The blackening technique made famous down in Louisiana involves coating the fish in butter, coating with seasoning, and cooking in a dry, smoking hot (at least 600°F) cast iron pan for just a couple minutes per side. This technique works best on thinner filets, and is only recommended outdoors or under a well-ventilated exhaust hood. Good chance of setting off your smoke detector if you do this indoors without a strong exhaust fan.
Blackening will toast and slightly char the spices the meat very quickly in 2-3 minutes per side. NOTE: For thicker fillets, chicken, etc., please see our Deep Brown Pan Seared Fish recipe.
This simple, yet amazing, technique is comfort food at its best.
Firm flesh fish filets about 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick (redfish, mahi mahi, grouper, catfish, tilapia)
Dizzy Pig Bayou-ish™
- Heat pan on well ventilated stove, hot grill, turkey fryer, or over the coals of a hot campfire. A cast iron pan is best. Everyone should own at least one. If cast iron is not available, a heavy bottomed pan made for high heat can be used.
- If necessary, cut filets into manageable pieces so they can be easily flipped with a spatula.
- Dredge fish through melted butter, or brush onto fish.
- Apply a moderate to generous coating of Bayou-ish. You can be surprisingly generous, as the intense heat will mellow the spices as they brown.
- When pan is smoking hot, lay seasoned fish in pan. Some folks will spoon more butter over the fish at this point.
- Smoke will pour off, and butter may catch on fire so be ready!
- Cook 2-3 minutes on the first side. Surface should be rich dark brown and black in places.
- Carefully flip, and cook for slightly less time on the second side (it will brown more quickly once hot).
- Remove and rest for a couple minutes, then eat immediately.