Today’s TSP Item of the day is Chef Paul’s Blackened Redfish Magic Seasoning. Seldom do I get this excited about a seasoning blend, but this one is amazing. I remember Chef Paul on PBS as a kid, when PBS was one of only 4-6 channels that came in on our TV. If everything was right you could get two more on the UHF dial you know.
I had forgotten all about him, but last a few years ago on a fishing trip with my guide buddy Omar Cotter and two good friends we really got into the striped bass, as the photo at the end shows. I was talking to Patrick and Thad about how to make the striped bass fillets and Omar popped up with use Chef Paul’s Blackened Redfish Magic Seasoning. Now I have like 50 great ways to do fish but when a man that catches fish for a living says to try something, I have learned friken try it.
So I ordered up some of this stuff, when it came and I realized how big the 24 ounce can really was, I was like, “man I hope this as good as Omar says”. I popped it open and was instantly impressed. Most mass produced seasonings are powdered crap and lots of salt. The second I opened this I knew it was different. Two keys were appearance and smell. It reminded me of something I would mix up myself.
Then I tasted it, look, seriously I could eat this stuff by the pinch out of the container. No I ain’t kidding! Omar had suggested grilling the fillets skin side down and just putting some butter or oil on top and coating with this, cook till almost done all the way though and flip to finish. We do this with sand bass all the time with just say salt, pepper and garlic. We call it “sand bass on the half shell”.
But I could not get out of my head that the creator of this spice mix, Paul Prudhomme had almost single handily taken Redfish from being considered a “trash fish” to damn near extinction by making “Blackened Redfish” so popular. I realized for all my bad ass cooking I had literally never “blackened” anything, on purpose anyway. So I looked up how to do it, stupid simple! And you know that is almost always a recipe for awesome food.
The basics are coat the fish in butter, cover one side with seasoning and let it sit a bit. Now heat up butter in a pan till it is just starting to smoke. Lay the fish seasoning side down in the pan, coat the other side with butter and seasoning and cook until about 2/3rds done. Flip it and spoon some of the butter over the top and cook until finished.
Being my first time I wanted to try two different fish. So I took out one striper fillet and some snapper I had as well. I cut the damn near steak sized striper fillet in half, one for Dorothy and one for me. The snapper fillets were much smaller and thinner so I had one of those for each of us. I followed the procedure for both. Of course the snapper cooked much faster.
You know what, when we sat down to eat my world view of cooking fish changed just a little bit. How much did we like it? The next morning I took out some catfish fillets and blacked them that night. Here is the verdict on all three species….
- In the words of Dorothy, they are “effing delicious”! And yes she used the real “f word”.
- It is best to cook this outside you get a lot of smoke but I did it both inside and outside and it wasn’t that bad, but it did smoke up the kitchen. If you were cooking for a big group, I would not even consider doing it inside. My Ranger II Blind Stove did a great job on it outside.
- I think this works for any fish but the more “meaty” the better. The striper and snapper were both perfection. Amazing flavor but also perfectly moist, perfectly done and perfect texture. The catfish was good but being a little more delicate it lost a bit of texture.
Since I began this journey I have determined that the perfect fish for this stuff isn’t Redfish (which we all know is amazing). No, I think Mahi Mahi is the perfect fish for this, and luckily it is available at most stores. I have always viewed Mahi as best for cervechie or tacos, but now I love it blackened. I still am not a fan of catfish this way. I have tried it a few times and it really just doesn’t hold up to the heat, you either get it too mushy or under cooked. Now tilapia for you aquaponics people is another story. Best skin on and scaled, make a few slits in the skin and fry till the skin crips, flip for just a second and spoon over the pan butter.
Some other fish I know would do well with this method are cobia, as it is so steak like, swordfish and salmon. I am sure ahi tuna would be amazing too, but I have a very hard time cooking tuna, knowing that its highest purpose involves simply proper slicing and some wasabi, soy and ginger.
I am hard pressed to say what this stuff would not season well! The day it showed up all the fish was frozen and I made steak. While I used some of my own seasoning for the steaks, I roasted baby carrots in the oven. I hit them simply with olive oil and sprinkled this on them to give it a shot, amazing flavor.
Two other things I have made with it since I first ran this review are shrimp and scallops, here is how I did both. For the shrimp I pealed them and left the tails on. I brushed them with butter on both sides and put them in a zip top bag, added some seasoning and shook to coat well. Cooked hot and fast till just done and out of the pan. Second best shrimp I have ever had, second only to Jamaican Jerk Shrimp. For scallops, I put down a layer of the seasoning on a cutting board. Got a bowl with some melted butter. Coat the scallop in butter. Press both sides into the seasoning and strait into a very hot carbon steel pan. Sear until it starts to turn color about half way through, flip and sear about 30-60 seconds and remove. Oh man these things are show stoppers!
Tune in today and I will give the low down on doing it right in audio in our closing segment. I will also give you a secret about this seasoning that involves crab meat, bacon and jalapenos. But man if you love fish, give Chef Paul’s Blackened Redfish Magic Seasoning a shot. You can get the big 24 ounce can for the best value or get two 2 ounce bottles if you want to try a smaller amount first.
Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com
P.S. -Since first reviewing this it has become one of my go to seasonings for all meat and fish. It is amazing on steaks on my Blackstone Griddle, awesome on pork, etc. You really have to give this stuff a try. I did oysters on the half shell in Florida last year. Shuck, put on top of a hot charcoal grill with a bit of butter, a slice of jalapeno and a sprinkle of this in each shell. Cook over high heat till the butter melts and the oyster releases its liquor. Aaaaaaamazzzzzzzing!
P.S.S. – Thanks to an Amazon reviewer I do have the base recipe for Chef Paul’s red fish seasoning. He apparently published it in a book from 1984. I think it must be Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen because it is the only book by Chef Paul from that year.
Paul was an amazing guy an well ahead of his time. He was teaching young deer hunting red necks like myself how to cook in the days of rabbit ear television and PBS. Long before all these non reality TV shows with competitions and fake drama built into them. Anyway here is that recipe if you want to try rolling your own, thanks to Amazon reviewer Kabol, Johnathan N. for posting it.
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 3/4 tsp white pepper
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp fennel — or seeds crushed
Tasting the current mix I think this is a good base to work from and work up your own version, though I am about 100% sure changes have been made since 84. I may give it a try but honestly it will be hard to beat the pre packaged mix and I don’t think you can do it for less money. Again 24 ounces is a LOT of this stuff, I don’t think you can make it for yourself and save a thin dime doing so.
Sadly Chef Paul left us in 2015, but somewhere I think his spirit is smiling knowing that still today people are discovering or in my case rediscovering this awesome guy. A man that made southern cooking into simply American cooking over many awesome decades of his life. May we all leave such a legacy.