Blackened Salmon With Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise

About twice a year I get a craving for a fish sandwich. This weekend I was watching Food Network and was basically forced to have one of them. I don't know if it was related to Lent or what, but every show I watched seemed to be preparing fish or some type of seafood.

Along the way I saw Paula Deen making blackened tilapia with cilantro lime mayonnaise. So I took that recipe to the grocery store and wound up making Blackened Salmon Sandwiches with Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise. Fresh salmon fillet was on sale for $6.49/lb, and much to my surprise 1 lb of salmon goes about twice as far as the same amount of chicken. So for about $9 we got 1.32 lbs salmon and made four blackened fillets, with a side of Zatarain's Yellow Rice and some steamed asparagus. As I recall from the show, Paula said her main reason for choosing tilapia was that it is relatively inexpensive, so we figured salmon we be an acceptable substitution. We also couldn't find fresh tilapia and were wary of defrosting frozen fish.

On to the recipe:

1/4 cup sweet paprika
2 tablespoons ground thyme
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
4 (10-ounce) tilapia (or salmon) fillets

4 Kaiser buns, split, buttered and toasted

Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lime

In a shallow dish, combine first 6 ingredients.

Pour melted butter into another shallow dish. Dip fish fillets in melted butter and coat with seasoning mixture.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Cook prepared fish, in batches if necessary, 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Spread Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise evenly over toasted buns. Place blackened fish on bottom half of bun, top with mango salsa, and cover with top half of bun.

Now I don't know what sweet paprika is, but I couldn't find it at the store so I used paprika. The rest of the recipe is solid. We didn't bother with the mango salsa, though it would have been awesome. My best suggestion is that if you aren't using cast iron, which we weren't, you may want to consider either pouring the seasoning mixture into an empty spice jar and shaking it on your fillets or taking a pastry/basting brush and lightly brushing away any extra spice mixture that isn't adhering to the butter after you dredge it through the seasoning. Dredging the fish as though the seasoning is flour is a bit of overkill, and I don't think a normal skillet has enough heat to completely blacken it without burning the fish.


Rach said...

dude, why do you do this to me? You post these mouthwatering pictures with awesome recipes...that make me crave precisely what you've just made. yum