11 September 2009

Make Your Own Cajun Blackened Seasoning for Fish or Chicken!

Photo of Cajun blackened drum fish from chef Paul Prudhomme
at his New Orleans restaurant K Paul's by wallyg @ flickr

From Denny: Seasoning spices are a personal thing for cooks everywhere. We all have our own way of doing things. Some like a lot of spice, others tone it down. OK, so my middle name is practically "garlic" but who's noticing, right?

Seriously, whenever I've moved out of Louisiana it was the seasonings I first missed. Sometimes, you can't get a hold of your favorite brand. Worse, you've traveled in America, experienced yummy New Orleans or Lafayette racetrack food, go back to Europe and no proper seasonings to be had on the grocery shelves. Then that wonderful taste experience starts to dim in your memory... Well, we can't have that! :)

Here are a few recipes to get you started. Try making a few and adjusting after you try it, that's what I always end up doing, adjusting to personal taste. You should be able to find these ingredients anywhere in the world....

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Cajun Blackening Seasonings RECIPES

Cajun Seasoning Recipe #1

This is a more exotic version of the traditional Cajun seasoning.


2 teaspoons ground paprika

4 teaspoons dried leaf thyme

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to your taste (if you can't find cayenne pepper then grind up and substitute red pepper flakes)

1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Simple Directions:

Place all ingredients in a jar and store in a cool dark place. Shake jar well before each use.

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Cajun Seasoning Recipe #2

This recipe is the traditional authentic early version of Cajun seasoning - before more exotic spices from other cuisines were added, like the Mexican cumin or nutmeg.

I use this one and add spices like turmeric and/or mild curry powder (Sharwood's brand is awesome) and New Mexico Chipotle Morita chile powder (available from dagiftbasket.com) and ground fresh coriander and some dried basil, sometimes some white pepper too. Hmmm... maybe I should start selling the Dennys Cajun Spice Blend! :)


1 heaping tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons salt

1 heaping teaspoon garlic powder

1 heaping teaspoon onion powder

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons black pepper

1/2 teaspoon leaf thyme

1/2 teaspoon leaf oregano


Mix the ingredients well and funnel into a shaker. Seal well and store in a cool dry place.

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Blackened Catfish Recipe

Serves: 6

Cook outdoors:  1/2 pound(2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted.

Seasoning Mix Ingredients:

3/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teasponn thyme

1 Tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon oregano

2 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon red pepper (cayenne)


Now you can cook this outdoors as it can flame up and get really hot. How I get around that is to either use clarified butter, getting rid of and skimming off the milk fat makes it so the butter can stand to be used at a higher heat. It also has the added benefit of ridding you of artery-clogging cholesterol! (Yay!)

If you don't want to use butter or are concerned about flame-up in the house or outside, try using any oil that can withstand high heat like peanut oil, a favorite with chefs for deep fat frying.

Preheat well-seasoned cast iron skillet on outdoor-cooker or inside on gas burner at least 10 minutes, until a white ash forms in skillet bottom. Thoroughly combine seasoning mix in a small bowl. Dip fillets in melted butter so that both sides are well coated. Then sprinkle seasoning mix generously and evenly on both sides of fillets, putting it in the frying skillet by hand. (What I do is mix the seasonings while the skillet is heating, dip the fillets in oil and sit them on a plate ready to go. That way you keep your focus on that unusually high heat you are using so there are no accidents.)

Place in hot skillet and add 1 tablespoon of butter/oil over the top of fillets. (Caution - if using unclarified butter it will flame.) Cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side until charred. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. (We like fresh lime juice in our house!)

Good eating!

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