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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cumin-Cayenne Blackened Fish

Here's another one from Cooking Light.  A few weeks ago I'd made a picatta with flounder and bought two packages of fish, unsure of how much was in each.  Turns out, it had eight thin fillets in each.  Which isn't problematic, as we all like fish in my family.  But with a package of fish in the freezer, I needed to find something to do with it, and voilà, it was this.  The original recipe says tilapia, but I say use what white, flaky fish floats your boat.  Take that, fishmongers.

Cumin-Cayenne Blackened Fish

1 tbsp olive oil
4 (6-oz) tilapia fillets
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

1.  Preheat broiler.

2.  Rub olive oil evenly over fish.  Combine cumin, salt, garlic powder, and peppers; sprinkle evenly over fish.  Arrange fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or desired degree or doneness.

The Verdict:  OK, couple problems with this recipe.  Well, mainly one.

I read, but it didn't compute, that it's called cumin-cayenne blackened fish.  Cayenne.  Capsaicin.  Hot.  I cut back on the cayenne for our fish and even wiped it off of my son's fillet.  But even still, three bites into it he declared, "This fish hurts my mouth."  My husband laughed.  How can fish hurt your mouth?  I then laid out the ingredients, to which my darling berated me as a wicked and cruel parent. 


So if your family likes spicy, this recipe will be fine.  If your family prefers one out of four chilies on the spiciness meter on a menu, skip this one. 

Frankly, with or without the argument over too-spicy-for-the-kid, this is not Cooking Light's best recipe.  While it tasted fine, there was nothing at all interesting about it.  It might have been better with a wonderful and fresh fish, but even then, the highlight wouldn't have been the spices.  It would have been the fish. 

Nah.  Good for, "I have fish, what combination of stuff can I throw on top of it?" cooking.  But if you're looking for James Beard Award kudos, keep fishing.

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