If you are like me, a seafood fan, you will love this quick and delicious Blackened Salmon with Sticky Herb Rice. I could eat seafood several times a week without getting tired of it. I don’t think seafood needs to be dressed with sauces or covered up with a heavy batter; the simpler the better! So usually grilled or pan seared is my favorite method of preparing simple, juicy and delicious seafood. This recipe is easy and wonderful; the salmon is cooked in a hot skillet for a very short time, and then a simple dab of sweet butter is placed on top of the hot fillet and as it melts it completes this flavorful blackened fish. That is the beauty of most seafood, it doesn’t need to take a long time to prepare in order to taste amazing. My love of seafood has made me seek out recipes for different variety of fish and other seafood. I have used different cooking techniques, and this has been one of my favorite, easy and yet fancy seafood recipes. This is a perfectly juicy, tasty and healthy meal anytime and especially with Nowruz (Persian New Year) right around the corner you will enjoy the wonderful taste and extreme ease of this recipe for a different version of the more traditional Sabzi Polo ba Mahi (herb rice with fish), which is usually prepared for Nowruz dinner.
The spice blend that I have used works really well with salmon but if you have another similar spice blend that preferably has some kind of herb in the mix, I’m sure will be just fine too.
This spice blend yields 1/3 cup. You’ll need 3 tsp of it for this recipe. Store the rest in a cool dry place for a later use.
The Spice Blend:
5 tsp coarsely crushed dried oregano leaves
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp onion powder
Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix with a fork to blend. Store in an airtight container.
This rice is prepared with long grain Jasmine rice and a combination of herbs that is usually used in the Persian Herb Rice, or Sabzi Polo. However Jasmine rice has a different aroma and texture from the Basmati rice that is traditionally used in the Sabzi Polo.
All the ingredients are added to the pot at the same time and simmered for 30 minutes. Use a spoon or a large scooper to serve this sticky rice for a different display.
*Here is an easy way to skin a frozen fillet of salmon: After the whole fillet has defrosted a little bit where the skin is softer, separate enough of the skin from flesh to be able to grab onto it and peel away from the flesh; use a small carving knife if needed to help detach the skin from flesh. Allow the fish to completely defrost before cooking it.
*To skin a fillet that is not frozen: Place it on a cutting board, use the blade of a sharp knife to gently separate an inch of the flesh from the skin in the narrow tail section. Grab the separated skin and press it down to the cutting board with fingers of one hand and at the same time firmly but slowly push the knife towards the head section. When there is enough loose skin to grab start pulling on it and continue to carefully slide the knife toward the head section.
Arrange the salmon fillets in a single layer on a platter, drizzle some olive oil and turn the fillets to coat the other side too.
Sprinkle 1 1/2 tsp spice blend on one side. Place the fillets with the spice side down on the hot skillet and sprinkle the top with the rest of the spice before covering the skillet.
Cook the fillets covered for 3-4 minutes over medium high heat. Turn the heat off. Remove the lid and use a spatula to quickly turn the other side of the fillets. Immediately cover the skillet and leave the fillets in the skillet for another 3-4 minutes with the heat off.
Serve the Blackened Salmon immediately, place the hot fillets on individual plates and let a small cube of sweet butter melt on top. Serve with a side of Sticky Herb Rice and salad, or steamed vegetables & Enjoy!
Cooking time for rice: 30 minutes
Cooking time for salmon: 6-8 minutes
- Five 5-6 ounce salmon fillets, about 1 inch thick. If the fillets are thicker, add 1-2 minutes to the cooking time per side.
- 3 TBSP olive oil
- 3 tsp spice blend (recipe in the illustrated section)
- FOR THE STICKY RICE
- 2 cups fragrant Jasmine rice (washed and drained)
- 4 cups cold water
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 2 TBSP vegetable oil
- ½ cup thinly sliced fresh scallions (greens only)
- ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- Five small cubes of unsalted butter
- Wedges of lemon
- FOR HERB RICE: Add 2 cups of rice in a 4-Qt stockpot and wash it by adding enough cold water to cover it, then use your fingers to agitate the rice around in the water. Pour the water out and repeat with more cold water one additional time. Drain as much water as you can. Then add 4 cups of cold water, the herbs, salt and vegetable oil. Bring it to a boil over medium heat.
- Reduce the heat to low, stir and cover the stockpot and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
- Remove from the heat. Toss gently with a spatula to fluff up the rice. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
- FOR SALMON: On a platter arrange the skinless salmon fillets in a single layer. Drizzle 3 TBSP olive oil over the salmon. Use a pair of tongs to flip the fillets and coat the other side with oil. Sprinkle the top with 1 ½ tsp of the spice blend
- Preheat a large 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat until very hot.
- Place the fillets spice side down on the hot skillet. Immediately sprinkle the rest of the spice on the fillets and close the lid. Cook over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat and quickly flip over the fillets. Close the lid immediately and continue cooking with the heat off for another 3-4 minutes, or until the salmon flakes off easily with a fork and you can’t see any translucent dark pink flesh in the center.
- Serve with a dab of butter on each fillet, a lemon wedge, side of sticky rice, salad, or steamed vegetables.