Blackened Fish Fillet with Bacon Raspberry Glaze
A recipe featured in the Taste of the Wild by Outdoor News from Ken McBroom
Blackened Fillet with Bacon Raspberry Glaze
From the author: This recipe is a great way to prepare your fish fillets. Big crappie, catfish, and any fish that is thick enough, maybe an inch thick, to withstand the blackening process will do.
The first time I saw the blackening process was in Alaska and it was used on some fresh coho salmon fillets. I watched a black cast iron skillet sit on a flame outside for a good five minutes before my friend plopped the fillet into the hot skillet. The trick to a moist fillet is hot and fast cooking, no more than two or three minutes per side. The hot skillet burns the spices while protecting the fillet inside, leaving a crispy spice crust on the outside and a moist, flaky fillet on the inside. If you do have a thicker fillet, a minute or two more will be needed per side.
The blackening technique, used in this recipe, is credited to chef Paul Prudhomme of New Orleans.
4 Catfish fillets (or freshwater fish fillets an inch thick)
1/3 lb. bacon
Spice Rub Blend: 2 teaspoons each of the following:
Dried rosemary, crushed
Fennel seed, crushed
1 teaspoon each of the following:
MIXING THE SPICES
This is the fun part of any blackening recipe. You can mix the ingredients listed or make your own. The blackening process is obviously a spicy dish and many people mistakenly think it has to be spicy-hot. This spice rub is a little hot, but you can leave out ingredients such as the cayenne pepper or chili powder.
PREPARING THE FILLETS
Cut your fillets into sections that will fit in your skillet with space to turn them. Rinse the fillets and pat them dry with a paper towel. Using another paper towel or a brush, completely cover the fillets with a light coat of olive oil. Apply the spice rub, liberally coating the entire fillet. The spices adhere nicely to the oil and will stay put while your fillet is cooking.
PREPARING THE SKILLET
A cast iron skillet works best for blackening. It distributes the heat more evenly, and stays hot longer. This is important to really blacken the rub quickly. Thoroughly heat the pan over hot coals and use fresh bacon grease (you will have some when you prepare the glaze) to coat the bottom of the skillet just before adding the fillets. Cook 2-3 minutes per side. If you have enough fillets that you need to do a second batch, be sure to wipe the skillet before adding more fillets for the second cook to remove any burnt bacon grease.
Bacon Raspberry Glaze Ingredients
5 slices bacon – dice and fry until crispy, then drain on paper towels (reserving grease for blackening process)
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
4 Tbsp honey
A few drops of white vinegar
A sprinkle of your blackening seasoning
1 handful fresh raspberries
MAKING THE GLAZE
This glaze compliments the spices in the blackened seasoning perfectly. Combine all of the ingredients listed above and stir together. Smash the fresh raspberries with a fork and add those. You could use raspberry jam to get the chunks of raspberries and the seeds. The seeds are a little bitter and helps tone down the sweetness a bit. The white vinegar does the same. I added the bacon to this recipe because of the sweetness and it really helped balance it out.
Serve blackened fish with a spoonful of the glaze and enjoy immediately. (Or skip the glaze and simply serve with tarter sauce.)
About the Author: Ken McBroom is a freelance outdoor writer and photographer based in Kentucky. For more information, please visit www.ramblingangler.com