Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blackened Fish with Sweet Potato Hash Recipe - Cajun Cuisine Diaries, 2 VIDEOS

My youngest nephew Zack has cheffed since 17. No culinary school, just the kitchen of cast iron knocks and skillet burns. From greasy spoons to polished silver gravy bowls, Chef Zack is working his way through fast food joints and high-priced eateries, ever expanding his cooking chops.

For Uncle 99 Cent Chef, 21-year-old Chef Zack pulls out a gourmet entree from his Cajun culinary repertoire: Blackened Fish with Sweet Potato Hash and topped with a Creole Mustard Beurre Blanc Sauce - that's 3 recipes for this post. Of course, once again the recipes call for a lot of butter -- which is a restaurant's little secret in getting repeat customers!

My latest video provides a step-by-step fish blackening technique from this Louisiana chef. Plus, his Mustard Beurre Blanc Sauce, which covers the fish, is killer -- literally so, made with a 1/4 stick of butter and rich whipping cream. Chef Matt would probably sever family ties, but I'll go ahead and recommend you can get away with half the amount of butter, or substitute olive oil. The luscious sauce is sour with mustard, and studded with tiny capers -- but sweet with whipping cream and Chardonnay. The creamy Bernaises complement, and contrast, the intense Cajun spices that are charred black, and fused, onto flaky fish fillets.

Chopped Applewood Bacon is added to the deliciously decedent Sweet Potato Hash. The hash is first quickly fried in oil, then fried a second time with bacon fat. And just before plating he mixes in sauteed onions and crispy bacon pieces.

Sweet and savory, I found myself watching closely while I was filming close-ups. I could definitely see myself serving this again soon, although a lighter version with a lot less bacon fat. And I would use regular bacon, too. I picked up a pound of Applewood Bacon for almost $10 -- never again!

Chef Zack blackened a local fish called Redfish, which costs around $8 per pound. For a cheapie version, I would substitute three, to four, 4-ounce packages of 99.99 cents firm fish like Talapia, Rockfish, Cod, Shark, Halibut, or even Salmon. If you have a local catch, then try out Chef Zakk's recipe on it.

Other 99c only Store ingredients I've found recently, listed above, are capers, whipping cream, small bottles of white wine, and grainy, country-style Dijon mustard -- which you can use instead of Zakk's recommended Cajun Mustard.

For the Blackened Fish recipe, Chef Zakk uses Chef Paul Prudhommes's Blackened Redfish Magic. I've included a Homemade Blackened Spice Mix at the end of this post.  It's cheap and easy to do, so don't worry if your local market doesn't carry it -- I've got your back!

When you watch the Chintzy Chef's video of nephew Zack, you'll see restaurant cooking skills for chopping, sauteing, and garnishing. I added a short how-to bonus video of Chef Zakk creating Sliced Lemon Twist and Curled Green Onion garnishes - at the end of this post.

My latest recipe video is a lot of fun, where Chef Zacks' Mom, Granny, and Zakk's roommate, Wesley, all make memorable appearances -- mainly to fork their way into Uncle 99 Cent Chef's plate of Blackened Fish and Sweet Potato Hash, topped with a Creole Mustard Beurre Blanc Sauce!

Blackened Fish with Sweet Potato Hash - Video

Play it here. The video runs 10 minutes.

View or embed from YouTube, click here.
99 thanks to Mom, Brenda, Chef Zakk, and his roommates.

Ingredients for Sweet Potato Hash
  • 1 whole sweet potato - peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
  • 2 cups of water with ice - for chilling cubed sweet potatoes.
  • 1/2 pound (package) bacon - chopped
  • 1 whole yellow onion chopped
Ingredients for Creole Mustard Beurre Blanc
  • 1-2 shallots - about 2 tablespoons minced.
  • 4 cloves garlic - about 1 1/2 tablespoons minced
  • 1/4 stick of butter - or 1 tablespoon favorite oil.
  • 1/4 cup of white wine - Chef Zakk used Chardonnay
  • 1 tablespoon of capers - drained and roughly chopped.
  • 2 tablespoons of Creole Mustard - okay to use grainy country-style mustard.
  • 1/2 cup of cream - half & half, or whipping cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for Blackened Fish
  • 2 fish fillets - any firm fish will do. Chef Zakk used Redfish.
  • 1/4 cup of *Blackened Fish Spice - Chef Zakk uses Chef Paul Prudhommes's Blackened Redfish Magic brand. I have an easy homemade recipe at the end of the post.
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine - for deglazing.

Directions for Sweet Potato Hash
Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside sweet potatoes in a bowl of iced water.

Chop 1/2 package of Applewood Bacon (the 99 Cent Chef version uses regular bacon,) and add to a large saute pan, over medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes until brown and crispy. Reserve bacon grease for cooking onion.

While bacon is cooking chop one whole onion. When bacon is browned remove it. Add chopped onion to about 1/4 cup of the bacon grease. Caramelize onions over low heat - careful not to burn them, about 15 minutes. When done, set aside.

Drain cubed sweet potatoes. In a pot, heat 1/2 cup of veggie oil to medium/high heat. Drain sweet potatoes and carefully add to hot oil. Okay to fry in batches. It's a quick minute-and-a-half fry. You will finish cooking the hash, with onion and bacon, later. Remove and set aside on paper towels to drain.

Directions for Creole Mustard Beurre Blanc
Add butter (or oil) to a pot over medium heat. When butter is melted add white wine.

Mince garlic and shallots. Roughly chop drained capers. Add minced shallots, garlic, and capers to the pot. Salt and pepper to taste.

Mix in 2 heaping tablespoons of Creole Mustard (or grainy, country-style mustard). Whisk in 1/2 cup of cream. Reduce heat to low. Just before plating, you will add a tablespoon of butter, mixing well (optional.)

Directions for Blackened Fish
First, check fish fillets and remove any bones or scale pieces. On a plate sprinkle on 1/4 cup of Blackened Fish Spice. Cover the plate so fish fillets will get a complete coat. Go to the end of the post for my Homemade Blackened Mix.

Moisten fish with a quick rinse of water, so blackened spices will stick. Take fish fillets and lay on a plate of spice. You only need to well-coat one side of each fish fillet.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add one tablespoon of veggie oil to a medium/high-heated pan. When oil is hot add fish fillets to the pan - spiced side down. Cook for 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet, and the heat of the frying pan. If fillets are too large then blacken one at a time.

When the edges of the fish start to turn white/grey then lift the fish -- the cooked side should be charred brown to black. Flip the fillet over.

Deglaze the pan with 2 tablespoons of white wine. Wine may splatter, so be careful. Shake the pan to loosen tasty bits, and put the pan in the oven. If your saute pan is not ovenproof, then put fish, with wine sauce, into an uncovered, ovenproof dish or pan.

It only takes another 5 minutes of baking -- as you bring all the parts together. You can also just leave blackened fish in the pan, over low heat, on the stovetop.

Final Assembly
Add a teaspoon of butter (optional) to warming Beurre Blanc sauce. Mix well. Set aside over low heat.

Over medium/high heat add caramelized onion and bacon to a pan. After a couple of minutes, when hot, add sweet potato cubes. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and heat through for a minute.

Time to put it all together.

On a plate, add a layer of Sweet Potato Hash. Place fish, blackened side up, on the hash. Finally, spoon over Beurre Blanc Sauce onto the fish. Repeat assembly for the second serving.

Optional garnishes are sliced lemon, fresh parsley, and thin-sliced green onion stems. Check out the short video below to see Chef Zakk's garnish demonstration.

Play it here. The video runs 1 minute 22 seconds.

View or embed from YouTube, click here.

*Homemade Blackened Spice is simple to make. If you have a jar of generic Cajun spices, pour out a 1/4 cup, and stir in a teaspoon of dried Italian herbs, like oregano, basil, and thyme. Mix well.

To make a dry Cajun Blackened Spice Blend from scratch: 2 tablespoons each of garlic and onion powder, paprika, black pepper, plus a 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cayenne pepper. Add a teaspoon of dried Italian herbs. Stir until well mixed.


Lucas Kain said...

Nice!! Although it took me a long time just to read your post, I seriously find the instructions thorough and useful! Thanks so much, will try making the fish as soon as possible :)

call Nepal

99 Cent Chef said...

yeah Jimmy, I like to do minimal recipes -- my nephew was out of control, but in a good way ;-p

Lucas Kain said...

Oh, I bet it was good! :D Judging by the pictures, I can almost feel the taste of each dish. Lucky chefs!

Jerome Smith said...

Wow, the fish turned out looking really tasty. Your directions and comments were so in depth and the pictures helped immensely. Thanks for taking the time to do this. I recently started eating fresh foods like this instead of buying the packaged stuff. I found that it spoils much faster than packaged foods, so for those of you who (like me) dont know how long a food lasts for you should check out . It is a food storage and shelf life information website. For example, fresh fish lasts for 1-2 days past the sell by date!

Mr F said...

Appreciate your stuff, especially the animations. How do I send you a tip? You need a tip me link.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...