Blackening fish is an easy method of cooking them in a seasoned skillet to produce a dark-brown exterior and a wonderfully moist interior. Although the blackened fish may look slightly burned, if cooked properly it will taste heavenly. While the use of a cast-iron skillet is preferred, a sauté pan also can be used with good results.
This recipe was originally published in "Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook," and is used with permission.
- 1/2 Cup good-quality white wine
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4 8-ounce redfish fillets (catfish, cod, grouper, halibut, salmon, tilapia and tuna will also work)
- 2 Tablespoons Creole seasoning, divided
- recipe maître d'hôtel butter
Maître d'Hôtel Butter
- 1/4 Pound unsalted butter, left at room temperature until very soft
- 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
- 2 Tablespoons Italian parsley leaves, minced
- 1 Tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon shallots, minced
- 1 Teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1/4 Teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Combine the wine and melted butter. Place the mixture in a rimmed baking sheet and set it aside.
Place an empty seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, evenly distribute the 2 tablespoons of Creole seasoning mix on both sides of the four fillets, rubbing ½ tablespoon onto each fillet.
After the skillet has been on the burner for three or four minutes, it should be hot and just starting to smoke. Place two of the fillets in the skillet and cook until each is dark golden on both sides but slightly undercooked, about 1½ minutes per side. (The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish.)
Transfer the cooked fillets to the rimmed baking sheet with a broad, large and sturdy spatula and set them aside. Cook the remaining two fillets as you did the first two, and transfer them to the baking sheet as well.
Place the pan with the four fillets, uncovered, in the oven and bake until they are just cooked through, about five minutes. To test for doneness, insert the tip of a thin-bladed knife into the thickest part of the fillet for approximately10 seconds. Remove the knife and lay the tip of the blade flat against the inside of your wrist. If the tip feels hot against your skin, the fish is done.
Serving Suggestion: Serve the fish immediately, topped with rounds of maître d’hôtel butter, using 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter for each serving.
Maître d'Hôtel Butter
Combine all ingredients together in a medium-size mixing bowl, whisking until well blended.
Serving Suggestion: Use immediately, or roll in waxed or parchment paper into a log that is about 5 inches long and 1¼ inches in diameter, then wrap the log snugly in plastic wrap. The butter will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or frozen for up to two months.