Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Recipe: Baked Cajun Salmon

I'm not a big fan of fish & neither is Pat. Salmon is the only kind we'll get on a regular basis. Our families never served salmon (mostly because they can catch fresh fish instead) so when I bought some fillets for the first time, I turned to a friend on Etsy (debralinker) for a basic how-to. I'm only calling this "Cajun" because I make up a cayenne & black pepper spice mix. So really it should be "Amanda's Spicy Salmon" ... but that just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Baked Cajun Salmon


salmon fillets, with the skin
Cajun spice mix (or your favourite spice mix), 1 - 2 tbsp per fillet
soy sauce
1 tbsp oil


1. First find some fresh salmon fillets. Fillets are cut along the skin whereas steaks are cut through the fish (so that the skin is all around the edges, with a horseshoe shape). We want fillets so that when we bake it, we can put the skin down to prevent the meat from sticking. Give them a rinse & place them in a dish large enough to hold all your fillets (not piled up on top of each other).

2. If you don't have a spice mix, make one. I use a mix of cayenne, black & chili peppers, cumin, coriander, garlic salt & whatever else strikes my fancy (this time I grabbed hot red pepper & jalapeno flakes, thyme & seasoned salt). Make about 1-2 tbsp per fillet. I just throw in a bit of everything until I have about enough.

3. Rub the spice mix into each fillet. Just the fleshy part.

4. Turn the fillets flesh-side down.Add soy sauce until you have about 1/4" - 1/2" covering the bottom of the dish. Make sure to dump the soy sauce over the fish & that there's enough to soak the fillets. Allow them to sit for 10-15 minutes, while you start to prepare the rest of your meal. This will help remove the fishy taste from the salmon & keep them moist while baking. You can also include a few tbsp of lemon juice if you like.

5. Preheat oven to 350F.

6. Heat a tbsp of oil (any oil will do - I used sunflower this time) in a frying pan on medium-hot. Let the pan get hot before putting in the fillets flesh-side down (skin-side up). Fry them for about 2 minutes - just to give them a bit of colour & crispness. Don't cook them all the way through. You can see that the skinnier edge of this fillet ended up pretty much done - that's ok, but if your fillets aren't very thick, reduce the frying time to 1 minute.

7. Transfer the fillets to a foil-lined cookie sheet. Place them skin-side down. You can drizzle them with flavoured oil or a bit of lemon juice if you like. Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. You want to almost cook them through - they'll finish cooking for a few minutes after you take them out. Don't overcook, the fillets will be dry & unappetizing. If the meat breaks apart easily with a fork, flaking apart, then it's cooked.

Our fillets were quite big & we weren't able to finish them. Being a little pricey, I couldn't throw them out - so I made salmon salad sandwiches today. Not really my favourite - but not too bad with a little diced leek.


Kara Lennox said...

Oh, yummy! We love our salmon cooked on the George Foreman grill. I use olive oil, lemon juice and various spices.

My mouth is watering!

Question, though--how do you get the skins off after the fish is done? It kind of grosses me out! I buy skinless fillets but they are more expensive.

Amanda said...

the skin grosses me out too. especially since i don't really like fish. :D

usually, the skin sticks to the foil, so when I pick up the cooked fillet, I only grab the meat (using an egg flipper). doesn't usually end up looking very pretty, but it tastes pretty good!

if it doesn't stick, i just place the fillet skin-down on the plate - the meat flakes off really easy. sometimes there's a bit of gray stuff (connective tissue in scientific terms) between the flesh & skin - this scraps off really easily too.

lisaroy said...

This sounds so great! I love salmon and have a great recipe using hoisin sauce which gives it a bit of sweetness. I'll have to give this one a try. : )