Although this recipe appeared in Floyd’s American Pie, it is so brilliant that I am including it here too. When we were in Hobart, my director, David Pritchard, was served a local fish, called a Trevally, which is rather like bream, cooked in this deliciously blackened way.

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Ingredients

  • 350 g (12 oz) unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 × 225–275 g (8–10 oz) fish fillets, preferably snapper or bream, cut about 1 cm (½ pint) thick

For the Seasoning Mix

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano

Method

Heat a large, heavy, cast-iron frying pan over a very high heat for at least 10 minutes, or until it is beyond the smoking stage and you can see white ash in the bottom – the pan cannot be too hot for this dish.

While the pan is heating, pour 2 tablespoons of the melted butter into each of 6 small ramekins. Put to one side and keep warm. Put all the ingredients for the seasoning mix into a small bowl and mix together well.

Dip each fish fillet into the remaining melted butter, coating both sides well. Sprinkle the seasoning mix generously over both sides of the fillets, patting it in with your hands.

Cram as many fillets into the heated frying pan as will fit comfortably in one layer and pour 1 teaspoon melted butter on top of each one – but be careful when you do this as the butter may flame up. Cook, uncovered, over a high heat for 2 minutes or so, or until the underside of the fish looks charred. The time will, of course, vary depending on the fillets’ thickness and the heat of the pan. Turn over the fish and again pour 1 teaspoon melted butter on top. Cook for about 2 minutes more, or until the fish is done. Repeat with the remaining fillets.

Serve each fillet while piping hot. Put one fillet and a ramekin of butter on to warmed plates. Accompany with some boiled rice.

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