Saturday, September 5, 2009

Chesapeake Bay Salmon

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Living in the midwest means we don't have the luxury of super fresh seafood that folks on the eastern and western coast have. It's not like we can really count on Lake Michigan to provide any seafood either. I'm partial to seafood from the eastern coast though. There's something about the common seafood seasoning used on east coast seafood that makes it stand out to me. Old Bay and Chesapeake Bay seasoning are said to be used interchangeably in seafood recipes, but taking a closer look, there are differences among the two.

From the recipes I've come across, I've found that the Old Bay seasoning includes mace and red pepper flakes, giving it a little more of a subtle bite. The Chesapeake Bay seasoning, however, includes cayenne pepper and cinnamon instead, giving it a little more depth in flavor with a spicier bite. Whichever you prefer between the two, both perk up the flavor of fish, crabs, shrimp and other seafood beyond what a little lemon juice can do.


With two fresh salmon fillets to work with, it was a good opportunity to make use of the spices I had. If you're like me, you probably have some random spices in your pantry. Why not try concocting up some spice blends using what you have on hand rather than buying those overpriced packaged spices? I came across the following recipe for homemade Chesapeake Bay seasoning to try out on my salmon. The original recipe yields 3 tablespoons, but when I prepared it, I halved the amounts so it would be just the right amount to season our meal. The result? We enjoyed a flavorful spiced salmon where the spices didn't overpower the taste of salmon. My husband asked what seasoning I used and was surprised that to know it was one I made, not bought! I served this with lemony couscous and roasted asparagus, which I sprinkled the excess seasoning I had.

Homemade Chesapeake Bay Salmon
recipe adapted from About.com

1 bunch fresh asparagus
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large salmon fillets
thin lemon slices to garnish

Chesapeake Bay seasoning:
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground celery seed
1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground bay leaf
pinch of ground allspice
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of grated nutmeg
pinch of ground cinnamon



Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a baking dish, place the asparagus and drizzle with 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil to coat; set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together all the spices until well-combined. Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of the seasoning over the asparagus. Sprinkle the remaining seasoning over your salmon fillets.

Place the seasoned salmon fillets over the asparagus and drizzle the remaining 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil over the salmon.

Bake in the preheated oven uncovered for 7-10 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fillets), being careful not to overcook. Remove from oven and allow to rest for a minute or two before serving.

Serve over a bed of couscous or rice and garnish the salmon with lemon slices.

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