Blackened Salmon with Tomato Relish

This dish is best cooked with a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. If you have a portable burner, I suggest that you fire it up outside instead of cooking this indoors. At the very least, make sure the windows are open and there’s plenty of ventilation. The blackening fish is smoky and the fumes can make breathing a chore. You’re burning three kinds of pepper in a white-hot skillet. Bad idea? No way. The taste is sensational. Remember, I warned you about the smoke! (WARNING #1)

Blackened Salmon with Tomato Relish


  • 6 6 to 8- ounce salmon fillets skin removed, about 1 inch thick
  • *** pan coating spray
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

Blackening Spice (or use your favorite prepared Cajun spice blend!)

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Tomato Relish

  • 2 cups peeled seeded and diced tomato (allow to drain well before preparing relish)
  • 1/4 cup red onion finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/3 cup pitted black olives chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil or Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • pinch granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat a cast iron or other heavy skillet over high heat until extremely hot. It should take about 20 minutes before the skillet is sufficiently hot to blacken the fish. We’re talking white-hot.
  • WARNING #2: If you can prepare this dish outdoors, do so. The cooking fish may splatter and the pan will get very, very smoky. To avoid burning your fingers, do not touch the pan for at least one hour after the heat has been turned off.
  • Combine blackening spices in a medium bowl. Lightly spray each side of the fillets with pan spray. Season fillets evenly with spices. Place fish, one or two at a time in the skillet for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until they are seared on each side. Fish should be crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. Check the first piece for doneness and adjust cooking time accordingly for the remaining pieces. Top each fillet with a spoonful of tomato relish and a dollop of sour cream.

Relish Instructions

  • In a bowl, combine tomato with next four ingredients. In another bowl, combine lemon juice, mustard, vinegar and sugar. While whisking, add olive oil in a thin stream to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper and add to bowl with tomato mixture. Allow to rest at room temperature for 30 – 60 minutes.

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