Updated: Jan 24
A Recipe So Good It Almost Caused an Extinction.
There is something seriously magical about redfish, both in and out of a pan. This saltwater fish has a beautiful white meat that is mild in flavor and is honestly pretty hard to mess up. Its just that good.
What is a redfish?
Redfish are actually called red drum and are native to the Eastern United States’ coastal waters. They average between 25-30 inches in length (although the record was 57 inches and weighed 94 lbs), and are extremely aggressive predators. Because of their aggression, they are known around the fishing world as one of the best fights you’ll ever have.
These fish also have an incredible history in the culinary world. In the early 1980’s chef Paul Prudhomme created the “cajun-style, blackened redfish” that became so popular in the United States, it actually caused environmental concerns. The demand for redfish became so great, that the species was overfished and states like Louisiana banned its commercial fishing until recently. Just let that sink in, this recipe is so good it nearly caused the fish to be extinct.
Thankfully, the redfish population has returned to normal and is now under the “Least Concern” category for its conservation status.
What makes this so good?
Understand this, those of us who harvest our own meat from big game are pretty used to working with ingredients that most consider “gamey”. Because of this, we all tend to rely on proper cooking techniques and a fair amount of spices to bring the tastes of our recipes to a level everyone will enjoy. With redfish, this is NOT the case. I am convinced that as long as the fish is cooked properly, it would be delicious with absolutely no seasoning what-so-ever.
Redfish filets are meatier and less oily than most other saltwater fish, and have a very similar taste and texture to cobia. One thing to consider when it comes to these fish is their size. Whether you are harvesting them yourself on an inshore charter, or selecting them at a fish market, look for the “medium” sized fish for eating as they have the best flavor.
Feeling lazy? Here are some tips to make this dish easier:
Use the Traeger “Blackened Saskatchewan” Rub – We are very proud of our rub recipes, however it’s hard to compete with this rub’s incredible taste.
Use any other pan, oven-safe of course, for this recipe – The cast iron skillet has a special place in our hearts, so we will argue until we are blue in the face that it’s the best. That being said, if you don’t have one any other oven-safe pan can also be used.
Cast Iron Skillet
1 lb fresh redfish filets
1 lemon quartered
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt freshly cracked
1 tsp black pepper freshly cracked
1 tsp thyme ground
1 tsp cayenne pepper ground
1 tsp oregano ground
1/2 tsp dill ground
Preheat over to 350 degree F (176 degrees C).
Pat fish filets dry and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper, thyme, dill, cayenne pepper, and oregano. (be sure to mix thoroughly)
Season fish on all sides with spice mix.
Coat cast iron with oil, then place seasoned fish in center of skillet and surround with lemon slices.
Place skillet on top rack of over and let cook for 18-22 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flakey.
Remove skillet from oven and serve with your favorite type of rice as soon as the sizzling stops.