Cajun Salmon for Dinner
Yesterday, I was having a day where I knew I’d be running around all afternoon and finally walk in the door by 6:00 pm. So, getting dinner together quickly on those days is essential. Cajun Salmon is perfect. Otherwise we’re either going out for a quick bite, or, not eating until almost 8:00 pm.
I make an effort to not eat anything after 7:00 pm. It’s a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule – but many books on fitness and diet say generally speaking it’s a good idea to refrain from eating later in the evening. I’ve even read some info that says finish eating by 6:00 pm. That’s probably not realistic for most folks.
Cajun Salmon is a satisfying entree that feels and tastes good almost anytime of year. During the warm weather months I’m likely to make a quick, easy green salad and toss it with a little homemade vinaigrette. Now that it’s cooler I serve salmon with a hot green veggie like roasted asparagus spears. They cook at the same temperature in the oven. So you can have both going at the same time.
If you’re worried the spices will be too hot – here’s a comforting thought: spices becomes much less intense when they’re seared in the pan this way. If you want you can make a cooling dairy dip with low-fat yogurt that will cool down the heat even more.
Salmon is a filling protein. So if you skip the white carbs like a rice pilaf or the roasted 4-way potatoes I posted a few days ago you have a healthy low-carb meal. If other people in your household aren’t watching their weight or carbs or anything – make a carbohydrate side dish and everyone around the dinner table will be happy.
I buy Cajun Salmon at Trader Joes. It already has the Cajun seasonings on the fish so you can skip that step at home. Many grocery stores have jars with different seasonings available at the meat or seafood counter. Usually it’s free to have them coat your fish or meat with the seasonings. Cajun spices are usually one of the offerings. It makes sense to let them do this step for you. While your fish sits in the frig all day or overnight, the seasonings are going in to the fish like a marinade.
Double check and make sure the seasoning blends don’t contain crazy amounts of sodium or MSG which can be troublesome for many people.
Some stores have liquid marinades like Teriyaki and others. I’d hold off on using those until you are able to check an ingredients list and make sure they don’t contain anything weird. I’m tough when it comes to marinades, sauces and dressings. They often contain emulsifiers and other fake stuff you’d rather not put in your body if you knew what it is.
Moderation is the key. Health is a journey. It’s not about being “perfect” everyday. It’s about generally eating food that nourishes your body. And generally avoiding foods that don’t.
It’s not the end of the world if you let that stuff sneak into your diet now and then. When you go out for dinner and you can’t control everything you eat. Unless certain ingredients make you ill, you may not want to be the person who brings her own bottle of organic salad dressing to a restaurant in your purse. It’s okay to enjoy the full spectrum of foods but when taken on balance you know you aren’t consuming stuff that doesn’t support your body.
Cajun Salmon is so easy. You’ll flip when you discover how easy.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Take a heavy skillet – I use an old, black cast iron one. Coat it with vegetable oil on the bottom. I use olive oil.
Put the skillet with oil in it in the oven and let it get really hot for 10-12 minutes.
Take the skillet out of the oven and lay your salmon down in the oil-coated pan. Remember to lay the salmon down away from you so the oil doesn’t spatter up on you. Also, if there’s that silver-gray skin on one side of the fish make sure it’s facing up and the pinky-red surface of the salmon is laid down in the hot oil.
Put the pan in the oven. Cook 12 minutes on one side. This will sear the surface of the fish so you have that nice brown-orange sear to it. Gently turn the salmon over. Cook an additional 5 minutes on the other side.
If you want to make the yogurt dip take enough lowfat, plain yogurt for each adult to have about 1/4 cup. Stir in with a fork a little dill and garlic powder or garlic salt depending on what you have in your cupboard. Serve it on the side.