Spicing It Up With Chef Prudhomme

Sam Choy
By Sam Choy
Wednesday - October 08, 2008
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This week on Sam Choy’s Kitchen, we’re doing some Louisiana cooking with Chef Paul Prudhomme, king of the Cajun spices, with tips on blackening chicken and fish, plus a delicious Portabella Salad.

This show originally aired in February 2007.

BLACKENED FISH FILETS

If you don’t have a commercial hood vent over your stove, this dish will set off every smoke alarm in your neighborhood! It’s better to cook it outdoors on a gas grill, a butane burner or a charcoal grill, but you’ll need to make the coals hotter by giving them extra air. A normal charcoal fire doesn’t get hot enough to “blacken” the fish properly. Meanwhile, heat your cast-iron skillet as hot as possible on your kitchen stove, at least 10 minutes. When the coals are glowing, use very thick potholders to carefully transfer the hot skillet to the grill. You can also make this a reduced-fat dish simply by spraying both sides of the fish filets with nonstick cooking spray (instead of using butter) before applying the seasoning.


3 tablespoons Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic Seasoning (or Blackened Redfish Magic, Meat Magic, or Barbecue Magic, Fajita Magic, Magic Seasoning Salt, Magic Salt-Free Seasoning).

1/2 stick unsalted butter (melted) or oil

6 fish filets (8-10 ounces each) such as red snapper, catfish, red-fish, salmon, ahi tuna steaks, mahimahi or any other firm-fleshed fish; at room temperature, cut about 1/2 inch thick

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over very high heat until it is extremely hot. With a spoon, spread a little of the butter or oil on each side of the filets. Sprinkle one side with the Magic Seasoning Blend and place the filet in the heated skillet, seasoned side down. Sprinkle the top sides with the remaining Magic Seasoning Blend. Cook, turning frequently until the fish starts to flake, about 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining filets. Serve each filet while piping hot.

Special note from Chef Paul Prudhomme: Because this method is simple, any variation will make a dramatic difference. Be sure the skillet is hot enough and absolutely dry. Be sure not to over-season - the herbs and spices should highlight the taste rather than hide it or overpower it. You don’t need to overcook the filet - there is a big difference between blackened and burned. Avoid a burned, bitter taste by wiping out the skillet between batches. Makes six servings.

BRONZED CHICKEN BREASTS

4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or oil of your choice

8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves about 3 ounces each and 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick. You may pound the breast a little to even out the thickness. Best if near room temperature.

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Poultry Magic (or Meat Magic or Barbecue Magic or any of your favorite season blends).

Heat heavy griddle or skillet to about 350 degrees over medium to high heat or use an electric skillet.

When griddle or skillet is heated, lightly coat each chicken breast half with melted butter or oil. With chicken in your hand, sprinkle the oiled breast evenly with about 1/2 teaspoon of the Magic Seasoning Blend and place the seasoned side down in the hot skillet. Then, season top side of the breast.

Cook chicken until underside is bronze in color, 2-3 minutes. (Watch, and you will see the white line coming up the sides as the chicken cooks. When the line is about half way up the thickness, the chicken is ready to be turned.

Cook until done, 2-3 minutes more. Serve immediately, allowing two breast halves per person. Do not overcook! Chicken should be very juicy. Makes four servings.

Note: Any of the Magic Seasoning Blends will work well.


PORTABELLA SALAD

4 ounces mixed baby greens

1 Portabella cap (from Portabella Lafayette recipe, see below)

3 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 ounce blue cheese, crumbled 1 ounce Candied Pecans (recipe to follow)

2 ounces Creole Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Slice mushroom into strips about 3/4 inch thick. Toss the greens in the salad dressing and arrange them in the center of the plate. Surround the greens with the mushroom slices and tomato halves; top with crumbled blue cheese and sprinkle on candied pecans. Makes one serving.

PORTABELLA LAFAYETTE

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Sweetie Magic Seasoning

1 and 1/2 tablespoons Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Barbeque Magic

4 Portabella mushroom caps

1/2 cup cane syrup

1/2 cup heavy cream

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. When the butter begins to sizzle, add the seasonings and stir well. Place the mushrooms in the skillet, gill side up. Cook for 2 minutes then add the cane syrup. Continue to cook, turning the mushrooms several times, until the stem area of the mushrooms is tender, about 4 minutes. Add the cream and cook, stirring until the mixture returns to a boil.

Transfer the mushrooms to a sheet pan, cover with the sauce and cool. Makes four servings.

CREOLE VINAIGRETTE

1/2 cup olive oil, extra virgin

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons cane syrup

4 tablespoons Creole mustard

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Vegetable Magic seasoning

1 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients and whisk until thoroughly blended.

Makes about 1 and 1/2 cups.

(Watch “Sam Choy’s Kitchen” Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on KHNL News 8.)

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