Cast Iron

Blackened Tilapia (or Catfish)

September 23, 2013
Photo by James Ransom
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
In This Recipe
  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.

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I'm the author of a book on the science and history of infancy, Baby Meets World. My website is; I tweet over at @nicksday. And if you need any good playdoh recipes, just ask.