Seared Salmon with Cinnamon and Chili Powder

By • January 13, 2010 8 Comments

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Author Notes: This may be a simple recipe, but the flavors unite in an elegant and complex way. It's perfect for one because you can have it on the table in less than 10 minutes with almost no mess.Sippity Sup (Greg Henry)

Serves 1

  • 1 salmon fillet with skin attached, sized to suit your appetite
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • enough canola oil to barely slick the skillet
  • 1 dash sesame oil
  1. Wash and completely dry the salmon fillet.
  2. In a small bowl mix chili powder, cinnamon, and the salt and pepper. Sprinkle this mixture on both sides of the salmon fillet. Heat canola oil and sesame oil in a non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Choose a skillet that is plenty big enough to avoid steaming the fish for the crispest possible skin.
  3. When the skillet is very hot, but not yet smoking; add the salmon, skin side down. Cook it until the skin is very crisp, dark brown and releases easily from the skillet This should take 3 to 4 minutes. Do not be tempted to check or move the fish around in the skillet during this time. You will only succeed in making it stick to the skillet or worse ruin your beautifully crisp skin.
  4. You will notice that the fish gets lighter colored and more opaque. Do not let it cook more than about 1/4 of the way through at this point. You might be worried that the rest of the fish seems quite raw, but honestly this is a good thing. Once the skin has crisped flip the fish, and cook it an additional 2 (maybe 3) minutes more. Do not let it cook all the way through. The fish will continue to cook after it leaves the pan. Your goal is a succulent flesh graduating from a rare center outwards to a crispy crackly skin.
  5. Serve the fish warm or at room temperature with a slightly chilled Pinot Noir (yes, Pinot Noir... trust me). Dining alone is no excuse for a poor wine pairing.

More Great Recipes: Entrees|Fish & Seafood|Salmon|Fish

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Comments (8) Questions (2)


10 months ago Sam Rod

This recipe was golden!!! The cinnamon was perfect with the chili!! Will definitely make it again! Thanks


almost 2 years ago Summer of Eggplant

I have made this 3x this month. And sometimes I substitute Chinese 5 spice for the cinnamon and sometimes I sub cayenne for the chili powder. Anyway you slice it it's a solid recipe. Really tasty, easy for a weeknight. I have found that it does require another minute or so for thicker steaks and that's cooking to rare. Anyhow, I'm glad to have this in my repertoire.


almost 2 years ago Lora

I'm always afraid to cook salmon but this recipe was so easy and delicious. I made it on the fly one busy week night for my teen boys and they loved it.


over 3 years ago cygnoir

What a great recipe! Very simple and incredibly tasty. Thanks for sharing.


over 3 years ago Tarragon

I do, especially when it is crisp like this, but that is a matter of personal taste.


about 4 years ago mcs3000

I received some huge salmon steaks in my CSA. Anxious to eat some of them, I made this recipe. Loved it - will make it again. Thanks, @SippitySup!


over 5 years ago billiechristie

I don't like salmon but my fiance does so I made this for him and he loved it!!! It was really easy, even for a non-salmon eater!


over 5 years ago curlycake

I followed the directions and this was delicious! The blackened spices on the fleshy side actually make a crust, like another crispy skin. We served it with some arugula w/ lemon & olive oil... perfect!