This recipe is based on one in Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen (Morrow Cookbooks, 1984). Redfish (also known as red drum) is often farm-raised these days. It tends to be fatter and smaller than the wild-caught variety. Black drum makes a great substitute.
Paul Prudhomme put this "Cajun" classic—a filet of fish dredged in a flurry of spices and seared in butter—on the culinary map.
Yield: serves 6
1 tbsp. sweet paprika
2 1⁄2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne
3⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3⁄4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
1⁄2 tsp. dried thyme
1⁄2 tsp. dried oregano
12 oz. butter, melted
6 oz. (8-oz.) 1/2-inch–thick filets skinless, boneless red drum, black drum, or red snapper
Combine paprika, salt, onion and garlic powders, cayenne, black and white pepper, thyme, and oregano in a small bowl and set aside. Put 2 tbsp. of the butter into each of six small ramekins; set aside and keep warm. Put remaining butter into a wide, shallow dish. Dip each filet in butter and place on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray. Dust each filet generously on both sides with spice mixture, pressing spices and herbs into fish with your hands. Pour remaining butter into a small bowl.
Preheat oven to 200°. Turn on ventilation system and open windows. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until white and ashy, 8-10 minutes. Carefully place 2-3 filets in pan. Stand back to avoid smoke and pour 1 tsp. of the remaining butter over each filet. Cook until bottom of each filet appears charred, about 2 minutes. Turn filets over and pour 1 tsp. butter over each. Continue cooking until fish is cooked through (time will vary according to heat of pan). Transfer to a sheet tray on a rack and keep warm in oven. Repeat cooking process with remaining fish and butter. Serve with reserved warm melted butter.