Baked Cajun salmon is a delicious and healthy recipe, perfect for those who enjoy a spicy and flavorful twist on traditional oven-baked salmon. Its unique blend of spices and its simple preparation method make it a popular choice for easy, satisfying home-cooked meals.
The Cajun seasoning used in this dish comes from Louisiana, drawing influence from French, Spanish, and African cuisine. The balanced combination of herbs and spices, such as paprika, cayenne, oregano, and garlic powder, creates a mouthwatering and savory experience. Paired with the tender, flaky salmon, this dish is not only packed with flavor but also rich in essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
Preparing baked Cajun salmon only requires a handful of ingredients, minimal preparation time, and a few easy steps. In just a matter of minutes, the dish is ready to pop into the oven, allowing the flavors to meld together and create a mouthwatering, satisfying meal that will surely impress your family and friends.
Baked Cajun Salmon Recipe
Baked Cajun salmon is a delicious and healthy dish that combines the robust flavors of Cajun seasoning with the natural taste of salmon. With just a few simple ingredients and a short cooking time, this recipe is perfect for a quick and satisfying meal.
To begin, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). While waiting for the oven to heat up, ensure you have the following ingredients on hand:
- 4 salmon fillets, skin on
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp each of paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and thyme
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
First, prepare the Cajun seasoning mix by combining the paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Mix these ingredients well, ensuring a consistent blend is achieved.
Next, place the salmon fillets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil, with the skin side down. Coat the fillets with olive oil, then evenly distribute the minced garlic over all the pieces of fish. Sprinkle the prepared Cajun seasoning mix generously over each fillet, ensuring they are adequately covered.
Add small pieces of butter to each fillet, placing them on top of the seasoned surface. This will result in a richer sauce as it melts during the baking process.
Place the baking sheet with the seasoned salmon fillets into the preheated oven on the middle rack. Bake the fish for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until the salmon becomes flaky and reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).
Baked Cajun salmon not only provides a delicious meal but also offers valuable nutrients. Salmon is rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and iron, making it an excellent choice for a nutritious diet. Paired with a side dish of vegetables or a simple salad, this flavorful dish is suitable for a variety of occasions.
Enjoy the taste and experience of this easy and quick baked Cajun salmon recipe, and satisfy your cravings for a hearty, flavorful, and nutritious dish.
Preparing the Salmon
To prepare a delicious baked cajun salmon, start by selecting high-quality salmon fillets. It is recommended to choose fresh, wild-caught salmon over farmed salmon for better taste and nutrition. Thoroughly rinse and pat dry the fillets with a paper towel to ensure they are clean.
In a small bowl, combine your cajun spices, which typically include cayenne pepper, dried thyme, oregano, and creole seasoning. To add a touch of sweetness, mix in a small amount of honey. Adjust the levels of cayenne pepper according to your desired spice level. If you’re aiming for a gluten-free option, ensure the spices and seasoning do not contain gluten.
Next, squeeze some lemon juice over the salmon fillets and rub them with a generous amount of kosher salt. Then, spread the cajun spice mixture evenly onto each fillet, coating them thoroughly. Gently press the spices into the salmon using a fork to make sure they adhere well.
Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean-up and place the salmon fillets on it. It’s recommended to cook the salmon for 12-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Utilize a thermometer to check the internal temperature, aiming for 145°F (63°C). To add a crispy top layer, broil the salmon for an additional 2-3 minutes.
While the salmon is baking, consider preparing some healthy side dishes to complement the rich flavors of the cajun seasoning. Steamed or roasted vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, or bell peppers provide a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and natural sugars. Additionally, serve the baked cajun salmon with potatoes or a light salad for a well-rounded meal.
Overall, this baked cajun salmon recipe offers a quick and easy weeknight dinner option without sacrificing taste. The combination of bold cajun spices, tangy lemon juice, and moist, tender salmon delivers an impressive and nutritious dish that will surely impress your family and friends.
Baked cajun salmon is a nutritious dish that offers a variety of health benefits. One serving of this seafood delight contains approximately 250-300 calories, mainly derived from the protein-rich salmon fillets and the flavorful spices. This dish is not only low in calories, but also an excellent source of essential nutrients.
The carbohydrates content in baked cajun salmon is relatively low, as it doesn’t include any starchy components like rice. Carbohydrates are mainly present in the spices or any accompanying side dish of choice. In terms of fat content, salmon is known for its healthy fats, specifically omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to heart health and overall wellness. The total fat per serving is around 12-15 grams, with a minimal amount of saturated fat, typically less than 2 grams.
Cholesterol levels in baked cajun salmon are moderate, primarily due to the nature of seafood. Although salmon fillets contain some amount of cholesterol, the levels are significantly lower compared to other protein sources, such as red meat. Sodium levels will vary based on the spices and seasoning used in the dish, with a range of 300-500 milligrams per serving.
Potassium is one of the essential minerals found in baked cajun salmon, contributing to around 400-500 milligrams per serving. This nutrient aids in muscle function and regulates fluid balance in the body. Vitamin A is also present in the seafood dish, primarily contributing to healthy skin and immune function.
Calcium content in baked cajun salmon is relatively low, as it is primarily found in dairy products. However, pairing this flavorful dish with a side of leafy greens or calcium-fortified products can provide additional calcium.
In conclusion, baked cajun salmon is an ideal choice for those seeking a nutritious meal that is low in calories, carbohydrates, and saturated fat, yet rich in essential nutrients like potassium and vitamin A. Incorporating this delicious seafood dish into one’s diet can reap the benefits of a healthy and satisfying meal.
Health Benefits of Salmon
Salmon is a highly nutritious fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their numerous health benefits. These fatty acids help reduce inflammation, support brain health, and maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Salmon is also a great source of selenium, a mineral that plays a crucial role in thyroid function and has antioxidant properties as well.
Choosing wild salmon over farmed salmon is often recommended due to its higher content of astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant, and lower mercury levels. Astaxanthin has anti-inflammatory effects and supports cardiovascular health. It is worth noting that both wild salmon and krill are natural sources of astaxanthin.
When it comes to mercury levels in fish, wild-caught salmon typically has lower levels than other types of fish, such as halibut. This makes salmon a safer choice for those who may be concerned about mercury exposure.
Cooking methods can also impact the health benefits of salmon. For instance, using a cast iron pan and melted unsalted butter can help maintain the integrity of the fish’s nutrients. Additionally, incorporating ingredients like red pepper flakes and green onions can provide extra flavor while keeping the dish gluten-free.
Salmon is not only a flavorful choice but also a nutritious one. In summary, incorporating salmon into one’s diet can provide numerous health benefits, particularly when choosing wild-caught options and preparing the dish with wholesome ingredients.
Baked Cajun Salmon
- Large skillet or pan
- Sharp knife
- Chopping board
- Garlic press
- 1 lb. Boneless Salmon Fillet
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil Extra Virgin
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Smoky Paprika
- Sprinkling Black Pepper
- ½ Lemon juiced
- 2 cloves Garlic
- Handful Parsley
- ½ Green Onion
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Using your sharp knife, chop your green onion into thin slices but stop when you get down to the white part of the stalk. Wash your parsley and then pick the leaves off the stems and put them together into a small mound on your chopping board. Using your knife, rock back and forth to chop the parsley until it is fine. Pop your green onions and finely chopped parsley into a bowl on the side. You’ll be using this to garnish after your salmon has cooked.
- Next, you will want to create your cajun seasoning mixture. Pour your measurements of cajun seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoky paprika into a small mixing bowl and mix well with a fork. The grains of the powders should all be blended well and there should not be any large clumps together. Put to the side.
- Crush your 2 garlic cloves using a garlic press. Alternatively, you could use the flat surface of a knife to squash the garlic. Put in a bowl or leave on your chopping board until the oven is ready.
- Rinse your salmon under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Avoid using a cloth towel as a microfiber may transfer onto your fish.
- Once your fish is ready, add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to your pan or skillet and spread evenly by using a spoon or by lifting and rotating the pan. This is to make sure your salmon doesn’t stick.
- Add your salmon fillet to the pan with the skin side down. Then add another tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil onto the surface of the salmon and spread using the spoon again. You could always use a cooking brush to ensure an even coating of the oil.
- Add your seasoning mix to the surface of your salmon. You may want to use a spoon to cover it initially and then use your fingers to rub it into the fish, you could always use the cooking brush again for this part. Make sure the entire fillet is coated evenly with the seasoning.
- Now take half a lemon and squeeze the juice over the entirety of the fillet. You could do this with your hands, but it might get a bit messy and the lemon seeds may fall onto your fish. If you’ve got one, we recommend using a lemon juicer. If you want extra lemon flavor, you can always grate the waxy side of the lemon to get the zest.
- Now spread your mashed garlic gloves across the surface of the salmon fillet and press in so they don’t slide off.
- The final step before putting your salmon in the oven is seasoning with salt and pepper to your preferred taste. We recommend not using too much salt as it’ll take away the fresh and light flavor of the fish.
- Bake the salmon in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Do not flip your salmon over halfway through cooking otherwise, all the seasoning will just stick to the pan and not on the fish.
- When it’s ready, remove from the oven garnish with your finely chopped parsley and your diced green onions.