Blackened citrus salmon

Back in black

Originally appeared in the March 03, 2011 edition of the Southside Times.

Two words:  no sweat.

The backbone of this homemade blackened rub is a mix of paprika and cayenne.  Of course, the latter has a reputation for its palate-scorching heat, but what about good old paprika?  More after the jump:Sadly, in many households, paprika is relegated to being nothing more than a perfunctory decoration, making the occasional appearance as a garnish on some otherwise uninspired platter of deviled egg.  But the truth is that paprika—finely ground red pepper—is a prized and distinct spice, with Hungarian paprika often touted as being the highest quality.  So I’d encourage you to invest in some primo paprika, and pitch that old stuff that’s been losing its vibrancy in the back of your spice rack since Magnum PI was Thursday night’s number one show.  Same goes for the cayenne.

Now to the salmon.  Avoid using tail-end pieces; they’re typically thin, making them susceptible to drying out.  Plus, the center-cut salmon has more fat along the belly, which adds a crucial flavor element to the finished product.

This recipe is no chore; but if you do work up a sweat, my guess is that there’s something else to blame.  Namely, your new batch of blackened rub.

Blackened citrus salmon

Serves 2

  • 4, 6-ounce pieces of center-cut salmon, skin-on
  • As needed, canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Dry rub:

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves chopped
  • To taste, kosher salt and cracked back pepper

1.  In a bowl, stir together dry rub ingredients and then sprinkle on a plate.  Place salmon on dry rub, covering all sides and shaking off any excess.

2.  Over medium-high heat in a sauté pan or cast-iron skillet, pour a tablespoon of oil in pan.  When oil is heated, place salmon flesh-side down, rotating around to the skin so that all sides are seared and rub is aromatic.  When salmon is seared, place on a baking dish or sheet pan and finish in a 375°F oven.  Cook until salmon is firm to the touch.

3.  While salmon is finishing in the oven, add citrus juices and vinegar to sauté pan or skillet and allow to reduce over medium heat.  Serve as a light sauce with your salmon.

Published in: on March 3, 2011 at 5:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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