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How To Make the Perfect Blackened Salmon [Recipe]

This is one of my favorite new recipes, both for the flavor and for the teamwork it requires.  My wonderful boyfriend, Jameson, is always in charge of the blackened salmon itself.  We usually cook together, and this is one of our best dishes.  I’m highly sensitive to the massive amount of smoke that the cooking process creates, so I tend to shy away for that part.  Even taking the pictures of him cooking was difficult for me.  Normally he uses our outdoor grill, but it was already dark so we had to do it inside this time.  Fair warning to any of you who attempt it though, unless you have a high quality vent, I recommend cooking outdoors or disconnecting your fire alarm and bringing a fan into the kitchen.  Try not to suffocate, but it’s almost worth it!  That’s how good this is.  With no further delay, here is the method we use.

The dry rub mixture: paprika, cayenne, onion powder, salt, white and black pepper, and dried thyme, basil, and oregano.


The skinned salmon filets, brushed with butter and coated with the dry rub.
The fillets in a buttered cast iron.
Jameson, preparing to flip the filets. I was holding my breath for this picture. You can’t tell, but the smoke was powerful.
The center fillets were a little overcooked, but the outside ones were perfect.
We turned the heat off and let them cook like this for a couple minutes, so the inside could finish cooking without burning the exterior.
We’re bringing back aprons. This is me, chopping brussel sprouts. I had my ingredients laid out in front of me for convenience.
The brussel sprouts, with the ends cut off and halved. It’s easier to coat them by shaking them in a bowl.
I prefer to cook them face up, coated in olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and a little bit of lemon pepper. If I’m making this dish with Italian food, I use olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
The brussel sprouts, about halfway through the process.


We wanted to experiment a little with different plating styles. Guess what? Both ways were awesome.


The Moment You’ve Been Waiting For, The Recipes!

Blackened Salmon


  • 4 filets of salmon, skinned
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. unsalted cream butter
  • 2 Tbs. ground paprika
  • 1 Tbs. onion powder
  • 1 Tbs. ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. dried basil flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. ground thyme
  • Start by skinning the salmon fillets, unless you bought them pre-skinned.  This is easiest if the fillets are still partially frozen and you have a very sharp knife.
  • Next, measure out the dry rub mixture and melt some butter.  Lightly brush the fillets with butter, then cover both sides with a generous amount of the seasoning mixture.
  • Preheat a cast iron skillet to a high heat.  Add one tablespoon of butter.  Once the butter is completely melted and the entire skillet is covered, add the four salmon fillets.  If you don’t have adequate ventilation, the next part is going to be difficult, so brace yourself.
  • Cook the first side for 3-5 minutes, or until it has a dark crust.  Cook the second side for another 3-5 minutes, or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork.  If the temperature of the cast iron skillet gets too hot and the fish is cooking too quickly, remove it from the heat and cover it until they are cooked through.


Spicy Brussel Sprouts


  • 1 lb. organic brussel sprouts
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon pepper
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Thoroughly rinse the brussel sprouts in cold water.
  • Cut off the ends of each brussel sprout.  Make sure the hard white stem is completely removed.
  • Cut each brussel sprout in half.  The first layer or two will probably fall off, but that’s okay.  That layer tends to wilt in the oven.
  • In a large bowl, toss the brussel sprouts with the olive oil and seasonings.  The measurements are approximate, it really depends on how spicy and savory you like it.  I just put a generous pinch of salt, ground a good bit of pepper over it, and put a dash or two of lemon pepper.  I did measure the crushed red pepper, to make sure I didn’t make it too hot.
  • Spread the brussel sprouts on a foil-lined baking tray in a single layer, face up.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.  With about 5-7 minutes left, shake the tray so they can cook on the other side and get super crispy.
  • Serve hot!
  • If you want to try it with Italian food, cut the lemon pepper and drizzle the baking tray with a little balsamic vinegar instead.


Red Beans with Rice

I have a confession to make.  So far we have yet to make this part of the meal from scratch.  We use Zataran’s.  It goes perfectly with the salmon though!  I highly recommend it.
Until Jameson first made this dish for me, I was always scared to try blackened salmon.  To me, it just looked like fish that was burned and cooked too long.  I assumed it would be tough and tasteless.  I couldn’t have been more wrong if I tried.  This salmon is flaky, flavorful, and easy to make.  I hope you’ll give it a try yourself.  Be sure to let me know what you think!  Thanks everyone!


Libbi Duncan is our newest contributor on all things health and wellness. Her main blog, The Cornucopia Woman can be found here, where she lists her own personal recipes as well as progress on her very first novel! Give her a follow and read her updates here!

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