The original technique calls for dipping the protein, often Salmon or Redfish, in melted butter and then a mix of spices, like a local Louisiana Masala. Blackening often has a few spices like mustard, garlic and ginger that offer a mild tingle, mixed with a few like cayenne pepper that pack a lot of heat. Traditionally, you let the butter firm up on the fish with the spices like a buttery spicy shell and sear it in a roaring hot (usually cast iron) pan. It forms almost a crust, with extra fat from the butter, which is both charred and spicy. I like to “sift” an even layer of spices over the fish. If you don’t have a strainer or sieve, sprinkle over the fish directly. I love Tuscan kale the most and it is the most easily found in supermarkets. The sturdy leaves pack a taste that reminds me of leafy spinach mixed with a stronger mystery cousin. The Kale is made tender by absorbing the olive oil it is tossed with and not from acidic ingredients like vinegar and lime juice, a tidbit I learned from food guru Kenji Lopez Alt.
48-ozportions wild salmonskin on, pin bones removed
1large bunchTuscan kale (about 12 ounces)stemmed and torn into bite-size pieces
Grated zest and juice of 1 large lime
Preheat oven to 400F. Set an oven rack in the lower-middle position.
Prepare the salmon:
In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic, mustard and oregano and set aside. Use 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to grease the bottom of a rimmed sheet pan. Place the salmon, skin side down, on a flat surface and season with salt. Drizzle with 2 more tablespoons of the oil. Sift an even layer of the spices over the salmon and arrange filets skin side down, on the baking sheet, with space between each.
Prepare the kale:
In a medium bowl, massage the kale with the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and the garlic. Arrange it all around (but not covering) the fish on the pan.
Cook the salmon:
Place the pan in the lower-middle rack and roast for 10 to 12 minutes for medium to medium-rare salmon. (For well-done fish, leave in the oven an additional 5-8 minutes) Remove the pan from the oven and drizzle with the honey. The sprinkle all of the lime zest and juice over the fish. Serve immediately.