Blackened Tilapia (or Catfish)

By • September 23, 2013 5 Comments

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Author Notes: Very loosely adapted from the Gourmet Cookbook, who in turn got it from Paul Prudhomme, of course. I leave out the cayenne; add a few pinches if you want. And yes, it will be smoky. Nicholas Day

Serves 2

  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 8-ounce fillets of tilapia or catfish (frozen is fine -- just thaw and pat it dry)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the paprika, thyme, oregano, salt, and sugar. Pat the fish dry, then sprinkle both sides of it with the spice mixture. The fish should be entirely coated.
  2. In a cast-iron pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the butter and wait until it stops foaming. Then add the fillets and let them cook without bothering them, except for flipping halfway through -- after about three minutes. They should take between six and eight minutes to cook in total. Serve as soon as possible.

More Great Recipes: Fish & Seafood|Entrees|Fish

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Comments (5) Questions (0)


2 months ago Frank

This is not how you blacken fish! It has to be done outside over very high heat with a dry cast iron skillet. You have to heat the skillet until you start to see tiny white sparks coming off the metal. You trim the thin edges off the fish. Dip it in melted butter and then the seasoning blend. Put the filet in the dry pan and pour a tablespoon of melted butter over it and stand back because it will flame up. Flip the fish and do the same on the other side. What you describe is what Prudhomme called "bronzed fish". And the true method of blackening fish will take all the seasoning out of your cast iron, so it must be re-seasoned afterward or it will rust. And cayenne is a must in the seasoning blend. If you can't take the heat - use less.


over 1 year ago frank

gotta have cayenne in blackened fish! I like to do this outside so the house doesn't fill with smoke.


almost 2 years ago Lauren

I've made this recipe several times, but I marinate the tilapia in milk for an hour before coating. It does wonders for the flavor! Serve with apple slaw and some cheese grits- and you've got a delicious (albeit perhaps plebian, but who cares!) Southern meal.


over 1 year ago Ashley Marie

Soaking it in milk - genius! Thanks!


almost 2 years ago Emilie Maierhofer

What would you pair this with to make a meal?