I am celebrating Catfish day on my blog. Melville, La is Catfish town town since it was founded on the river bans and once home of many fisheries.
Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme is said to have invented the dish in 1980 because his little New Orleans restaurant, K-Paul’s, lacked a grill. Prudhomme wanted to grill his redfish, so what to do?
He decided to get a cast-iron frying pan screaming hot — and when I mean screaming hot, I mean so hot that “white ash starts to form on the edges of the pan.” That’s a direct quote from Prudhomme’s recipe. What now? Dip the fish in butter — butter?! The cooking fat with one of the lowest smoke points around?! — and then in Cajun spices, The milk solids in the butter, along with the spices themselves, char almost instantly. It takes only 3 to 5 minutes to cook a normal fish fillet.
Simple Blackened Catfish:
- 4 catfish fillets or skinless fillets of other fish
- ▢1/2 cup melted butter
- ▢1/2 cup Cajun seasoning
- Get a cast-iron frying pan hot over your hottest burner. Turn the stove fan on high, and open the windows nearby, as this creates smoke. Let the frying pan get hot for a good 3-4 minutes. While the pan is heating up, melt the butter and pour the Cajun spices into a shallow dish.
- Dip the fish fillets in the melted butter, then dredge in the Cajun spices. Shake off any excess. Do this for as many fillets as will fit in the frying pan; I find that 4 normal fillets is as much as it will hold. Lay the fish down on the hot pan. It will sizzle up fiercely and smoke. This is normal. Let the fish cook this way for 2-3 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, carefully flip the catfish fillets and cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes.
Cajun seasoning mix recipe:
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly-ground white pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
Mix well together.