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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.