Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Ragin' Cajun - Thursday Night's Dinner

Tonight was a particularly yummy meal. I normally don't make super yummy meals on Thursday nights. I try and safe up my mojo for company. But tonight I was on my game. In a big ol spicy way.

Here's what was cookin good lookin...

Blackened Tilapia
Maple Pecan Green Beans

First, the fish. This is supposed to be made with red fish but if you can't get red fish you should use catfish. But tilapia was on sale and it was lovely and I like it better because it is less fishy.

6 Tilapia filets
1 1/2 cubes unsalted butter
Chef Paul's Blackened Redfish Magic Seasoning (sold in the spice aisle in a white box with red and black lettering. 99% of grocery stores carry it)

You must cook this outdoors. Place a well seasoned cast iron skillet on the burner attached to your propane gas grill or on top of the grill directly on the highest heat possible. Let it heat up for about 15 minutes. This may seem extreme. That's the idea. You want to get this dry, iron skillet white hot. Please make sure you use extreme safety in making this dish. My Dad has a severe burn scar from it and I burn myself each time I make this. I currently have a blister on the knuckle of my left ring finger. Anyway, get the skillet white hot, as hot as it can get. Melt 1 cube of butter in a flat dish. Dip fillet of fish in butter. Transfer to a small plate. Cover each side with Blackened Redfish seasoning. Lay into the skillet. Tons of smoke will appear. Tons. Do not be alarmed. Your fish is not burning. The fat solids in the butter are smoking and magical things are happening on the underside of the fish. Do not worry. After about 3 minutes flip it over. Cook for about another 4 to 5 minutes. You can flip it one more time to ensure even cooking and blackening if needed. Melt the other 1/2 cube of butter. Serve fish sizzling hot with a side of melted unsalted butter. Diners are to dip the bites of fish lightly in the melted butter like you would lobster. Prepare to die from delight.


I am neither Cajun or Creole. I do not hail from any Southern portion of our country. I have only visited New Orleans once. So I know better than to try and make this complicated dish from scratch. Here's what I do.

1 pkgs Aidelle's Andoulie Chicken Sausage (fully cooked)
1 onion
1 can diced tomato with onion and bell pepper
1 package Zataran's Jambalaya Rice

Saute onion in a little bit of olive oil until soft. Slice up sausage and brown it up with the onion. Pour in tomatoes, reserving juice. Add juice and enough water to make 2 1/2 cups. Make zataran's according to directions. I always stir in a little bit of Greek yogurt at the end to cut the spice for the girls. If it was just adults, we'd be fine with the level of heat.

Maple Pecan Green Beans (from my cousin Susan of who got it from Real Simple)

2 pounds green beans trimmed and washed.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 TB maple syrup
2 TB red wine vinegar
2 TB Dijon mustard
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Toasted chopped pecans (enough to incorporate into dish and decorate top for serving)

Make a dressing of oil, syrup, vinegar and mustard. Steam beans until desired tenderness. Toss in dressing with pecans. Serve in a bowl with a few pecans thrown on the top to make it look pretty.

I agree with Susan that these were awesome. They are sweet & sour and make a perfect side dish for any southern dish due to the pecans and maple. You could serve them hot or cold. I served them at room temperature.

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