"Blackening" is a method for cooking fish, chicken or steaks, attributed to New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme.
There is a common misconception that blackening is traditional Cajun, but it was actually
Prudhomme who developed it.
Blackening is a unique method. The food is dipped in melted butter and then
dredged in a mixture of herbs and spices (usually thyme, oregano, chile, peppercorns and salt),
then cooked in an extremely hot cast-iron skillet. Blackening Seasoning creates a spicy smoked dish
with a visually appealing rich, brown-black color, which results from the combination of browned milk
solids from the butter and charred spices. The charred spices create a crust that seals the juices
inside and the outcome is the most delightful, mouthwatering, memorable taste.
- 6 redfish fillets no more than 3/4 in thick (or fillets from fish with a large texture, i.e. catfish or halibut)
- 1/2 lb clarified butter, melted
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
- 3/4 tsp freshly-ground white pepper
- 3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
- Thoroughly combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over very high heat beyond the smoking stage.
- Meanwhile, pour two tbsp of melted butter in each of 6 small dishes. Set aside and keep warm.
- Dredge each fillet on both sides in the reserved melted butter, and coat well. Sprinkle seasoning mix
generously and evenly on both sides, patting by hand.
- Heat the serving plates in a 250 deg F oven.
- Place in the hot skillet and pour 1 tsp melted butter on top of each fillet (careful because
the butter may flare up). Cook, uncovered over the same high heat until the underside looks charred,
about 2 minutes. The time will vary according to the fillet thickness and the heat of the skillet).
Turn the fish over and again pour 1 tsp butter on top; cook until fish is done, about 2 minutes more.
Repeat with remaining fillets.
- Serve each fillet while piping hot. To serve, place fillet and a ramekin of butter on each heated serving plate.
- YIELD: Serves 6.
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Last updated: October 12, 2010