BRIAN IN THE KITCHEN  brought to you by Stittsworth Meats

November 15 2011

Technique - Blackening

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Blackening is now a world-famous technique. In fact, "blackened redfish" became so popular at one point, that the redfish populations in the Gulf were almost decimated. You can substitute any firm flesh fish such as red snapper, grouper, tilefish, drum or even salmon. Of course, blackening doesn't just work with fish, you can do it to vegetables as well as most other sorts of foods or household items.

Here is a list of basic tips for blackening.

Fillets must be thin (1/2 inch or less) But if they're not, you can still do it, you'll just have to finish your fish off in the oven for a few minutes.

You must use a solid cast-iron skillet as any other dish might create a hazard or be ruined by leaving it on such high heat with nothing in it.

Do not do this if you don't want huge clouds of smoke and even fire on your range. You cannot use fresh herbs as they will char and become bitter instantly.

Although there a number of different ways to create a butter sauce in which to blacken your fish, here is a basic one for you to try. The amount will be good for about 2-3 fillets.

1 (or there about) cup unsalted butter
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp creole seasoning

1. Pat fillets dry and refrigerate to cool as butter sauce will adhere better when cold.

2. Melt butter and seasonings together over medium heat and allow to cool to a warm temperature. Meanwhile have the cast-iron skillet on high getting to where it even starts to smoke.

3. Dip each fillet in the butter sauce on both sides and carefully and briefly sear both sides in the skillet. You may need to finish your fish off in the oven depending on how things go. Just look at it as it cooks. A lot will depend on just how hot your skillet is.

4. Take your reserved butter sauce and brown in a hot skillet (a new one or the old one with or without the charred bits) and serve over the fillets garnished with lemon and parsley. Y