Blackened Mahi-Mahi With Papaya-Citrus Salsa (Or Other Fish)

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Recipe by gailanng

This an adpated recipe from the NOLA.com. The original recipe was first published in the Times-Picayune in 1994, when the famous blackening technique became popular by Paul Prudhomme. The recipe, calls for mahi-mahi, but other local finfish (redfish, drum, pompano, swordfish or even salmon) can be substituted. Make your spice mix in advance. Overlap your prep and chill time to save time. The cooking process goes quick! (NOTE: READ FISH PREP TIPS FOR BEST RESULTS-Instruction #2)

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. To Make Blackened Spice Mix: In a food processor combine paprika, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper, black pepper, coriander, thyme leaves and oregano leaves. Pulse to combine well. Store in a clean air-tight glass jar. Keeps for about three months if it is moisture-free and cool. Note: this mixtures doesn't have to be processed, just mix together thoroughly.
  2. TIPS for preparing the mahi prior to cooking: Prepare the fish by cutting it into fillets no more than one-half-inch thick. This way the fish cooks quickly and finishes before the spice mixture is burnt and bitter. Cut thicker fillets into pieces by slicing them on a 30-degree angle for an even thickness. Remove all skin, fatty tissue and bones. Deep-chill the mahi-mahi in the freezer for about 30 to 60 minutes before cooking, but do not freeze it.
  3. To Make the Papaya-Citrus Salsa: In a medium bowl combine papaya, orange segments, lime juice, red onion (to your taste), green onions and cilantro. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Refrigerate.
  4. To Cook the Mahi: Place a large, heavy, cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and allow to warm until white hot, at least 15 minutes. Remember to use heavy insulated cooking gloves, long tongs or a long-handled spatula and turn on the exhaust fan to high.
  5. Pour the olive oil and melted butter into a shallow medium-size pan or plate. Pour the spice mixture into another shallow pan or plate. Remove the fish from the freezer. Dredge each piece through the olive oil/butter mixture on both sides to evenly coat, holding it above the oil for a few seconds to allow the excess to drop back into the pan. The oil coating should be very thin. Lay the mahi onto the spices and apply light pressure to adhere the spices to the fish. Turn over to completely enrobe both sides of the fish pieces with the spices. Lay the spice-coated fish onto a cookie sheet while repeating the coating process with the remaining fish.
  6. Carefully lay the spiced-coated mahi into the hot skillet without overlapping or crowding. Cook the fish until the spice mixture browns, about two minutes. Turn over and finish cooking, about two to three additional minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Remove to hot serving plates with a spatula, placing two slightly overlapping the pieces on the center of each plate. Depending on how large your cast iron pan, you may need to repeat this process.
  7. Divide the salsa in a band across the layered mahi or serve on the side. Garnish with the cilantro sprigs and serve immediately.

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