Blackened Salmon

I absolutely love salmon. It’s probably one of my favorite fish to cook. Only a few years ago was I completely unaware of how to cook salmon, always stressed about which side to lay down first, but now I cook it constantly. I got a cast iron skillet last year, so now I love to cook blackened salmon in the skillet. It allows for the salmon to get a nice crust, and the skin gets nice and crispy too. Not to mention that it is so easy to make. You basically put the salmon in the pan, let the skillet work its magic, then flip it and repeat.

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You don’t even need to go out and buy blackened seasoning. You can easily make it at home with spices that you probably already have in your cabinet. There is enough of the blackened seasoning leftover when you’re done seasoning the salmon. I like to put it in an air-tight container and use it the next time I make this salmon. The blackened seasoning really gives the salmon a little kick and creates a beautiful crust on the salmon.

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Recipe

For the blackened seasoning (this is enough to make at least 4 pieces of salmon):

  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt, or garlic powder (I like using the garlic salt)
  • 1.5 tbsp paprika

For the salmon:

  • 3 to 4 tbsp of canola oil
  • Your desired size & amount of salmon
    • I used 2 8-10 oz cuts of salmon, but you can obviously choose to make whatever size salmon you’d like. The seasoning will be enough to make at least 4 pieces of 8-10 oz salmon.
  • Lemon zest, for garnish

Instructions

  • Mix all the ingredients together for the blackened seasoning (black pepper, basil, oregano, cayenne pepper, thyme, onion powder, garlic salt, paprika).
  • Coat the salmon with the blackened seasoning mix on the flesh side only (not the skin).
  • Preheat a large cast iron skillet (or a heavy bottomed pan if you don’t have a cast iron skillet) on the stove over medium heat. Once it is heated, add enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan. It is important to use canola oil because it has a high heat point.
  • Heat the canola oil in the pan until it starts creating some smoke. Once the oil starts to smoke, turn the heat off and add the salmon to the pan flesh-side down. Only add enough salmon to the pan so that none of it is overlapping.
  • Turn the heat back up to medium heat. Allow the salmon to cook flesh-side down for 2-3 minutes. I recommend that every so often you shift the salmon in the pan to make sure it is not sticking.
  • Flip the salmon over so that it is skin-side down and cook for another 5-6 minutes. This allows the skin to crisp up.  It is best to cook the salmon to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember, salmon will continue to cook a bit even when it is removed from the heat source.
  • If you have more cuts of salmon that did not fit into the pan, repeat the same process. It will more than likely not be necessary to add more canola oil to the pan.
  • Remove the salmon from the skillet and plate it. Enjoy!

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A note on the sides:

  • For the spinach: bring a pot of water to a boil, add fresh spinach to the pot, and let boil for 3-5 minutes (until soft). Strain the spinach, add butter and your favorite seasoning (I use Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning).
  • For the mashed sweet potatoes: peel and cut sweet potato into cubes, then put into a pot of boiling water. Let boil for 10-15 minutes (until you are able to easily poke the sweet potatoes with a fork). Strain the potatoes, mash with a fork or potato masher, add butter and cinnamon.
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