Blackened Redfish

The fish fillets must be no thicker than 1/2 inch. You MUST use a solid cast iron skillet. Be forewarned that the cooking process will create great clouds of smoke. Use only dried herbs in this recipe.

If you use salmon, substitute dill weed for the thyme in the butter sauce.


  • 6 redfish fillets, about 1/2 inch thick, skinned
  • 2 1/2 cups unsalted butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red (cayenne) pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf thyme
  • Curly-parsley sprigs
  • Lemon wedges


  1. Place fish fillets on a cutting board; trim off any thin edges and very thin tip of tail. If left on, these thin areas will char and break away. Pat fillets dry with paper towels; cover and refrigerate until ready to cook. The butter sauce adheres better to cold fillets.
  2. In a heavy 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt butter; add lemon juice, cayenne, salt, black pepper and thyme. Stir to blend seasonings; cool to lukewarm.
  3. Place an empty 10-inch cast iron skillet over HIGH heat until bottom has a definite white haze and begins to smoke slightly. Remove fish from refrigerator; dip 1 fillet in warm butter sauce, coating well. Place fish in hot skillet, taking care that spits and spatters do not burn you. The fish will sear and cook almost immediately. Turn fillet over; blacken other side. Repeat with remaining fillets no more than 2 at a time. Reserve remaining butter sauce.
  4. As fillets are cooked, place them on individual plates; keep warm. Remove and discard any accumulated butter sauce and charred bits between batches. When all fish have been cooked, quickly remove skillet from heat; discard any accumulated butter sauce and charred bits. Immediately place empty skillet back on heat. Add reserved butter sauce; carefully swirl skillet 5 or 6 times to blacken butter. Remove pan from heat; drizzle butter over each fillet.
  5. Garnish with parsley sprigs and lemon wedges.
  6. Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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