Before rounding out peak salmon season, I wanted to bring you a recipe that blends the warmth of summer and the crispness of fall. This Cajun Lemon Herb Grilled Salmon has a distinctly refreshing essence of citrus and herbs, and is topped off with the vibrant blend of Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning.
If you haven’t tried it yet, this is your sign! Not only does this salmon have amazing herbaceous flavors, but it's super light and nutritious too!
What You'll Need
Here’s what you’ll need to put this Cajun Lemon Herb Grilled Salmon recipe together:
Prepping Your Ingredients
Salmon Fillets: I usually start with a large 2lb fillet and cut it into individual portions. If pre-cut salmon is easily accessible that's perfectly fine too! Make sure the fillets are cut to about the same size so that they cook equally.
Begin working with your salmon once it is at room temperature. Pat the fillets dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. You'll especially want to do this before adding the oil and seasoning so that the spices evenly coat the fish.
Seasoning: For this recipe, I add a touch of pepper and use Maldon Sea Salt Flakes (add amazon link) to intensify the flavor. And of course, this recipe wouldn't be complete without Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning; it adds a nice kick with its vibrant savory spices but is not overwhelmingly spicy by any means.
Lemons: You will need at least one lemon for this recipe to slice into rounds for layering on the salmon. I always keep an additional lemon on hand to cut wedges for serving. A little extra squeeze of lemon juice at the end goes a long way to really make this dish come to life and give it a full, fresh flavor.
Herbs: I seriously love fresh herbs. Growing them out back in our garden beds has become my latest hobby. It's so convenient just to be able to pick a few sprigs needed for the recipe right off the plant! Herbs fresh off the stem instantly spruce up any recipe.
The Perfect Blend
Since salmon is generally a mild fish, I really put together this combination of seasonings from a traditional base of salt & pepper and my love of fresh herbs...but I couldn't stop just there.
This Cajun Lemon Grilled Salmon recipe gets its upgrade with a kick from the Louisiana-inspired zesty spices of Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning. This award-winning cajun spice mix is composed of salt, red pepper, black pepper, and garlic. It's the perfect blend to give your salmon a mild warmth without being overpowering.
To get the complete taste, brush or drizzle the salmon with extra virgin olive oil. Then, lightly season both sides of the salmon with salt, pepper, and Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning.
Assembling the Grill Basket
When grilling this Cajun Lemon Herb Grilled Salmon, the use of a grill basket is a game changer. It helps to encapsulate the salmon between lemon and herbs on both sides of the fillet and prevents the ingredients from falling out.
So that the salmon does not stick to the grill basket, brush the grates with olive oil or cooking spray to grease before layering in the ingredients.
Preparing the Salmon
For this recipe, I left the skin of the salmon off to ensure the citrus and herb flavors could seep in from all sides. I used a tray-type grill basket to eliminate the risk of the ingredients falling through the grates of the grill. Leaving the skin on or off is completely up to you, but the salmon fillet should remain completely intact if you use a grill basket.
Open up the grill basket and layer the seasoned salmon fillet(s) between a layer of sage/thyme and lemon slices on top and bottom. The notes of the sage and thyme offer complex fragrances that are intended to season and intensify the flavor during grilling. So for the sake of this recipe, the herbs do not need to be chopped; just layer the sprigs between the salmon and lemon rounds.
Grilling the Salmon
How long should I grill the salmon?
For this recipe, the ideal cooking method is with a charcoal grill. Prepare your coals and preheat the charcoal grill for about 10 minutes to reach temperature.
Salmon cooks on the grill relatively fast. The thickness of the fillet will determine cook time, but it will generally take about six (6) minutes of grilling on each side. Cook the fish until the flesh is opaque and reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
When a thermometer reads 120°F at the thickest portion of the fillet, this generally indicates that the fish is medium-rare. If it hasn't quite reached the ideal temperature, let it rest for a few minutes before serving to allow for carryover cooking.
Does it need to be flipped?
The salmon does indeed need to be flipped halfway through to achieve those beautiful grill char marks on both sides. Lemons naturally have such a bold, bitter flavor and the caramelization that occurs from the heat of the grill gives them a great smoky sweetness. I love the contrast of the char marks against the bright yellow of the lemons!
Other Cooking Methods for Cajun Lemon Herb Grilled Salmon
If you don’t have a grill or grill pan don't worry, you can easily pan-sear with a cast iron pan or oven-bake the salmon, just make sure the internal temperature reaches 145°F.
In this case, you may want to leave the skin on the salmon and cook it skin side down. There will also be no need to flip because the salmon may stick. To test the salmon for doneness, use a fork to see if it easily flakes. If it does, it's done cooking. If not, continue cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes.
This Cajun Lemon Herb Grilled Salmon is delectable…salty, lemony, and heavy on the herbs. It's going to taste out of this world no matter the cooking method!
What can I do with leftovers?
This Cajun Lemon Herb Grilled Salmon would be perfect to add on top of a fresh salad or to a cajun pasta dish.
Refrigerate: Wrap each salmon fillet in foil, then place it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator within 2 hours. It will keep for 1-3 days.
Freeze: Store the cooked salmon fillets in a sealable bag in the freezer. It will keep for 2-3 months.
What sides could I serve with Cajun Lemon Herb Grilled Salmon?
If you're looking to turn this Cajun Lemon Herb Gilled Salmon dish into a full meal, I can certainly help with that. Some of my favorite sides to serve with this recipe are:
If you make this Cajun Lemon Herb Grilled Salmon recipe, please come back and let me know what you think! If you're interested in other salmon recipes, check these out:
Cajun Lemon Herb Grilled Salmon
- Cut salmon fillets to even serving sizes. Brush/drizzle with an even coat of olive oil.
- Sprinkle both sides of the salmon with salt, pepper, and Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning.
- So that the salmon does not stick to the grill basket, brush the grates with olive oil or cooking spray before layering in the ingredients.
- Cut lemon slices.
- In a grill pan, layer the salmon between the lemon slices and herbs on top & bottom.
- Grill/cook/pan-sear the salmon for approximately 12 minutes (flip halfway) until the flesh of the fish is opaque, there are visible char marks on both sides, and the internal termpature has reached 145°F.
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice over cooked salmon and serve.