Indulge in the delectable flavors of this exquisite Jerk Salmon recipe, highlighting a tantalizing marinade that will leave your taste buds tingling with delight. If you love salmon, try this Cajun Honey Butter Salmon and Cajun Salmon Alfredo Pasta.
Jerk salmon is one of my absolute favorite easy seafood recipes to pull together quickly. You will love this marinade that packs the heat and sweetness with nuance making it so delicious for this recipe and many others.
What is Jerk Salmon?
Jerk salmon is a delicious meal with Caribbean-inspired flavors. The dish is prepared using Jamaican jerk marinade paste, which infuses the salmon with a unique blend of sweet, tangy, and spicy flavors.
This sheet-pan salmon recipe is a hassle-free cooking method, where the salmon is roasted alongside marinated cherry tomatoes. Cleanup is effortless too! The resulting dish is visually vibrant and appealing, but the real pleasure is in the first bite. For a satisfying meal, serve the jerk salmon over rice or couscous with a fresh cucumber salad.
- Olive oil: This bad boy adds richness and makes the marinade stick to the salmon like glue. Swap it out with avocado or canola oil if you ain’t feeling the olive oil vibe.
- Garlic: This ingredient brings an aromatic and savory flavor to the marinade. If you can’t get your hands on fresh garlic, use ½-teaspoon garlic powder instead.
- Habanero: This spicy pepper adds heat and a fruity undertone. If habaneros aren’t your jam, try a Scotch bonnet pepper or a milder pepper like serrano or jalapeño.
- Spices: I use allspice, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, nutmeg, smoked paprika, thyme, cayenne powder, black pepper, and kosher salt to create a classic jerk seasoning. But hey, feel free to play around with the proportions or use a pre-made jerk seasoning blend.
- Citrus: Fresh orange and lemon juice bring some acidity and brightness to the marinade. If you don’t have lemons or oranges, grab some fresh lime juice instead.
- Honey: This sweet ingredient balances the heat and brings some harmony to the marinade. Ain’t got no honey? No problemo. Try agave nectar or maple syrup for a similar effect.
- Salmon: This is the star of the show, folks. Rich, tender, and flavorful protein that’ll make your taste buds dance. I dig leaving the skins on, but feel free to remove ’em if that’s more your style. If salmon isn’t your jam, try cod or halibut instead.
- Cherry tomatoes: These little guys add a burst of sweetness and color to the dish. If you can’t get your hands on ’em, go for grape tomatoes or chopped Roma tomatoes instead.
- Cucumber: You need this for the salad to serve with your jerk salmon. Both English cucumbers and Persian (mini) cucumbers are solid choices, adding a fresh and crispy texture.
- Parsley: This herb brings a bright and herbaceous element to the salad. If you’re not a fan, try cilantro or basil for a different flavor profile.
How to Make Jerk Salmon
Step 1: Blend up the marinade
Toss olive oil, garlic, habanero pepper, spices, salt, orange juice, and lemon juice in a small blender or food processor. Give it a whirl until it’s silky smooth, then add honey and blend again. Give it a taste test and feel free to adjust the seasonings to your liking. Need more heat? Add habanero or cayenne. Want more savoriness? Add garlic or onion powder. Craving some warmth? Add cumin.
Step 2: Season up that salmon
Pat those salmon filets dry to make sure they get crispy and help the marinade stick. Toss ’em on a foil-lined sheet pan and slather on that jerk marinade all over the top and sides of the salmon.
Step 3: Get those tomatoes ready
Mix up halved tomatoes, a tablespoon of jerk marinade, and salt in a small bowl. Evenly distribute the tomatoes around the salmon filets on the sheet pan.
Step 4: Bake the salmon
Pop that sheet pan in the oven at 400F for roughly 10 minutes until the center of the salmon is barely translucent and the outside flesh flakes easily. If you have a digital thermometer, make sure the thickest part of the filet reaches 140F.
For some extra texture, sprinkle on sesame seeds or crushed red pepper flakes over that jerk salmon. If you’re feeling fancy, serve it with some veggies like an easy cucumber salad on top or along some Cole Slaw or Green beans and potatoes.
Leftovers and Reheating
Got extra sheet-pan salmon? Keep it fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Freeze it for up to 3 months by wrapping it tightly with aluminum foil or storing it in a freezer-safe container. Just remember that the cucumber-tomato salad may not freeze well, so it’s best to keep it in the fridge.
Warm up that leftover salmon in the oven at 300F until it’s heated through. Avoid overcooking it by warming it up on low power in the microwave.
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1/2 habanero pepper stem removed
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt divided
- 1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 3/4 tsp coarse ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup honey
- 4 salmon filets 6 ounces, center cut, skin on
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- In carafe of small blender or food processor, add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, garlic cloves, habanero pepper, 1 ¼ teaspoon salt, all the spices, 1 tablespoon each orange juice and lemon juice. Blend until garlic is broken down and you have a thick paste.
- Add in honey and blend again. Mixture should be the texture of barbeque sauce.
- Pat salmon filets dry and place on a lined sheet pan.
- With a pastry brush, brush jerk marinade onto top and sides of salmon.
- In a small bowl, mix halved tomatoes, 1 tablespoon jerk marinade, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Place onto a sheet pan around salmon filets. Cook until the center of salmon is barely translucent and outside flesh flakes easily or until it registers 140F on a digital thermometer, about 10 minutes. (If not eating the skin, gently slide a spatula between the skin and flesh, leaving the skin behind.)