Blackened Salmon with Citrus Wild Rice (recipe)

A combination of high heat, warm spices, and citrus aromas gift the home chef with an easy way to create a blackened wild salmon dinner with simple prep and high expectations.

While this recipe makes two adult servings, it of course can be doubled for a family. Seasoning is always to taste: add what you love!

Two plates of blackened salmon laid over a bed of citrus wild rice and kale. Also on the table, two glasses of red wine and a bottle of Louis Latour 2005 Pinot Noir.
Blackened salmon and citrus wild rice is one of my favorite simple and easy meals. By @talesofthecork

Start your preparation with opening a bottle of wine to air out (and sip on!) while cooking. Many automatically reach for a Chardonnay when cooking fish or salmon. If I had created a lighter salmon with just olive oil and some herbs de Provence, for example, or used a creamy sauce I would do the same. However, considering the depth of flavor and punch in my blackening spice, I went for a Pinot Noir.

A perfect wine for this meal is either from the Santa Rita Hills or Santa Maria Highlands in California or from Burgundy, France. Definitely look for a Pinot Noir as it will have earthy, dark red fruit, with some spices. This will add depth to your dining experience, and perfectly compliment the rich salmon flavors.

Plus, of course, a little wine in the glass while cooking creates for great anticipation. Heck, share a glass with someone who’s assisting or watching you cook. We enjoyed a glass of Louis Latour 2005 Chassagne-Montrachet from Burgundy.

This 2005 Louis Latour Pinot Noir paired perfectly with the dish. By @talesofthecork

While some opt to melt butter over the salmon, I started with avocado oil and fresh citrus as a base, and poured a small shot of whiskey and drizzle of balsamic for depth. Once seasoned to taste with the blackened spices and a little sugar, I let it sit while switching my focus to the rice. That allows your spices, citrus, balsamic and sprinkles of raw sugar to set into the room temperature salmon.

While letting the juices soak into the salmon, I began prepping the wild rice with a 2:1 ratio of liquid-to-rice. For added flavor, I opted to split the liquid with equal parts veggie broth and fresh-squeezed orange juice. After the liquids came to a boil, I threw in a sprig of fresh rosemary and dashes allspice.

When the liquid came back to a boil, I followed bag instructions and turned the heat to low then covered the pot for about 15-20 minutes.

While the rice was cooking, I turned back to my citrus-soaked salmon.

My recipe does not require searing the salmon, but rather roasting it in a 450° oven for 12 to 15 minutes. A medium cooked salmon is about 135°. The goal is to quickly roast the salmon while creating a crunchy layer where the blackening spices create depth notably on top but throughout salmon flesh.

For added punch, fresh cracked pepper and red pepper flakes are a great addition.

The salmon may be done a little before the rice, which is fine since meat and fish both like to rest between oven-and-table.

Serve rice and salmon over a bed of kale. I always first massage kale and other stiff greens with oil to breakup the stiff fibers. For this, I chose a very light dressing of only a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and pepper. 

Take a picture of the final product and dig in!

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

With my citrus trees in the backyard covered in fruit, it’s an obvious go-to, even if the wild salmon in grocery stores is previously frozen. By @talesofthecork

Ingredients list:

  • 2 6oz salmon filets (I always get wild caught)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange
  • 4 tbls of avocado or olive oil
  • 2 tbls melted butter (optional)
  • 1 shot of your favorite whiskey
  • 1-2 tbls of raw sugar
  • 4 tbls balsamic vinegar

Blackening spice ingredients list:

  • Cajun
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Onion powder (optional)
  • Garlic powder (optional)

Rice ingredients list:

  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 2 dashes of allspice
  • fresh rosemarry
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup vegtable brooth
  • zest from 1 orange

* Always check salmon and other fish and meats to ensure both are cooked to FDA standards.

Did you enjoy the recipe? If you made it, I would love to know! Tag me when you post a picture so I can check it out, or if you’re not the food-posting kind, feel free to send me your thoughts in the comments below, into my DMs or send me an email.


Grilled salmon, peaches and Cardwell Hill Pinot

With just a little forethought, tonight’s dinner is easily accomplished. Geena and I are getting back to meal planning on Sundays and with a grocery, meat and fish list, great meals are really only 30 minutes of prep time.

Grilled salmon and peaches is quick. Just brush both with olive oil. Add Grand Marnier and some Allspice to the peaches for added flavor.
Grilled salmon and peaches is a 30-minute prep meal. Begin by brushing both with olive oil and let them come to room temperature. Add Grand Marnier and some Allspice to the peaches for added flavor.

Plan to stop and pick up salmon on the way home from work. You will also need two peaches, quinoa, mint, a couple of carrots, celery, cucumber, asparagus and plain yogurt.

Dinner tonight: Grilled spiced salmon with homemade raita dressing, quinoa, roasted asparagus with Romano cheese and grilled peaches.

The trick to great salmon is brushing it with olive oil, adding cracked pepper and a touch of salt. Lightly drip olive oil over the peaches, add Allspice and drizzle (the secret ingredient) Grand Marnier before grilling.

The salmon takes about 8 minutes while the peaches about 6 minutes. It is a good idea to sear both but then grill them off the heat and bake them, allowing the wood and briquets to fill the BBQ with its great smokey flavors.

Salmon most often will call for a Pinot Noir. Tonight we choose a Cardwell Hill Cellars Pinot from the Willamette Valley in Oregon.
Salmon most often will call for a Pinot Noir. Tonight we choose a Cardwell Hill Cellars Pinot from the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

A great, healthy addition to this meal is quinoa. We added chopped celery and carrots to the quinoa at the very end to add a crunch and to ensure they stay crispy. The sauce or dressing on the grilled salmon is a homemade raita dressing. The cucumber dressing is a favorite in India and is built on a plain yogurt base. Add garlic, shredded cucumber, mint, cracked pepper and a teaspoon of salt.

It is a good idea to refrigerate this mixture for an hour before adding to the grilled salmon. The raita is a great topping as its crisp acidity adds interest to the rich flavor of the salmon. This works well with the spice and smokey char of the grilled fish.

This one dish meal is perfect with a Pinot Noir. We chose Cardwell Hill Cellars 2008 Reserve Estate Willamette Valley in Oregon. Contrary to what others have said online, this Pinot is a winner. I imagine it just needed more time in the bottle to “grow up.” This is a three-clone French-style Pinot Noir: Silky smooth, dark bing cherry earthiness and spice with vanilla and caramel notes. So pretty, light and clean. This can easily be enjoyed by itself or with grilled fish, roast chicken and pork chops. Loved it!

If you missed my last post, check out the August 4, 2015 post, Grilled shrimp appetizers and Cooper Rose.

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