Our praises to Paul Prudhomme, New Orleans chef extraordinaire, who delighted a generation of gourmands with his inspired Louisiana Cajun cuisine. His life and times make quite a story. It’s worth the read in his New York Times obituary.
We decided to blacken our tuna steaks in the style of Paul Prudhomme’s famous blackened red fish recipe. It takes a little work, but is lots of fun!
Blackening fish was conceived to be cooked outside (as in your backyard) in a cast iron skillet or cast iron griddle heated over the wide open blow torch flame of a propane gas burner until the skillet is white hot (glows red at night).
Yes, this unique method of cooking produces much smoke! WARNING! Don’t try this inside your kitchen for fear of setting off smoke alarms with the cloud of pepper infused smoke!
With blackend fish the goal is a spicy crust and a rare center, much like a ‘black and blue’ steak charred on the outside and completely raw in the core.
First, the tuna steaks are dredged in melted butter then covered with a mixture of cajun style spices.
Next, the fish is quickly seared over a red-hot cast iron skillet for no more than 1-2 minutes per side depending on thickness of the filets.
- 2-6 large fresh tuna steaks
- 12 tbsp. grass-fed unsalted butter
- Salt and pepper
- Chef Paul Prudhomme Blackened Red Fish Magic Seasoning
- Or, spice mixture of you own, such as:
- sweet or smoked paprika
- salt and black or white pepper
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- cayenne pepper
- dried thyme leaves
- dried oregano leaves
Start with two large fresh tuna steaks. Salt generously and let stand for 5 minutes to bring moisture to the surface. Note, small frozen tuna filets will work, but large cuts go hand in hand with this robust, and almost outrageous, style of cooking.
The key to Cajun style blackening is a really, really hot grill. A propane fish cooker that can fire up like a blow torch is ideal. Actually, nothing can compare to this sure-fire method of heating the skillet or griddle to a temperature that is “hot as the hinges of Hades.”
Set the cast iron skillet or cast iron griddle over the wide open propane burner and heat for at least 10 minutes until ‘white’ hot. The surface should glow red in the dark. We used our Lodge cast iron griddle for the task at hand.
Prep the Fish
While the griddle heats up, combine your spice mixture into a small bowl and set aside.
Melt the butter in a microwave proof baking dish and reserve 4 tablespoons in a separate small bowl.
Dredge the filets in melted butter and press generous amounts of the spice mixture into each side.
Use reserved some butter to baste the filets while they are cooking.
Sear the Tuna
Sear the steaks for about 1 minute, then turn. It doesn’t take long, especially if rare is the target.
Finish the Sear
Turn the steaks using a long handled spatula on tongs and drizzle with melted butter. Watch for the fireworks!