Monday, February 13, 2017

Blackened (whatever)

Back in late '80s, early 90s, Chef Paul Prudhomme of New Orleans popularized a form of cooking known as blackening.  We'll let Wikipedia tell you about it.
Blackening is a cooking technique used in the preparation of fish and other foods. Often associated with Cajun cuisine, this technique was popularized by chef Paul Prudhomme.[1] The food is dipped in melted butter and then dredged in a mixture of herbs and spices, usually some combination of thyme, oregano, chili pepper, peppercorns, salt, garlic powder and onion powder. It is then cooked in a very hot cast-iron skillet.
Chef K-Paul was a good cook, and heck of a chef, and a fine restaurateur. He combined cajun and creole recipes to highlight the culinary traditions of New Orleans.  At some point, he started cooking redfish, and his blackened redfish was quite the culinary phenomenon.

Some say that it is edible.

However, I don't especially care for it, and no one I know personally cares for it.  It's not cajun cooking.  I've tried it in several different varieties in several different restaurants, and it's simply  burnt.  In fairness, Chef K-Paul may have shad some magical touch, and I never had a chance to try it from the master's kitchen, but everywhere else I've tried it, I didn't like it.  Whatever it was, it tasted burnt.

My palate may not be quite as sophisticated as others, but if you pass the blackened (whatever), I'm liable to just pass it on by.


Counter Jockey said...

I tried blackened Mahi Mahi when House Six and I went to Hawaii. Don't think that culinary experience can be topped in the lower 48.

Anonymous said...

We tried to blacken fish exactly 1 time.
The cooking instructions went something like :
1. Dip some filets in butter and other smoke-producing flammables.
2. Heat an iron skillet until it glows so bright you can read by it.
3. Combine 1. and 2.
The resulting smokebomb drove us out of the kitchen, doubled over in laughter.
I guess it was okay, but we then realized what a great idea it is to have an industrial-strength smoke extraction fan over the stove, like the pros do.
- Charlie

Javahead said...

I like blackened fish, when done well. But a) you need to like spicy foods or you'll find it inedible b) it's quite possible to screw it up and make it inedible by everyone's standards.

Adding lots of spice is *not* a substitute for good technique. If you couldn't make a good, tasty, dish without them, no level of additional spicing and trendiness can help.

Bob said...

The blackened foods are often masked with remoulade sauce, I've noticed.