Updated on 1/17/2013: This is an old post that I have revamped.
I have found another excellent use of cast iron skillets—this recipe for blackened, skillet-cooked salmon. My skillet has an wonderful aroma. Really. Not fishy, just extremely well-seasoned with oils and spices. I’ve come close to licking the surface to get every last bit of flavor.
Several times a year I buy a piece of salmon to fuel my body with some naturally-occurring omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is loaded with these healthy fats that potentially guard against or lessen a host of conditions, including heart disease, depression, cancer, inflammation, and arthritis. If you’re on the hunt for other sources of omega-3 fats, try other marine foods as well as plant foods like walnuts, spinach, flax seed and its oil.
If you have a large skillet, you can cook both salmon fillets at the same time. If you’re doubling or tripling this recipe you’ll need to cook the fillets in batches. For a large gathering I suggest cutting the fillets ahead of time and then cooking them in batches and storing them on a warm plate in a warm area, or cover them until all the fillets are cooked.
I can eat these with a small bed of greens, some dressing and a wedge of lemon. For a more substantial meal try adding mashed roasted cauliflower, steamed veggies, coleslaw, squash fries, or root fries. Prepare any of these sides ahead of time since the salmon cooks in 5 to 10 minutes.
Blackened SalmonIf you don’t like too much heat, you can reduce the amount of cayenne pepper in this recipe. I use whichever salmon is in season, sustainable, and wild. You can leave the skin on and eat it, but if you’re not into the skin you can either slice it off before cooking the salmon, or leave it on because the salmon easily separates from the skin once it’s cooked.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, ghee, or oil
- 2 6-ounce salmon fillets (no bones, skin on)
- Combine all the spices and seasonings in a large shallow bowl or plate, and blend well.
- Coat the salmon fillets fully with olive oil and then dip them in the bowl of spices to coat the fillets. Coat all sides.
- Warm a skillet on a medium heat and add the butter or oil to it.
- Place the salmon fillets in the skillet with the skin side up and cook for a few minutes to blacken the bottom.
- Flip the fillets over to blacken the skin side. When the flesh is turning a lighter color but still a bit pink in the middle and the layers are just beginning to flake, it’s done.