Blackening is a cooking technique associated with Cajun cuisine and usually used in the preparation of fish. The fish is typically brushed with butter before being heavily coated in a mixture of dried herbs and spices. The fillet is then introduced to a very hot cast-iron skillet. This results in a tell-tale golden black crust that carries all the flavor of the spice mix with warm notes of browned butter and a hint of char. Here salmon fillets are blackened and paired with a sweet, savory, and fiery fruit salsa featuring Ontario-grown nectarines and blue grapes.
- Nectarine Blue Grape Salsa
- 2 Ontario-grown nectarines, diced
- 1 cup Ontario-grown blue grapes
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1-2 jalapeños, quartered and sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- Blackened Salmon Fillets
- 1 ½ tsp paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp cayenne
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 4 salmon fillets
- Salt and pepper, for sprinkling
- Neutral oil for frying
- For the Salsa:
- Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- For the Salmon:
- Place the paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, and cayenne in a bowl. Whisk to combine and set it aside.
- Place the salmon fillets on a plate and pat them dry. Brush both sides of the salmon with the butter and season the fillets with salt and pepper. Then heavily coat the flesh side of the fillets with the spice mixture. Set the salmon aside.
- Pour about a ½” of neutral oil, I used canola, into a large cast-iron skillet. Heat the oil over medium high heat until very hot. Add the salmon fillets flesh-side-down and fry for 3 minutes. Try not to disturb the salmon during this time, it may tear the crust.
- Once a dark crust has formed, flip the salmon and reduce the temperature to medium-low. Cook the salmon skin-side-down for an additional 3 minutes or until the fish readily flakes.
- Transfer the salmon filets to a plate and top with the Nectarine Blue Grape Salsa. Garnish with a lime wheel and additional fresh cilantro if desired. Serve immediately.
Recipe by Susan