When I worked in Cleveland, various people in the office would order lunch every day. Once in a while, I'd order something, but for the most part, I brought my lunch every day. Some of the more common take-out haunts didn't appeal to me, which was good, because it made it that much easier to resist the temptation of ordering something! There was one restaurant that I always had to order from, and I always got the same thing: a Cajun Salmon Caesar Salad from The Calla Club.
Andrew's uncle was the first one to turn me on to this salad, which isn't really even on the menu. They offer a Caesar Salad, and you can add salmon to it if you choose. Dave always ordered the salmon with Cajun seasoning, and let me tell you, Dave knows his food. He would never steer me wrong.
The only problem with The Calla Club is that it's about 30 minutes away from me now. It's not in a convenient location, and the times I am in the area, it's usually to go out to dinner somewhere else. My solution? Make Cajun Salmon Caesar Salad at home!
Cajun Salmon Caesar Salad
based on The Calla Club's version
2 pieces of salmon, about 1/2 lb. each
1/4 c. blackened seasoning*
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large head romaine lettuce
1/2 c. shaved parmesan cheese
1 c. garlic croutons
Caesar dressing, to taste
salt & pepper
If salmon comes with skin on, carefully remove it with a sharp knife.
My salmon looked like the letter P laying on its side - one end was very thick, the other end was very thin. I opted to fold over the flat side, break a toothpick so it would be hidden within the fish, and secure the fold. This way, my salmon had a nice shape and was able to cook evenly. Once cooked, you can remove the toothpick before serving, or just let everyone know it is in there.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle blackened seasoning on one side of the salmon and lay that side down in the pan. Place it carefully and do not move it. While salmon is cooking, sprinkle the upturned side with blackening seasoning. Repeat with second piece of salmon. Turn after 3-4 minutes, then cook second side for another 3-4 minutes. The salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork.
While the salmon is cooking, cut or tear the romaine into bite-sized pieces. Wash thoroughly and either pat dry with paper towels or spin in a salad spinner. Toss together cheese, dressing, salt, pepper, and lettuce. Allow to sit until salmon is ready. Toss croutons into salad, serve with salmon.
My container of blackened seasoning is the "Market District" brand from Giant Eagle. You can make your own using the same ingredients: paprika, salt, garlic, pepper, onion, cayenne, and thyme. Depending on your love for spice, you can of course adjust the pepper and cayenne, sub in smoked paprika, or make any number of changes. If you're striving for low-sodium, you can just omit the salt.