Wednesday, April 30, 2014

NEW RECIPE: Blackened Rock Fish with Fennel Dirty Rice

© Constantine William Spyrou

One food area I haven't touched on as much is the Cajun area. I love food from the New Orleans and Southern U.S., especially Cajun food. One of my favorite dishes has to be blackened fish. Seasoned liberally with bold spices and charred brilliantly, it brings out the best in fish in my opinion and brings it to another level. 

In this recipe, I go with some Cajun roots with blackened rockfish. Also known as red snapper, rockfish is common in the Pacific area, so it is more associated with that area. This gives the fish a Californian spin on a Cajun classic, and to keep up with that, I did something a little bizarre and added a lot of fresh and vibrant vegetables to another Cajun classic: dirty rice. This is a vegetarian version, and it includes the classic spicy tomato sauce but trades in sausage and black-eyed peas for ingredients like pan-sauteed fennel and spinach, which pair with fish brilliantly. This makes for an overall interesting fusion-style fish! 

Recipe will serve up to 3 people.

For the Fish:

1 pound rockfish fillets
1/2 tablespoon paprika
Salt and pepper to season
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons toasted fennel seed
1 teaspoon dill
1 teaspoon chili powder

For the Dirty Rice:

2 cups brown rice
1/2 jar or can of crushed/diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups spinach
1 cup fennel, sliced roughly
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to season


1. Sautee the spinach and fennel in a hot pan with some olive oil and the garlic. Season, then add in the tomatoes. Add in your cayenne pepper, and reduce. Mix into steamed brown rice, then set aside.

2. Cover the rockfish fillets liberally with the blackening spice mix on both sides. Sear on high heat for about 2 minutes each side with a touch of olive oil. Serve over the rice.

This dish is extremely simple to make at home, but packs a lot of flavor because of the boldness of spice in both the dirty rice and the blackened fish. Fish also pairs extremely well with fennel, which ties the dish together extremely well. Having a hearty tomato sauce completes the meal and deepens the flavor!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think and what you would change. If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =) 

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