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Southern Fried Salmon

Southern Fried Salmon with Seafood Mac and Cheese Recipe


Welcome to our indulgent and comforting recipes section! Today, we’re sharing a delicious Southern-inspired dish: Southern Fried Salmon paired with a decadent Seafood Mac and Cheese. This dish combines crispy, flavorful salmon with a rich, creamy, and cheesy pasta loaded with shrimp, lobster, and crab. Perfect for a special dinner or a comforting meal, this recipe is sure to impress. Let’s get started!



For the Southern Fried Salmon:

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

For the Seafood Mac and Cheese:

  • 4 cups elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups shrimp, deveined and without shells
  • 3 to 4 lobster tails, pre-cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup crab, pre-cooked and cut into pieces
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Italian dried herb seasoning
  • 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp Tabasco
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk, lukewarm
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth, lukewarm
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar, grated
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 cup Gouda, grated
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • A handful of parsley, chopped


Step 1: Prepare the Seafood Mac and Cheese

  1. Cook Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the elbow macaroni and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook Seafood: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the shrimp, lobster, and crab. Cook until the shrimp turn pink and the seafood is heated through, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  3. Sauté Onions and Garlic: In the same skillet, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the chopped white onion and garlic, and sauté until fragrant and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Make Roux: Sprinkle the flour over the onion and garlic mixture and stir constantly for 1-2 minutes to create a roux.
  5. Add Milk and Seasonings: Gradually whisk in the lukewarm milk, half and half, evaporated milk, and chicken broth. Continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth and begins to thicken. Add the Italian herb seasoning, cayenne pepper, paprika, Old Bay seasoning, Cajun seasoning, salt, black pepper, and Tabasco. Stir well.
  6. Add Cheese: Reduce heat to low and gradually add the sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, Gouda, Gruyere, and Parmesan cheese, stirring until melted and smooth.
  7. Combine: Add the cooked pasta and seafood to the cheese sauce, stirring gently to combine. Pour the mixture into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish.
  8. Top with Breadcrumbs: In a small bowl, combine the Panko breadcrumbs with a bit of melted butter (optional) and sprinkle evenly over the top of the mac and cheese.
  9. Bake: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Bake the mac and cheese for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and bubbly.

Step 2: Prepare the Southern Fried Salmon

  1. Marinate Salmon: In a shallow dish, pour the buttermilk over the salmon fillets, ensuring they are fully coated. Let them marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare Breading: In another shallow dish, combine the flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Heat Oil: In a large skillet, heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.
  4. Bread Salmon: Remove the salmon fillets from the buttermilk, allowing any excess to drip off. Dredge the fillets in the seasoned flour mixture, coating them evenly.
  5. Fry Salmon: Carefully place the salmon fillets in the hot oil and fry until golden brown and crispy, about 4-5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Transfer the fried salmon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Step 3: Serve

  1. Plate: Serve the Southern Fried Salmon alongside the rich and creamy Seafood Mac and Cheese.
  2. Garnish: Garnish with freshly chopped parsley if desired.
  3. Enjoy: Enjoy your indulgent Southern Fried Salmon with Seafood Mac and Cheese!

Cooking Notes and Tips

  • Marinating: Marinating the salmon in buttermilk helps to tenderize the fish and adds flavor.
  • Oil Temperature: Ensure the oil is hot enough before frying the salmon to achieve a crispy exterior.
  • Cheese: Feel free to use your favorite cheeses in the mac and cheese. Mixing different types adds depth of flavor.


Spicy Southern Fried Salmon

Add extra cayenne pepper to the flour mixture for a spicier kick.


Vegetable Mac and Cheese

Add sautéed vegetables such as bell peppers, mushrooms, and spinach to the mac and cheese for added nutrition and flavor.


Bacon-Topped Mac and Cheese

Add crumbled bacon on top of the mac and cheese before baking for a smoky flavor.


Lemon Herb Salmon

Add lemon zest and chopped fresh herbs to the buttermilk marinade for a fresh and zesty flavor.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I make the mac and cheese ahead of time?

Yes, you can assemble the mac and cheese ahead of time. Cover and refrigerate it before baking. When ready to bake, add an extra 10-15 minutes to the baking time.

How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftover mac and cheese and fried salmon in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.

Can I freeze the mac and cheese?

Yes, you can freeze the mac and cheese before baking. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking as directed.

What can I serve with this dish?

This dish pairs well with a simple green salad, garlic bread, or roasted vegetables.

How can I make the mac and cheese healthier?

Use whole wheat pasta, reduce the amount of cheese, and add more vegetables to make the mac and cheese healthier.

Southern Fried Salmon paired with rich and creamy Seafood Mac and Cheese is an indulgent and comforting meal that’s perfect for any occasion. With its crispy salmon and decadent pasta, it’s sure to be a hit with family and friends. Enjoy making and sharing this delicious dish with your loved ones!


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If you loved this Southern Fried Salmon with Seafood Mac and Cheese recipe, be sure to check out our other indulgent and comforting recipes. Happy cooking!