When you see a perfectly cooked piece of salmon with a blackened top, how the chef does it? It is quite easy to make a blackened salmon – so read below for an explanation.Jump to Recipe
Cooking fish can be intimidating to some and I know it took me a little while to get the hang of it. The key to cooking fish is having an even temperature during cooking. So many chefs and restaurants will sear the fish to begin with and finish it off in the oven for an even temperature and doneness. For a good explanation of cooking crispy skin salmon that I picked in my MASTERCLASS from THOMAS KELLER of the renowned French Laundry, see the below link.
Now I researched a number of online recipes for blackening salmon so I could find the commonalities in how people prepared the fish. The only distinctions I found was whether to do a dry or wet rub. The most common preparation is a dry rub. I, however, chose to do a wet rub. I will explain why. Both methods involve a good mixture of spices including paprika, onion & garlic powder, thyme and oregano as your base. The wet rub mixes the spices in oil. By using the wet method, I let the fish marinate in the rub for 15 minutes and up to an hour. So I feel the flavor gets a chance to penetrate into the fish.
The cooking method for each preparation is the same. Depending on the thickness of the salmon, there are two ways to cook it. For thinner salmon like coho or copperhead, for 3 – 4 minutes per side should be adequate. For a thicker cut, searing for 1 – 2 minutes per side and finishing in a 325 degree oven for 8 – 10 minutes produces the best results. In both cases, I prefer a cast iron skillet. It needs to get pretty hot, just to the point of smoking, before putting in the fish. Make sure your oil also has a chance to heat up until shimmering. Do be careful, not to get the pan to hot – if the oil is splattering before putting the fish in, let the pan cool a little before starting. Put the fish in and do not touch it. Take the spatula and push down on the fish to make sure the flesh is in good contact with the pan. Repeat the process on the second side. Let the fish rest for a couple of minutes when removed from the skillet.
The cast of characters.
How to make blackened salmon plated.
How to make Blackened Salmon
Making blackened salmon is quite easy if you follow a few basic steps in the cooking. Make sure your pan and oil are good and hot.
- 3 6 ounce Salmon fillets – skin on
- 3 Tbsp Canola oil
- 2 Tbsp Blackening rub
- 1 Tbsp Seafood rub
- 1 Tbsp Butter
Begin by mixing the oil and spices in a dish. Pat dry the salmon fillets. Place the fillets in the spice mixture and coat liberally. Leave the fish to marinate flesh side down.
Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
After 30 minutes, heat the cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp of the marinade to the skillet, and once shimmering, add the salmon flesh side down. Cook for 2 minutes or so – you are looking for a good blackening. Add the rest of the marinade to the skillet with the butter. Flip the fish over and add to the oven. After 8 minutes, put the skillet back on the stovetop. Spoon the marinade butter mixture over the salmon for 1 – 2 minutes.
Let the fish rest for 2 minutes. Serve over polenta and topped with Cajun spiced peppers and onions. Enjoy!
A good video showing the wet rub concept from Billy Parisi – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjYm9lG4oDE&t=552s