This Blackened Salmon Caesar is a delicious twist on the traditional. With hearty kale and spice-crusted salmon, this dish looks fancy but is so easy to make.
Why you will love this
- A delicious variation on the classic - I love Caesar salads, and I also love any variation on the classic. This kale and spice-crusted salmon version is loaded with wholesome flavor.
- Easy preparation - If blackened salmon sounds complicated, I assure you it isn't. Simply sear the salmon in a skillet and you can be enjoying this salad in no time.
- Satisfying main dish salad - This salad is light yet substantial at the same time. This salad is wonderful for lunch and is also hearty enough to serve for dinner, like these other caesar favorites - Buffalo Chicken Caesar, Chicken Caesar Pasta salad, and Brussels Sprouts Caesar salad.
- Kale is a dark leafy green that is rich in nutrients. It is hearty and is a delicious alternative to more traditional romaine. A little unsure about kale? Try it, it's delicious! But you can certainly substitute romaine in this salad if desired.
Kale has a fibrous stem that isn't edible raw. To remove this stem, fold the kale leaves in half so that the stem is exposed along one side. Run a knife along the stem, cutting it away. Discard the stem. Tear or chop the kale into bite-sized pieces. Then, add the chopped kale to a salad spinner. Rinse and spin dry. You may also rinse and dry the whole leaves before chopping.
- Caesar dressing - My homemade creamy Caesar dressing is so easy and even more delicious! The lemony notes pair wonderfully with salmon and kale. No raw eggs are involved and the anchovies are optional! If preferred, your favorite bottled variety can be used.
- Salmon - Use center-cut salmon fillets. Both skin-on or skinless is fine. I like cooking salmon with the skin on because it adds a little protection during the cooking process. If you're not a fan of seafood, blackened chicken is also delicious on this salad.
- Blackened seasoning - This homemade blend is made with spices you likely have in your pantry already: onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, ancho chili powder, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. You can also use a store-bought variety.
Tips for making
- Kale can be prepped several days in advance. It's a hearty green and keeps well. To prepare: stem, wash and spin-dry the kale. Wrap it in paper towels and store it in a zipper-top bag in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- Use an instant-read thermometer. Checking the internal temperature of the salmon is the best, fool-proof way to ensure the salmon is cooked perfectly. The internal temperature of the salmon should be 125-135 degrees for medium-rare or medium and 145 degrees for medium-well.
- For skin-on salmon, add the blackened seasoning to the flesh side of the fillet. Sear the seasoned flesh side down first, turning over to skin-side down to finish cooking. When ready, the flesh will separate easily from the skin for serving. Simply slide a spatula between the flesh and the skin and transfer the salmon to the salad.
This satisfying salad is easy to make and can be adapted to your tastes. Swap in chicken for salmon or romaine for kale. But don't skimp on the scrumptious dressing!
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Blackened Salmon Caesar Salad with Kale
- ¾ pound center-cut salmon fillet (skin-on or off)
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon thyme
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ancho chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 6 cups chopped kale (stems removed (Note 1))
- ⅓-½ cup Caesar salad dressing
- shredded Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
- croutons (for garnish)
- Cut the salmon into two equal pieces. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together the blackened seasoning ingredients. Coat the flesh side of the salmon with the seasoning.
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Add the salmon fillets, flesh side down, to the hot pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes until brown and crisp.
- Turn the salmon over skin-side down and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the salmon reaches the desired level of doneness - 125-135 degrees for medium-rare to medium; 145 degrees for well done. (Note 2)
- When the salmon is done, remove the skin by sliding a spatula between the salmon flesh and skin. The flesh will easily lift away.
- Meanwhile, add the kale to a large mixing bowl. Add the dressing and toss to combine. Divide the kale between two bowls. Top each bowl with a piece of salmon. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and croutons. Serve with extra dressing on the side, if desired.
- To remove the stem, fold the kale leaves in half so that the stem is exposed along one side. Run a knife along the stem, cutting it away. Discard the stem. Tear or chop the kale into bite-sized pieces. Then, add the chopped kale to a salad spinner. Rinse and spin dry. You may also rinse and dry the whole leaves before chopping.
- Use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the salmon. For more well-done salmon, cover the pan with a lid to help cook the interior of the salmon a little faster.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.