The first time I'd heard of blackened fish, I was sure it meant that a fish was overcooked so much that it was charred to a nearly inedible state. I didn't understand why someone would want to advertise their lack of cooking prowess by sharing that they made blacked fish.
And then I discovered that "blackened" doesn't actually mean charred, at least when it comes to fish. It means a certain type of cooking method and spice mixture used in Cajun cooking.
Blackening is a great way to make a bland piece of fish taste delicious. Typically blackened fish is made with butter, but I make mine with coconut oil, as we're dairy free.
I've included two different blackened fish seasoning recipes. The first is one I like better, but the second is good as well. I've included both so that if you're out of a certain ingredient in one, you'll still likely to be able to make the other. (The first time I made blackened fish, I was out of oregano, the second time I was out of mustard seeds.) The seasoning is more than you need for one batch of fish, mix it up and store it for future use. It is also great on chicken.
The standard blackened fish recipe is really spicy, but I don't like my food to be so burning hot, so use more or less hot pepper, whether a mix of white, black, and red pepper, or just one of the above, depending on your preference.
Fish, either fillet of white fish, or a whole, smaller fish (i.e. tilapia, sole, perch, hake, catfish, etc...)Coconut oil
Blackening Seasoning I
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2-2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
Blackening Seasoning II
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1-4 teaspoons hot pepper, whether black, white, red, or cayenne
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons thyme
1. Slather either whole fish or fillets with coconut oil.
2. Sprinkle a liberal amount of blackening seasoning onto both sides of the fish.
Instructions II (which I prefer):
1. Heat up a cast iron skillet for 5-10 minutes, or until it is starting to get white from the heat.
2. Spread coconut oil on both sides of the fish, then sprinkle both sides liberally with blackening seasoning.
4. Place the fish into the really hot skillet.
5. Leave the fish cooking in the skillet, undisturbed, for 5-10 minutes (thicker pieces take longer to cook). Do NOT pick up the fish during this time, or you will cause it to fall apart.
6. Carefully flip over the fish with a spatula to cook the other side for another 5-10 minutes.
7. Remove from the pan.
8. Serve and enjoy!
This is my blackened whole tilapia.
This is blackened perch fillet.
Ever have blackened fish before? Homemade or at a restaurant/as a guest? What type of fish was blackened? Do you like spicy foods, or more bland? Do you think this is something you'd try?