Within recent memory, a great deal has been made of “American cooking” To my mind, two of the greatest “new” dishes to appear in popular culture are Buffalo chicken wings, distinctly a Yankee creation, and blackened redfish. The latter, of course, is the creation of my good friend Paul Prudhomme, owner of K. Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans, who prepared it in my front yard for one special celebration.
“Once a year when I was a child,” he explained, “my father would take all thirteen of us kids on a camping trip in Louisiana. Naturally, we did our own cooking, always in a black iron skillet and over an open fire. We’d catch fresh fish and cook it out of doors, and it always had an incredibly good, smoky taste. It never tasted that good at home, so I decided to create my own smoky flavor with the fish I had at hand, mostly redfish or red snapper.”
If there is no redfish or red snapper to be had, tilefish cut into thin fillets works admirably well.
© 1987 Craig Claiborne estate. All rights reserved.