Pan-roasted salmon filets are a healthy, easy weeknight dinner. Rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and minerals, wild salmon is considered a superfood. (Note that wild salmon are considered healthier than farmed salmon, which are raised in hatcheries on artificial diets.)
While salmon’s buttery and oily richness is part of its allure, try balancing it out with a blackening spice blend. Blackened seasoning is a laundry list of dry spices that packs flavor into a rub for fish and meat. The seasoning is influenced by Cajun and Creole cuisine, with a blend of chiles, such as paprika and cayenne, dehydrated and dried onion and garlic, and herbs, such as thyme and oregano. The mix can vary as well as the heat, so it’s easy to adjust to your taste and the contents of your spice cabinet.
The spices form a charred crust when seared in a hot skillet or on the grill, hence the name blackened. Serve the salmon as is or top with a sweet and citrusy salsa. In this recipe, a juicy mango salsa cools and complements the savory spicy rub for a perfectly balanced bite.
When you make a spice blend, consider making a large batch to keep on hand. It’s a wonderful flavoring agent to sprinkle over other meats, fish and vegetables.
Blackened Salmon With Mango Salsa
Active time: 25 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Yield: Serves 4
1 ripe but not mushy mango, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded, diced
1 small poblano pepper, seeded, finely diced
1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
4 center-cut, skin-on, salmon filets, each about 6 ounces, pin-bones removed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Lime wedges for serving
Combine the salsa ingredients in a bowl. Stir to blend, then taste for seasoning. Set aside to let the flavors develop while you prepare the salmon, stirring occasionally.
Combine the blackened seasoning ingredients in a small bowl.
Lightly brush the salmon with oil. Evenly season the flesh of the salmon with the spices, pressing gently to adhere.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet, preferably cast iron, until it begins to shimmer.
Turn on the exhaust fan. Carefully arrange the salmon filets, skin-side up, in the skillet. Cook, undisturbed, until the fish is blackened and releases easily from the skillet with a spatula, about 4 minutes, rotating the pan to ensure even cooking. Flip the salmon and continue to cook until the salmon is cooked through and the skin is crispy (or to your desired doneness), about 4 minutes more for medium, depending on the thickness of the fish.
Transfer the salmon to serving plates. Serve with the salsa and lime wedges.
CAPTIONS AND CREDITS
Caption 01: Photo by Lynda Balslev for TasteFood