icon Blackened Redfish

"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
Blackening Seasoning:
  • 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


  1. Thoroughly combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet over very high heat beyond the smoking stage.
  3. Meanwhile, pour two tbsp of melted butter in each of 6 small dishes. Set aside and keep warm.
  4. 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.
  5. Heat the serving plates in a 250 deg F oven.
  6. 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.
  7. Serve each fillet while piping hot. To serve, place fillet and a ramekin of butter on each heated serving plate.
  8. YIELD: Serves 6.

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Last updated: October 12, 2010