Not-Quite Blackened Tilapia
The first time I tasted tilapia was at The Inn at Le Rosier in New Iberia, Louisiana, where chef Hallman Woods III prepared it in a simply delicious manner. The second time was a Cajun inspired moment in my own kitchen, when I liberally spiced and semi-blackened up some. Originally, the tilapia available in markets was fished wild and had a salty, muddy taste. Nowadays the white-fleshed fish is farmer raised and sweet.
Wine: Monterey County (CA) Pinot Blanc
Beer: California pale ale
Working with a skillet that’s been heated over high heat for this length of time means you’ve got to take some precautions.
Total Timeunder 15 minutes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationegg-free, kosher, low carb, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free
Taste and Textureherby, light, savory, spiced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 4 tilapia fillets (about 6 ounces each)
- 4 lime halves, for garnish
Prepare the spice mixture: Combine all the ingredients for the spice mixture in a small bowl.
Place the melted butter in a bowl.
Heat a heavy nonstick skillet over high heat for 5 minutes (see Notes).
Meanwhile, dip the fish fillets in the butter. Sprinkle them allover with the spice mixture.
Reduce the heat very slightly and sear the coated fish, 2 fillets at a time until very dark brown and crispy, 2 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining 2 fish fillets.
Serve immediately, garnished with lime halves.
1997 Sheila Lukins