Fast and fresh summer meals are all I care about right now and this Blackened Salmon with Corn Salsa was my most recent creation.
Turns out I’m raising a salmon lover and my five-year old can eat at least one full adult portion of salmon when we have it. Any time I catch on to a kid’s preferences, I start to tweak what they are familiar with to push the flavor boundaries. This time I added some blackening seasoning, which gives the salmon some spice, and topped it with a really fresh corn salsa!
My salmon-lover kid doesn’t like avocados or tomatoes so the salsa was a challenge for him. He tried it, but opted for just more salmon. I’ll take it I guess!
What is Blackening Spice?
Blackening spice is just a name for a mix of spices. You can mix it up yourself (I like this version from my friend Milisa.) But, you can also just buy it at most grocery stores. Sometimes it is in the meat department.
The spice mix has some chili powder, paprika, thyme, salt, pepper, and normally some garlic and onion as well. It’s really great on seafood and you can use a liberal hand with it when you season the fish.
How to Make Blackened Salmon
When you prepare your salmon, be sure to remove your pin bones from the salmon or have your butcher do it for you. Then slice the salmon into about 4-5 ounce portions. I recommend keeping the skin on! I like to get the skin as crispy as possible.
Season the salmon liberally with blackening seasoning and I add a little extra pinch of salt and pepper as well.
I cook my salmon a little differently than I’ve seen elsewhere. Basically, I don’t flip my salmon. I find that it can just fall apart if you aren’t careful with it and I love having a really crispy skin on my salmon so I leave the skin in contact with the skillet for as long as possible.
I start the salmon in a hot cast iron skillet with a drizzle of oil (medium-high heat on the stove is good). Cook the salmon skin-side down for about three minutes and the skin will start to curl in spots and you’ll notice that the bottom edges of the salmon start to cook.
Then transfer the salmon to a preheated 350˚F oven to finish cooking the top of the fish. This keeps the skin in contact with the skillet for as long as possible.
The salmon will only need 4-5 minutes in the oven to finish cooking.
Bonus Butter Move
As an optional, but delicious, step. When my salmon comes out of the oven I add a chunk of butter right in the middle and spoon the melted butter over each piece of fish.
Not necessary, but really ups the flavors as the butter mixes with the blackening spices.
After basting the blackened salmon for 30 seconds or so, garnish with lemon and scallion and you are ready to serve!
How to Serve the Salmon
I like to serve the salmon with a fresh corn salsa featuring sweet corn, avocados, tomato, cilantro, jalapeno, and lime. I also added some brown rice to the plate just to round it out.
This salmon goes well with a variety of sides though so feel free to experiment there!
While you can make the corn salsa in advance, the avocado will brown if you make it too far in advance. If you have leftover salmon, reheat it in a skillet over low heat. I wouldn’t microwave salmon if you paid me!
Blackened Salmon with Fresh Corn Salsa
- 4 4-5 ounce filets salmon, skin on
- 1 tablespoon blackening seasoning
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Lemon slices, garnish
- Scallions, garnish
Fresh Corn Salsa:
- 1 ear sweet corn
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- ½ lime, juice only
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Prepare salmon filets by removing pin bones (or ask your seller to do it for you) and cutting salmon into 4-5 ounce filets. Season filets well with blackening seasoning, salt, and pepper.
- Heat a cast iron skillet on the stove over medium-high heat. Once hot, add olive oil and salmon filets, skin-side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes until skin starts to curl and crisp up.
- Transfer the salmon to the oven (no need to flip the pieces) and bake for 4-5 minutes until the salmon is cooked through. I like to pull my salmon when it has reached about 140˚F in the thickest part, but you can take it a bit further if you want it cooked through more.
- When salmon comes out of the oven, be careful with skillet. It will be very hot. Add butter to the center of the skillet and spoon melted butter over the top of the salmon filets.
- Garnish salmon with chopped scallions and lemon and serve immediately.
- To make the corn salsa, slice kernels off the corn cobs and stir together with other ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. You can make the salsa an hour or two in advance, but longer than that and the avocadoes will brown.