. Or… Let me offer you a recipe for a fantastic salad featuring our article’s hero, spinach, red onion, bell pepper, oranges, and a gorgeous dressing. I’m telling you, guys, it’s something! I would have never thought about pairing salmon with oranges but after the very first bite, I was sold.
This salad can be easily served as a main-course meal. Considering the ease of preparation, it’s a perfect weeknight dinner! I hope this post taught you how to blacken salmon and showed you the advantages of this cooking technique. If you love this red-fleshed fish as much as I do, try it! Oh, and the salad. I will repeat it numerous times in the future. No doubt about it.
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 4 skinless boneless salmon fillets (6 oz. or 170g each)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 oz. (170g) baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 red bell pepper , sliced
- 2 navel oranges , peeled, white pith removed, cut into pieces
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
- ground pepper , taste
Mix all the spices together.
Coat each salmon fillet with 1/4 of the spice blend.
In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over high heat until almost smoking hot. Place the salmon fillets (don't overcrowd) and cook for about 3 minutes on one side until they blacken. If the salmon is blackening too quickly, reduce the heat. Turn the fish and cook for 3 minutes more, until almost opaque. Transfer to a plate.
In a big bowl, place the spinach, onion, bell pepper, and oranges.
To make a dressing, combine all the ingredients in small jar with a lid. Shake to blend.
Pour the dressing over the veggies and toss. Top with the salmon fillet. Enjoy!
Salad adapted from Salmon: A Cookbook by Diane Morgan