If you like a little kick in your food, blackening should be in your cooking repertoire.
It is so easy. It really isn't a cooking technique at all, but instead is the use of a spicy seasoning.
Blackened seasoning is a fiery mixture of herbs and spices. You can always pick up a premade blend at your local market. But if you would like to make your own blackened seasoning, it's really not hard to do. Just whisk together 2 teaspoons paprika and 1/2 teaspoon each of dried thyme, cayenne pepper, granulated sugar, salt and black pepper. For a little less heat, reduce the amount of cayenne and black pepper. (This mixture will store for several weeks, tightly sealed, in your spice cabinet.)
I like to generously season the meat with the blackened seasoning and then either sear it in a skillet over the stovetop or grill it. It's delicious on fish or chicken.
This recipe is the basic technique for blackening fish. Feel free to substitute chicken or your favorite fish for the catfish. Tilapia, salmon and swordfish all taste delicious blackened.
Jennifer Chandler is the author of "Simply Salads" (Thomas Nelson, $24.99) and "Simply Suppers: Easy Comfort Food Your Whole Family Will Love" (Thomas Nelson, $24.99). She is the national spokeswoman for French's Mustard and French's French Fried Onions. She lives in East Memphis with her husband and two daughters.
For the Remoulade Dipping Sauce:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
4 tbsp. ketchup
3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. finely sliced scallions
For the Blackened Catfish:
4 catfish fillets (6 oz. each)
4 tbsp. blackened seasoning
2 tbsp. olive oil
To make the Remoulade Dipping Sauce:
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the scallions. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To make the Blackened Catfish:
Season both sides of the fish with the blackened seasoning (see story.) In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Sear the fish on one side until the meat is well browned and releases easily from the pan, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn over the fillets and cook until desired doneness, about 5 more minutes. Serve warm with a spoonful of the remoulade dipping sauce.
Do ahead: The remoulade dipping sauce can be made up to three days in advance. Cover and refrigerate until just before serving.
Source: "Simply Suppers" by Jennifer Chandler