Recipe: Blackened Swordfish with Cajun Rice

Fish Dish: Blackened Swordfish with Cajun Rice and Crème Fraîche Tarter Sauce.

Contrary to popular belief "blackening" food is not an age old Cajun or Creole cooking technique. It is, however, born from the imagination of one of America's most important chefs, Paul Prudhomme.

Blackened anything has been seen on menues across the nation ever since Chef Prudhomme made Blackened Redfish the signature dish at K Paul's, his famous French Quarter restaurant. The techinque is as risqué for the cook as it is for the dinner as it temps both with high heat and a touch of danger.

The first thing you should do when attempting any blackened dish is open the closest window and turn your hood vent to HIGH. Coat your swordfish generously with blackening seasoning (Paul Prudhomme's is available at your grocer or make one from scratch, the recipe for mine follows). Heat an iron skillet to medium-high to high, it should be smoking. Although traditional technique uses clarified butter, the purpose of this is to keep the dish healthy so I used canola oil, about 3 tablespoons. Add the swordfish; there should be LOTS of smoke.

After about 2 to 3 minutes turn your fish; it should looked nearly burnt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. If you are cooking on electric you may want to remove the pan from the burner for about 30 seconds until the temprature levels out. Remove the fish to a plate. Add finely diced onions, celery and bell pepper to the pan and saute briefly before adding brown rice. Toss until heated through and season with a pinch more of the blackening seasoning.

The tarter sauce was easy. I added a tablespoon of Mrs. Renfro's Hot Chow Chow to 3 tablespoons homemade Crème Fraîche. Using the same ratio you can add pickle relish to mayo to make a less fancy tarter sauce.

Blackening Seasoning from Third Coast Cuisine

6 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon each finely ground black pepper, finely ground white pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and celery salt
Mix together and store in an airtight container.
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