March 15, 2013
Food Fight Friday: Fried Halibut vs Blackened Redfish
By David Draper
The more faithful among us have a few short weeks of Lent to get through before we can get back to enjoying a medium-rare venison steak on Friday nights. Until then, it’s still fish on Friday, but I’m okay with that if it tastes anywhere near as good as these two dishes look.
I’ve really come to love a simple pan-fried fish, like this halibut caught on my Sitka blacktail deer hunt off Kodiak Island last fall. The fillet gets seared in a light film of shimmering canola oil, then flipped and basted with browned butter as it cooks all the way through until just flaky, yet still moist. In truth, you don’t even have to flip the fish, but I like to sear both sides so there’s just a bit of crunch to the outside. This particular piece was seasoned simply, with salt, garlic, and onion powder and black pepper.
The first step to a good blackened redfish fillet is opening the windows because it’s going to get smoky. Then get a heavy cast-iron pan smoking hot and drop in the fish. I coat my fillets with a healthy dusting of Cajun blackened seasoning from King Kooker to help the process along, then much like the halibut I like to finish the fish with a butter baste. But be careful, browned butter can go to burnt butter in the blink of the eye. It’s best to remove the pan from the heat and let it cool slightly before adding the butter.
Have you been sticking to your Lenten vows? If it includes fish on Friday, snap a photo and we’ll try to feature it here. Just send it, or a photo of your favorite wild-game dish to firstname.lastname@example.org.