Blackened Fish

 When I was little cast iron skillets were all that we had at my house.  I recall that cast iron was what I always had to wash.  I hated trying to scour them to the point where they met my mom's inspection.  At some point in my married life, I ended up with a cast iron skillet.  They are perfect when you want to prepare blackened fish.

We prepare it outside on the burner of the barbecue! You want the skillet to be super hot.  There is not oil in the skillet, no nothing!  Just bare metal.

The recipe called for redfish or red snapper.  I couldn't find either variety on Saturday so I bought Ling Cod.

Blackened Fish

6 (9 oz) redfish fillets (red snapper may be substituted)
12 bay leaves, finely crushed
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 oregano
1/4 thyme
1/2 granulated onion
1/2 granulated garlic
3 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 sticks butter, melted

Dry the fish fillets and chill them in the refrigerator.  Redfish is excellent for this recipe but any heavy-bodied firm fish will work fine. The important thing to remember is the size of the fillet.  It cannot weigh less than 8 ounces or more than 12 ounces; otherwise it doesn't cook properly.

Place a cast iron skillet or iron Dutch oven on the burner and turn the heat up to high.  A cast iron skillet/Dutch oven must be used.  No other metal can take the heat.  Prepare the fish outside as there is also a lot of smoke.  Using a grill outdoors is ideal.  The skillet should be almost white hot, hot enough to see a "flame circle" in the center.  Remember the pot is bare:  no oil, shortening, etc.  Just bare metal.

Lay the fillets on a sheet of waxed paper.  Mix all of the above ingredients (except the butter) in a small bowl.  Sprinkle the mix over the fillets.  Do it lightly, but distribute the mixture evenly.  Then dip the fillets in the melted butter so that they are completely coated.  Immediately drop them into the hot skillet or Dutch oven.

The fish will sputter and jump and sizzle and smoke, that is what it is supposed to do!  It will be quick, too.  In about  one minute it will be time to flip the fillet over.  The cooked side should be dark brown, almost charred.  That's the way you want it.  Cook the flip side another 40 seconds to a minute and remove the fillet from the skillet.  Your blackened fish is done!

Judge the amount of time by the thickness of the fish.  It may take a little longer.


This is a spicy fish.  Coleslaw is a perfect accompaniment to the fish.

Don't send that cast iron skillet to the Goodwill.  
Put it to good use preparing Blackened Fish!!

I am participating in Foodie Friday at Designs By Gollum.  Thank you Michael for hosting us each Friday!


  1. I've always been a little scared of making blackened fish myself, although I love it. Now that spring's really here, I have just the encouragement to give it a go. Thanks for inspiring.

    (And I do indeed have a well-seasoned iron skillet!)

  2. With some recipes only an iron skillet will do. Fried chicken is one, Yorkshire pudding is another. Now blackened fish. I have a whole set of them, wouldn't give them up for anything!

    Great recipe; I really like all the herbs!

  3. I remember my mother's cast iron skillets too. I couldn't help but chuckle when I read about your washing them. I wasn't allowed to clean them. I couldn't meet her standards. Today we use several cast iron skillets in our kitchen.

    Your photos are fabulous. I've always been a little afraid of making blackened fish as Rosemary stated above.

  4. I often marinate fish to just sosysauce and calamondin. This would be a change.

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  5. Kate, really looks tasty!! Thanks for coming by my blog and your kind comment. Happy Mother's day to you!

  6. I was the lucky one to inherit both my mother's and my grandmother's cast iron skillets. My cousin has one from my great-grandmother from the late 1800s!

    While I can no longer use them on top of my glass-topped stove, I do bake with them, use them on the grill and when camping. Your blackenend fish technique is spot on!

  7. My family used only cast iron skillets too. I love the idea but I can't quite get the hang of using them for much. I wouldn't give them up though. Your fish looks fantastic!

  8. Looks delicious! My family is just now starting to enjoy fish, took them a long time to come around, and I know they will love your recipe!

  9. Oh my gosh, that fish looks wonderful! Great idea to do this on the BBQ... I think I'd be a little afraid to do it in the house. Ha! Mmm, I could eat this every night!


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