Made with Cajun Seasoning, fresh fish and a sticky, sweet honey glaze, this Blackened Fish recipe makes for the perfect Creole-inpsired dinner. You can use anything from Tilapia to catfish, and it will taste incredible! If you love easy fish recipes like this, try my Maple Glazed Salmon, Honey Bourbon Grilled Catfish, and Lemon Panko Crusted Fish.
Learn How to Make Blackened Fish especially Blackened Catfish!
I couldn’t tell you when I had my first plate of blackened catfish but I know it wasn’t at my Big Mama’s house. Usually Sunday afternoons spent at my Big Mama’s meant family lunches where the table was piled high with all my favorites. We ate buttered rolls, cheesy grits, smothered greens and catfish. The catfish was served fried or baked: each version more delicious than the last. When I went to New Orleans, I experienced blackened fish, and I haven’t looked back. The flavor is just out of this world!!
Though they might not happen as often, my family still puts together large lunches on Sundays. To fill the time in-between, I make weeknight catfish dinners. I wash my hands and work the fish just like I watched my Big Mama do it.
Today, I’m sharing one of my all-time favorite fish recipes: Honey Blackened Fish. It’s moist, sweet, salty and just about everything else you could want in a hunk of good fish.
What Does Catfish Taste Like?
I’m aware that many of my readers did not grow up in the South, nor were they raised in a Southern household (I won’t fault y’all for it). So, the idea of eating catfish can seem foreign and maybe even a little scary. I’m here to answer a few questions and ease your worries.
Catfish are a diverse group of ray-finned fishes; they can live in brackish water, saltwater and freshwater. One serving of catfish provides an adults’ entire day’s worth of vitamin B12. Catfish has a unique taste. It’s sweet, mild and moist with a firm flesh that has less flake than other whitefish.
Many people will say they don’t enjoy the “muddier” taste of catfish which, is understandable. But, the flavor of a catfish is heavily dependent on where it comes from. Your choice of catfish variety can help to eliminate that “muddy” quality or intensify it. Whatever floats your boat!
HOW TO BUY CATFISH
Next to knowing what catfish tastes like, it’s important that you know how to buy it. When buying your fish, keep in mind that farmed is better than wild.
Aquaculture-raised catfish have a much more consistent taste and none of that unwanted muddiness. Ask your fishmonger where they source their catfish; if they don’t know the answer you shouldn’t be buying it. Try a local fish market; it might be a bit pricier but the quality is much better.
HOW TO BLACKEN FISH
Blackening fish is a cooking technique commonly used in Cajun cooking. The process is quick, easy and makes for some of the most delicious fish you’ve ever had. All you need is a cast-iron skillet, melted butter and plenty of seasoning.
Follow these 3 easy steps for the perfect blackened fish:
Get that Cast Iron HOT
The calling card of a perfectly blackened fish is a crisp, slightly darkened skin. Not burnt, just a darker amber brown. To get that color, heat your cast iron to a medium-high heat. Your pan should be just under its smoking point.
There will be an audibly loud sizzle when the fish hits the pan. Trust me, it’ll be music to the ears.
Dredge in Butter & Seasoning
I’ve found that butter is the best way to keep fish moist and help the seasoning to stick. We want every bit of delicious spice to adhere.
Blackened Seasoning is a smoky, spicy and herbaceous blend of spices meant to go with just about anything. Don’t be afraid to heavily coat the catfish. More flavor never hurt anyone. You can even use cajun seasoning to blacken fish perfectly.
Cook & Watch Carefully
Cook each of the catfish for 2-3 minutes; don’t walk away, keep an eye out! If the flesh/skin is browning too quickly, lower the heat. If you’re not getting a dark color, bump up the heat and drizzle a bit more butter on each side.
YOU CAN MAKE HONEY BLACKENED TILAPIA OR HONEY BLACKENED CATFISH
Up to this point, we’ve covered all of our fish bases. You know what it tastes like, how to buy it and how to blacken it! Now, it all comes together.
As previously mentioned, catfish have an underlying sweetness. By blackening the fish you create a balance between sweet and savory. The well-seasoned exterior is spicy and smoky while the interior is moist and sweet.
The added honey glaze is the perfect last touch! It’s sticky, acidic and fruity.
TIP: Make a bit of extra glaze; if your fish is accidentally too spicy a little more glaze will calm down the heat.
WHAT SHOULD I SERVE WITH MY BLACKENED CATFISH?
I love making this blackened fish as a simple weeknight dinner or even as a quick lunch. Dress up the plate with your favorite greens, roasted potatoes or create your own Southern inspired catfish taco! Get creative, this recipe goes with just about everything.
If you’re still stumped, here are a few of some Grandbaby Cakes’ best sides:
- CHEESE GRITS
- SOUTHERN BLACK EYED PEAS
- DIRTY RICE (FOR A DOUBLE SPICY COMBO)
- HONEY GLAZED CARROTS
- BROWN BUTTER HONEY CORNBREAD
MORE GRANDBABY CAKE FISH DINNERS
I’m on quite the fish kick these days! I just can’t seem to get enough. Here are a few of my current favorites, give ‘em a try!
Honey Blackened Fish
For the Blackened Seasoning
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp thyme
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp celery seed
- 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
For the Honey Glaze
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp minced garlic
For the Fish
- 4 fish fillets catfish or tilapia
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1/2 cup cajun seasoning
For the Blackened Seasoning
- Mix together all seasonings until completely whisked and blended.
For the Honey Glaze
- Whisk together all glaze ingredients and set aside.
For the Fish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
- While pan heats, add melted butter to one shallow dish and add blackened seasoning to another shallow dish.
- Dip each fillet in melted butter then immediately dredge in blackened seasoning covering both sides. Shake off excess seasoning then place in hot pan.
- Cook each side for 2-3 minutes. Finally pour honey glaze over fish and place in the oven for 10 minutes then serve.