Karen’s Cajun- Style Blackened Redfish with Summer Herbs in a Cast Iron Skillet
Cajun Seasoning Enlivens Red Fish – Blackened in Minutes in a Cast Iron Skillet. Glazed with a Browned Butter Pan-Sauce with Garlic and Many Summer Herbs.
See my Recipe: Karen’s Best Cajun Seasoning Blend
MY RECIPE has all the flavor – yet not using all the butter of typical recipes.
Chef Paul, who I have admired, used 2 sticks of butter for a serving of four!
Making you own seasonings has two advantages!
- Your ingredients will be freshly ground
- You can make it salt-free, and add the salt level you wish. MANY seasoning blends have salt as the first and most prominent ingredient, not mine!
How lucky am I that The Local Catch comes to my local farmers’ market each Saturday in Greenwich, CT with the freshest, just caught fish!
I have visited their facility in Point Judith, RI – “New England’s best seafood: Wild, Local, Natural.”
Finishing the Dish:
The fish has been blackened – the butter-garlic sauce has been made – the fish gets tucked into the sauce.
Finishing Touches: A good squirt of fresh lemon juice and a topping of summer herbs – adds lots of flavor without too much butter.
Cook fish thoroughly until it is just opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Overcooking makes it dry and tough.
Some hints and tips for Blackening Fish:
- Food that is blackened isn’t burnt; it’s simply coated in a special spice blend that takes on a very dark brown, almost black color when cooked in a skillet, on a grill or in an oven.
- When cooking blackened fish of any kind, I prefer to use a cast-iron skillet because of how evenly it retains heat and how it creates a beautiful crust. If you don’t have one, you can also use a large nonstick skillet.
- Blackened seasoning is a blend of herbs and spices that tastes savory and spicy. It has garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and cayenne pepper which create a really nice spicy combination.
- What is the difference between Cajun and Blackened Seasoning? Both are seasoning mixes; however, cajun seasoning generally tends to be spicier. Many variations exists from cook to cook.
- When cooking in cast iron, a little oil should be added to the pan before adding the food. This prevents the food from sticking and allows for the development of spice layers.
- MAKE your own Cajun Seasoning for the freshest flavor!
- Blackening is different from grilling because it does not require an open flame and calls for a specific blend of species and herbs. Blackened food will also have a charred outer layer created by these seasonings, while grilled food will usually be charred in stripes.
- Redfish has a mild taste. and a medium-firm texture.
- Redfish swims as far north as Massachusetts, down the coast to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to northern Mexico.
Other fish to blacken: snapper, mahi, grouper, trout or even salmon.
History of “Blackened Redfish”
- Chef Paul Prudhomme, owner of K-Paul`s Louisiana Kitchen in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans developed the recipe for blackened redfish in his restaurant.
- It was not in the canon of Cajun cooking – chef Paul made it up!
- It became his signature dish. Now restaurateurs and home-cooks around the country are using his technique.
- Prudhomme simply fillets a redfish, a member of the bass family that is abundant in that area, coats it with a mixture of seasonings, then flash-fries it in seconds in a red-hot cast iron skillet. The skin of the fish is charred black, but the inside is moist and perfect.
Enjoy this special dish!
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Karen's Cajun- Style Blackened Redfish with Summer Herbs in a Cast Iron Skillet
Coating the Red Fish:
- 8 medium red fish fillets* (about 1.25 - 1.50 pounds) cleaned and dried
- 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter I use organic
- 4 teaspoons Karen's Best Cajun Seasonings (see recipe)
- 1 teaspoons sea salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon neutral oil I use safflower oil; expeller pressed
Finishing the dish:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter add more by tablespoon if you want (I think this is sufficient.)
- 2 tablespoons fresh garlic peeled and sliced
- 3 tablespoons fresh summer herbs** small leaves, or torn, or cut
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Add the redfish fillets to a large plate to hold. Brush the fillets on both sides with the 2 T. melted butter. Mix Cajun seasonings with salt - add seasonings evenly to both sides of the fillets.
- Brush cast iron pan with oil. Heat the cast iron skillet over medium high heat - TURN ON YOUR EXAUST FAN!
- Heat the pan until it is smoking and very hot. Add the fillets to the skillet. Cook until "blackened nicely underneath and quickly our them over with a spatula. Let cook in the second side until well blackened - then remove to a clean plate or baking sheet.
- Turn heat OFF underneath the pan, and let cool down. When no longer hot but warm - add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. When melted and the sliced garlic and give a big stir. Let the garlic cook and the butter will lightly brown - will cook for about 4 minutes.
- Add the fillets back into the pan, cover them with the Summer Herbs - baste with the garlic butter from the pan. (Check to make sure the fish flakes and has cooked through.) Pour the fresh lemon juice over the fish.
- Plate the fish on 4 individual plates - add some lemon wedges or slices. Serve with rice and a green vegetable.
My fillets were a medium size; so I'm serving 2 per person. Other firm species of fish you can blacken are: snapper, mahi, grouper, trout or even salmon. Summer Herbs: I'm using what I am growing ~ Fresh Dill, parsley, basil, thyme, marjoram, oregano and variegated sage. This recipe may not be reproduced without the consent of its author, Karen Sheer.