Blackened Redfish

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:



Appears in

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1987

  • About

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.


  • 3 teaspoons salt, optional
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 8 skinless, boneless fillets of fish, preferably redfish, pompano, or tilefish (about ¼ pound each) (see note)
  • 10 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. Combine the salt, cayenne pepper, white pepper, black pepper, thyme, basil, orégano, and paprika in a small bowl.
  2. Dip the fish pieces on both sides in butter. Sprinkle on both sides with the seasoned mixture.
  3. Heat a black iron skillet over high heat for 5 minutes or longer (the skillet cannot get too hot) until it is beyond the smoking stage and starts to lighten in color on the bottom.
  4. Add 2 or more fish pieces and pour about a teaspoon of butter on top of each piece. The butter may flame up. Cook over high heat about 1½ minutes. Turn the fish and pour another teaspoon of butter over each piece. Cook about 1½ minutes. Continue until all the fillets are cooked. Serve immediately.