Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cajun Salmon

Good news! Salmon is super fast to cook and doesn't really need a whole lot of work to be delicious. I usually just cook salmon with a small pad of butter and a bunch of garlic. Today I tried something a little more involved to help shake up my routine a little bit.

Here is what you need:

From Cajun Salmon
Back Row: Chili powder (called an audible and didn't use it), Garlic Powder (0.05), Paprika (0.05), Cayenne Pepper (0.05), Black Pepper, an 8 oz salmon steak (2.02), and a pad of butter (0.10). That's a total of 2.27 for the protein portion of the meal.

Begin by melting the butter over low heat.

Add the salmon steak and move the heat up just a little to medium-low. You don't want to burn the ingredients as this will make them bitter. You also don't want to risk oxidizing any good fats that are present.

From Cajun Salmon

Here is a picture of my opinion of medium-low heat:

From Cajun Salmon

Lay down a liberal amount of paprika. Paprika adds a smoky flavor, but isn't particularly strong. This layer will form a delicious crust once we flip the salmon and fry it in the butter.

Put some cayenne pepper in one palm and sprinkle two pinches evenly over the salmon. You'll need about a tenth of what I actually poured into my palm in this picture.

Finally, cover the paprika and cayenne with garlic powder. After about 3 minutes, it will be time to flip the salmon.

When you flip the salmon, give it the same seasoning on the opposite side. After 3 minutes, flip it back to help form a seasoning crust on the other side.

Remove the salmon when you're happy with the Cajun crust and finish it off by pouring the butter and fish oil that was released over the top. There is a lot of flavor in there. You can add some black pepper at this point if you want.
It should look something like this.

I like to eat my salmon with a wedge of fresh lime to squeeze on top. A lot more people prefer lemon, but the citric acid from either fruit will help cut through the fat and give the fish a whole new dimension of flavor. My side dish was collards with bacon, but I wasn't happy with how they turned out, so I'm going to tweak the recipe and get back to all of you on that one.

The total cooking time is about 10 minutes, so this is a standby for me when I'm in a rush. I suggest buying a bunch of salmon steaks in bulk and freezing them as they thaw quite well without any serious drawbacks.


rsg said...


Dave said...

@rsg Thanks - Let me know if you try it.

ToddBS said...

Looks tasty. I have to say though, I can't find salmon in my area for $4/lb.

gayleisrael said...

Here's another great blackened salmon recipe: Coat your salmon piece in Chef Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Redfish Magic Seasoning blend - available at grocery or specialty grocery stores, or at
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat a cast iron skillet on the stovetop over high heat until it starts smoking. Put a little butter in the skillet and then sear the salmon for about two minutes on each side. Then place the whole skillet in the oven for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon. I put another pat of butter on top before placing in the oven - it melts into the top of the fish. Guaranteed to be the best blackened salmon you ever tasted.

Paleotron said...

@ToddBS I'll admit that I'm pretty lucky to find some great food at cheap prices around Chicago. I'll also admit that the $4/lb salmon is farm raised which is not ideal, but when you're on a budget, your options can be limited.

Arno Wingen said...

I just cooked this (still have to do the dishes as I write this).

Great recipe. Taste was balanced, not too strong, just right. The crust was great and the salmon turned out perfect, even though I cooked it for about 2 minutes longer than it says in the recipe. But I had some thick salmon slabs, so that could be the reason.


Paleotron said...

@Arno I'm glad it turned out really well for you. Cooking times are always tough to generalize, especially when the thickness of cuts can vary. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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Sandra said...

Looking forward to making this tonight! I will let you know how I make out, thanks for sharing it Dave!

Sandra said...

Dave, I made this and it was very good, I will definitely be making it again, thank you! One thing though, you never mentioned in the recipe when to use the chili powder? I used it after all the other spices and it worked out well. Also, heed his warning and do not put the heat too high as it will smoke and/or burn, cooking times vary according to the thickness of the salmon so just use common sense :)

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