Make the tastiest Sumac Blackened Salmon with homemade seasoning! Cook it in a cast-iron skillet for a crispy, Sumac-spiced crust and tender, flaky fish.
We love making blackened salmon in a pan; it's easy and tastes incredible with the blackening seasoning. Salmon is mild, so it pairs well with bold seasonings like this.
To save time, you can prep the seasoning mix ahead. Store it in an airtight glass container in a cool, dry place until you're ready to cook.
😍 Why You'll Love This Blackened Salmon Recipe
- Bold Flavor: Sumac adds a zesty, tangy kick to your salmon.
- Crispy Crust: Achieve a perfectly crispy, blackened crust.
- Quick and Easy: Ready in no time, perfect for busy days.
- Simple Ingredients: Minimal fuss, maximum flavor.
- Healthful: Salmon's rich in omega-3s and protein.
What Does Blackened Mean?
"Blackened" refers to a cooking technique where food, often fish or meat, is cooked in a hot skillet or oven with a combination of spices and herbs. The high heat quickly sears the outer layer, creating a flavorful and often slightly charred crust. This technique is commonly associated with Cajun cuisine and results in a rich, smoky, and spicy flavor profile. The term "blackened" comes from the dark, black appearance of the outer layer of the food due to the searing process.
✅ Ingredients & Substitutions
- Salmon Fillet: You can use salmon fillets with or without the skin. Other fish like trout or snapper can be used as substitutes.
- Paprika: Paprika adds a mild smokiness and color. You can use regular paprika or smoked paprika for a deeper smoky flavor, or even hot paprika if you prefer more heat.
- Ground Sumac: Sumac is a key ingredient in this recipe, providing a unique tangy and citrusy flavor. It's essential for the distinctive taste. There's no direct substitute for sumac, so try to include it if possible.
- Garlic powder and onion powder: These powders are handy when you can't use the fresh ones.
- Thyme and oregano: Use dried herbs instead of fresh because of the direct heat. Dried herbs are stronger, and crushing them in your hand makes them even more flavorful.
- Sea Salt: Sea salt enhances the overall flavor. You can use kosher salt or regular table salt as a substitute.
- Cayenne Pepper: It adds heat. Adjust the amount to suit your spice preference. You can also use crushed red pepper flakes or omit it for a milder version.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Olive oil helps the seasoning adhere to the salmon. You can substitute it with other cooking oils like vegetable or canola oil.
- Butter: Butter adds richness and helps create a flavorful crust. You can use ghee as a substitute or skip it for a lighter option.
- Lemon Wedges: Fresh lemon juice adds a bright and zesty element. Lime wedges can be used as a substitute.
- Flat-Leaf Parsley (Optional): Chopped parsley adds a fresh, herbal garnish. You can omit it if you prefer or substitute with cilantro.
🔪 How To Make Blackened Salmon
Get the salmon ready. Put it on a plate with the skin side down and use a paper towel to pat it dry.
Make the salmon rub. In a small bowl, combine all the spices.
Pour olive oil over the salmon. Massage the spice mixture onto the salmon, ensuring it's fully covered. Don't hold back; the seasoning will create a flavorful crust as it cooks!
Warm your skillet over medium heat. Aim for a skillet that doesn't produce smoke but is hot enough to create a flavorful spice crust on the fish's flesh side. Add olive oil to the pan; either a non-stick or cast-iron skillet works. When the oil shimmers, put the salmon with the flesh side down and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Flip the fillets and add butter. Keep cooking over medium heat until the skin gets crispy, and the fish flakes easily with a fork, which takes about another 5-6 minutes. Here's where the magic happens! Occasionally, tilt the pan, scoop up the melted butter with a spoon, and drizzle it over the blackened salmon.
Move the salmon to the serving plates, give the fillets a light squeeze of lemon juice, and if you're in the mood, add some parsley for garnish.
👨🍳 Tips for Perfect Blackened Fish
- Keep the salmon's skin on! Use salmon fillets with the skin on for a delicious crispy texture. The fat under the skin holds lots of nutrients.
- Heat the pan first! Make sure the pan gets hot before you put in the salmon. It should sizzle when you add it.
- Don't move the fish while it cooks! Once it's in the pan, let it cook without touching it until it's time to flip. After flipping, leave it alone while it sears.
- Let it rest before serving! Give the salmon a few minutes to rest before eating. This allows the juices that squeezed out during cooking to spread evenly in the meat.
❓ Recipe FAQs
Sumac is a spice with a tangy, lemony flavor. It adds a unique and zesty twist to the traditional blackened salmon seasoning, giving the dish a bright and flavorful profile.
If you don't have sumac, you can try using lemon zest or a combination of lemon juice and paprika to mimic its citrusy flavor.
It's a matter of preference. You can leave the skin on for cooking, and it will help hold the fillets together. Some people prefer to remove the skin after cooking for easier consumption.
The time to cook salmon can change based on how thick it is and how well you like it cooked. To be sure it's done, use a thermometer. Salmon is safe at 145°F, but if you want it a bit pink in the middle, go for 125°F to 135°F.
Blackened salmon pairs wonderfully with a variety of side dishes. You can keep it simple with options like rice or quinoa along with a fresh green salad. If you're looking to add more depth, consider serving it with roasted vegetables such as asparagus, zucchini, or cauliflower, which are always crowd-pleasers.
Storing: Put any leftover salmon in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
Reheating: You can warm it up in the microwave, but it'll be less dry if you heat it on the stove. Use low heat for 5-7 minutes with a bit of extra oil. Don't heat it too long to keep it from getting too dry.
Freezing: If you want to freeze it, use a flat freezer-safe container or wrap it in plastic and put it in a freezer bag. You can enjoy the salmon for up to 4 months after freezing. Just remember to thaw it in the fridge overnight before reheating.
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