• Tommy Centola

Try something new in the kitchen

Blackened Redfish is a dish that swept the country in the early 1980’s. It became the signature dish at Chef Paul Prudhomme’s French Quarter restaurant K-Paul’s. The first night on the menu, he sold 30-40 orders. It was a hit from day one.

He started working on the dish while he was helping to create the menu at Mr. B’s Bistro. They feature a wood burning grill in the restaurant. Chef Paul developed the seasoning and cooked it on the grill. When he opened K-Paul’s, he did not have a wood burning grill. After trying different cooking methods, he came upon a white hot cast-iron skillet to create his signature dish. The dish became so popular around the country, it caused the redfish to be banned from commercial fisherman to protect it from becoming extinct. Many chefs turned to other fish and meats to continue this cooking trend.

Today I am sharing with you a few recipes. The first is for the seasoning itself. The second one is Blackened Redfish. The third is a take on the blackening method of cooking, Bronzed Grouper with Tasso Hollandaise

There are numerous blackening seasonings in the supermarkets these days. One of the most popular is Chef Paul’s Blackening Redfish Magic. I always like to make my own, so I can adjust the blend to my liking. Below is a recipe for Blackening seasoning for you to play with.

3 tablespoons Paprika

2 tablespoons Salt

1 tablespoon Granulated Garlic

4 teaspoons Black Pepper

2 teaspoons White Pepper

1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1 teaspoon Dried Thyme

1 teaspoon Italian Seasonings

Mix well and store in a jar with a tight lid. It will keep for a year.

Here is the recipe that started the blackening craze in the 1980’s. This dish is best cooked outdoors, due to the amount of smoke that is given off from the skillet. My friend, chef Frank Brigtsen, said in the early days, they had to wear goggles in the kitchen due to the insufficient ventilation while cooking blackened redfish.

6 8oz Redfish Fillets

1 ½ sticks of melted Butter

Blackening Seasoning

Heat a cast iron skillet over very high heat beyond smoking stage. You will see white ash in the skillet bottom about least 10 minutes. The skillet can’t get too hot for this dish.

Dip each fillet in the melted butter so that both sides are well coated. Sprinkle a generous amount on the blackening seasoning evenly on both sides of the fillet, patting by hand. Place in the hot skillet and carefully pour 1 teaspoon of melted butter on top of each fillet (the butter may flame up). Cook uncovered over the same high heat until the underside looks charred, about 2 minutes (the time will vary according to the fillets thickness and heat of the skillet). Turn the fish over and again pour 1 teaspoon of melted butter on top. Cook until fish is done, about 2 minutes more. Repeat with remaining fillets. Serve piping hot with melted butter in a small dish for dipping.

Bronzing is a cooking method that is an off-shoot of blackening. The main difference is the heat of the pan. You don’t have to get the pan as hot. The fish does not have the same crust as blackening, but it has all of the flavor. It is safe to do in your kitchen, with the lower heat, there is no smoke given off in the cooking process.

I love to bronze grouper topped with a Tasso Hollandaise sauce. Here are the recipes for both.

4 8-ounce Grouper Fillets

1 stick Butter melted

Blackening Seasoning

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Dip grouper in butter.Season both sides with plenty of Blackening seasoning. Cook evenly on both sides until fish is flaky.

Tasso Hollandaise Sauce

2 Egg Yolks

1 Whole Egg

2 Sticks (1/2 lb) Margarine

1 Stick (1/4 lb) Butter

1 ½ teaspoon Lemon Juice

½ teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar

½ teaspoon Ground White Pepper

¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1 cup Tasso, diced

Melt butter and margarine over medium heat. Bring to a boil, remove from fire and allow to cool. Blend egg yolks, egg, vinegar, cayenne, white pepper, and lemon juice. With blender on, pour melted margarine/butter slowly into other ingredients. Blend to thicken. Add Tasso and keep warm until serving.

Both cooking methods work well with steak, chicken and other types of fish. Just be prepared for your smoke alarm to go off if you try to blacken in your kitchen. It is a sure way to test your batteries.

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