It’s hard to believe that we are in the middle of January and it has been warm enough to sit out on the deck and grill our dinner! On one hand we are wishing for some colder weather and snow as we are wanting hit the local slopes for a bit of skiing followed by an evening by the fireplace, however, our motto is to go with what we have, so soaking up the warmth of sunshine, we stoked up the grill and enjoyed this amazingly flavorful blackened salmon for dinner.
Making your own blackening spice mixture is so simple, it almost doesn’t make sense to buy the pre-made versions and the difference in the flavor is huge. I am a big fan of smoky paprika and find that it adds an incredibly complementary quality to the overall meal. Adding a little brown sugar to the mix also adds some complexity to the flavors. Make up a double batch of the seasoning and use it to spice up roasted or home-fried potatoes, chicken or meat dishes.
Cajun Blackened Salmon
1 tablespoon smoky paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon freshly chopped oregano leaves
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 (6 to 7-ounce) pieces salmon, pin bones removed, skin-on
3 to 4 tablespoons canola oil
In a small bowl, mix the smoky paprika, cayenne, oregano, brown sugar and salt. Sprinkle a heavy layer of the mixture on the flesh side of salmon pressing it firmly into the flesh. Allow to sit uncovered while you prepare the rest of the meal.
Heat a heavy-bottomed ovenproof pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat on the stove, or as we do, set cast iron pans on a rack over a charcoal grill, then add the oil. When the oil begins to smoke, carefully add the salmon, one at a time, in a single layer, flesh side down. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side.
I like to serve the salmon on creamy Yukon gold mashed potatoes with simple roasted veggies on the side.