Blackened Salmon with Rice Salad – One of the Hubby’s Birthday Dinners

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This post contains an affiliate link. I received free product from Anderson Seafoods. All opinions are my own.

Happy Easter to all who celebrate! Around here we don’t have an Easter bunny, we have an Easter goat – so Alex the goat sends out his greetings. Maaaings?

Whatever – he is enjoying the sunshine that has decided to visit, not to mention some grazing time with his herd. My weed control experts are on the job!

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I mentioned earlier in the week that the hubby was getting two birthday dinners – he is a lucky man! This is the first. He had to work on his birthday so I didn’t have time to really fuss and he wouldn’t have time to sit and really enjoy a meal as he was in the office all day, running home for dinner and then out again for a meeting. I still wanted to give him something I wouldn’t ordinarily make so I pulled some salmon out of the freezer. I asked him how he wanted me to cook it and he went way back in time and asked for me to make it blackened. And so I did….

Since blackened salmon carries so much heat I decided it would need a cooling side dish. He adores rice so I made a nice rice salad with some pickled carrots and fruit which gave balance to the heat on the fish.

Blackened Salmon
Rice Salad with Apples, Pickled Carrots and Raisins

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Serves 1

1 6 oz chinook salmon filet
1 tsp unsalted butter
1 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS salt
1 TBS paprika
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cumin

For the rice salad:

3/4 cup prepared brown rice
1/4 cup chopped apple
1/4 cup chopped pickled carrot
3 TBS raisins
1 TBS olive oil
2 TBS pickling liquid or vinegar of choice
salt and pepper

Make the spice rub for the salmon by mixing the brown sugar, salt, paprika, cayenne and cloves in a small bowl. This will make more than you need for one filet so you can save what you don’t use for another time.

Heat a cast iron fry pan over medium high heat. You need a HOT pan and a good ventilation system to make this meal.

While the pan is heating cover the salmon thoroughly on both sides with the spice rub. You can also make the rice salad as it will take some time for the pan to really heat up ’til it’s hot enough.

If you don’t have pickled carrots you can do a quick pickle on plain carrots by mixing vinegar and water with a little bit of sugar ( equal parts vinegar and water say 1 cup and 1/4 cup sugar) and heating up this mixture ’til the sugar melts. Add it to the cut carrots and let it sit for about half an hour. Cut the pieces in the same size. Make the vinaigrette by mixing the pickling liquid with the oil and whisking until it emulsifies. Taste and adjust for taste with salt and pepper.

Warm up the rice slightly in the microwave – you don’t want it steaming hot, just warm – and add the apples, carrots and raisins. Gently mix together and then dress with the vinaigrette. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.  Set aside.

When the cast iron pan is H.O.T. add the teaspoon of butter. It will sizzle, pop and smoke. MAKE SURE YOUR FAN IS ON. YOU ARE GOING TO NEED IT. Immediately drop the salmon in the pan. Let it cook for 2 – 4 minutes depending on the thickness of your filet. I have found that this recipe works best with the thinner filets as shown in my photo. The thicker ones need to be finished in the oven or they will burn, not blacken. There is definitely a difference. Flip the filet and cook it for the same amount of time on the other side. When the fish is done remove it to a plate with paper towels to drain.

Serve it with the rice salad.

Hubby was just thrilled with this first birthday dinner. He loved the heat on the fish and the rice salad gave the balance I was looking for. It’s an old fashioned way of cooking to be sure but it made him happy and that’s what mattered to me. The fish was nice and moist inside and the spices played very well with the delicious salmon from Anderson Seafoods. They always have the most delicious fish – I have never been disappointed in anything I have gotten from them.

In fact, his second dinner was soft shell crabs which I purchased from Anderson. I will be showing that meal in a couple of days.

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