If you like a little kick in your food, blackening should be in your cooking repertoire.
It is so easy. It really isn’t a cooking technique at all … but instead is the use of a spicy seasoning.
Blackened seasoning is a fiery mixture of herbs and spices. You can always pick up a pre-made blend at your local market. But if you would like to make your own blackened seasoning, it’s really not hard to do. Just whisk together 2 teaspoons paprika and 1/2 teaspoon each of dried thyme, cayenne pepper, granulated sugar, salt, and black pepper. For a little less heat, reduce the amount of cayenne and black pepper. (This mixture will store for several weeks, tightly sealed, in your spice cabinet.)
Delicious on fish or chicken, I like to generously season the meat with the blackened seasoning and then either sear it in a skillet over the stove-top or grill it.
This recipe is the basic technique for blackening fish. Feel free to substitute chicken or your favorite fish for the catfish. Tilapia, salmon, and swordfish all taste delicious blackened.
In Memphis (my hometown), Soul Fish Café may be known for its fried catfish, but my favorite item on their menu is the blackened catfish. This is my homemade version along with the not-so-traditional remoulade they serve on the side to cut the heat.
For the Remoulade Dipping Sauce:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely sliced scallions
For the Blackened Catfish:
4 catfish fillets (6 ounces each)
4 tablespoons blackened seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
To make the Remoulade Dipping Sauce:
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the scallions. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To make the Blackened Catfish:
Season both sides of the fish with the blackened seasoning. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Sear the fish on one side until the meat is well browned and releases easily from the pan, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn over the fillets and cook until desired doneness, about 5 more minutes. Serve warm with a spoonful of the remoulade dipping sauce.
Do-Ahead: The remoulade dipping sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate until just before serving.