The art of blackening has been around for 30 years, when the late great Chef Paul Prudhomme created it in the 1980’s. Chef Paul, created this dish when people in New Orleans and surrounding areas saw redfish as an undesirable poor man fish. He had an idea of a way to reintroduce it to the masses and as they say “the rest is history.” Chef dipped a piece of redfish in butter, seasoned it with his own seasoning blend and cooked it in a hot skillet. That was the day blackened anything was created.
I personally grew up in a house where the only thing that was blackened was bologna and sausage because it was left in the skillet too long. (I actually like my sausage with that char, it has so much flavor.) It would not be until I got in to my final years of culinary school that I would master the secret technique of blackening.
Now, the back story on why it took so long is there’s a story that John Folse, another famous Cajun chef and Paul had some differences. Paul may have believed that he should have opened the first culinary program dedicated to the heritage of Cajun/ Creole cuisine. Well, John beat him to it and created the Chef John Folse Culinary Arts Institute at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, LA in 2001. We never had any of Prudhomme products in school even though he had the best andouille sausage on the market and a spice line that speaks to the heart of Louisiana cooking. Nevertheless, I would learn the technique from hitting the library.
I have witnessed the blackening technique done well and I have seen it done poorly. I have seen blackened spice mix done right and I have seen blackened spice mix done wrong. I have also seen every method believed to cause food to blacken properly. The sad thing is it’s not as complex as people make it. All you need is melted butter, Cajun/creole seasoning, a hot skillet and a small amount of patience and you will master the art of blackening. If you do not cook the item in a piping hot skillet you will achieve what is known as “bronze” which simply implies golden brown.
Below I created a Blackened Salmon Seafood Pasta that I did live on my cooking show Hunger Trap on Facebook Live. So, feel free to go to the grocery store, get the ingredients and cook along while watching the video.
This recipe, screams Louisiana cooking and will also dance on your taste buds. Blackening is not burning your food, if done proper you will toast the herbs and spices from your seasoning and achieve a flavor like no other. Do it wrong and you will have a bad bitter taste in your mouth because you burnt your food as opposed to blackening it.
Blackened Salmon Pasta
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 4 salmon filets 6-8 oz.
- 2 tablespoons creole seasoning 1 ½ teaspoons per filet
- 1 tablespoon rosemary chopped
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 zest of lemon
- 1 juice of lemon
- 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons capers drained
- ½ cup parsley chopped
- 1 lb. angel hair pasta cooked
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan plus more for garnish
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and lightly and rub over both sides of salmon. Season salmon evenly on both sides with creole seasoning, sprinkle rosemary evenly on all fish.
Heat a non-stick skillet over high heat, once skillet is hot place 2 tablespoons of butter in skillet add salmon add salmon skin side down and cook for 2 minutes, flip and cook for 1 minute. Remove and sit to the side. (If you have a small skillet repeat this step and sit salmon to the side.)
Reduce heat to medium add shallots to skillet and cook for 1 minute, stir in garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, chicken stock and capers. Cook for 1-2 minutes until sauce begins to thicken, add salmon back to skillet and baste with sauce. Cut off heat and let rest while you make alfredo.
In a sauce pot over medium heat add all ingredients to pot, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium heat, mixture should coat the back of a spoon. Reheat pasta over medium heat for 1 minute then stir in pasta sauce, coat evenly and serve garnish with parsley, parmesan and enjoy!
You can serve this dish over rice, zucchini pasta or a side salad. Note: Caution do not let the cream boil over. It could cause a major fire.