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Salmon is so versatile and can be cooked in so many different ways and is used in different cuisines all across the world.
Cajun food is well-known for its spicy notes and heartine4ss. This style of food originated when the first Cajuns (Acadians) came to Louisiana from Canada in the 18th century and before. The Acadians were pushed out of European countries, including France, because of their religious beliefs.
Much Cajun cooking was inspired by cooking in rural France. Acadians lived off their land and adapted the Cajun style of cooking over the centuries because of the changes they had to adapt to. For example, as their cultures merged with other groups and they experienced geographical changes, their recipes evolved along with the culture.
Today we’ll be bringing you our delicious baked Cajun salmon recipe that can be prepared and cooked in under 30 minutes.
It’s hard to believe that this baked Cajun salmon recipe is so unbelievably tasty yet is still healthy enough to enjoy over and over again.
Why is salmon pink?
Wild salmon is naturally pink due to the red compound called astaxanthin which is found in the krill and shrimp that they eat. Farmed salmon is fed a combination of smaller fish, soybeans, and chicken fat.
To achieve the recognizable pink color of wild salmon, farmers will add small quantities of astaxanthin to their feed which will also result in healthier fish.
If salmon did not eat this pigmented compound then they would naturally have the white color of a haddock with a slight pink hue.
The darker and pinker the color of salmon, the better the flavor will be and the fish will also be a lot firmer.
Is salmon good for you?
Salmon is packed with rich omega-3 fatty acids which are known to help prevent heart attacks, improve brain health and also reduce inflammation in the body.
Salmon also contains selenium which plays an important role in your metabolism and also the functioning of your thyroid.
Salmon is pretty low in calories and is often eaten by people who follow healthy diets or on a weight loss diet. It regulates the hormones that control your appetite and makes you feel full, it also increases your metabolic rate so your body will digest food quicker.
Is eating too much salmon bad for you though?
Many people are skeptical about eating too much fish because of the levels of mercury in them. However, the mercury levels in salmon are significantly lower than in other fish.
Salmon lay their eggs in freshwater and not in the ocean, so they spend a large part of their life away from the ocean waters which can be contaminated with mercury.
Dietary guidelines advise us to eat a maximum of 8oz of seafood a week, this is to stay on the safe side as we don’t always know where your fish is sourced from.
Should I take the skin off my salmon before cooking?
It is a personal preference whether you keep the skin on or take it off before cooking your salmon.
We like to keep ours on as it helps the flesh of the salmon retain its moisture whilst cooking so it doesn’t go too dry. It also means you get a nice crisp to the base of your salmon through the cooked skin.
Most of the healthy fats from salmon are found in the skin, so if you are eating salmon for health benefits then you’ll want to make sure you’re not throwing away the most nutritious part.
Is the white stuff that comes out of salmon bad for you?
The white stuff that comes out of salmon whilst it cooks is called albumin. It is a protein that exists in a liquid state inside fish when it is raw.
When the fish is heated up the protein turns semi-solid and protrudes out of your fish.
Cooking your fish on a lower heat and turning it whilst it cooks will reduce the amount of albumin that comes out of it. It is completely safe to eat and add extra protein to your diet.
Can I use smoked salmon for this recipe?
If you wanted to you could, but you will not achieve the same moist texture and different flavors of the meat with the toppings.
Smoked salmon is already cooked so baking it in the oven will just dry it out more.
What to serve with my baked Cajun salmon?
Baked cajun salmon can be served with almost anything and it’ll still taste great.
We like to serve ours with some roasted new potatoes that have a light covering of low-fat butter, rosemary, thyme, and a bit of salt and pepper.
If you want something a bit lighter, you could just steam some green vegetables like broccoli or green beans and add that to the side.
The baked cajun salmon is a great addition to any salad and can be used whole or cut up and mixed in.
Our favorite salad recipe to add the baked Cajun salmon to is a bed of arugula leaves, spinach, lettuce, and diced peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
If you find it difficult to eat a salad without a dressing you could add some sweet chili sauce or balsamic vinegar to spice it up a bit.
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.