Our next creation for Day 2 of Soup Month 2012 is a Blackened Swai Chowder that combines a Cajun-inspired seasoning mix with the sweet flavor of Swai fish fillets.
For this dish I wanted the bright flavor of the Cajun fish to be the main focus of the meal and the chowder to be a delicate backdrop of red potatoes, tiny shrimp, and minced clams with a mild broth. The results were delicious! By cooking the fish quickly over high heat the full flavor of the paprika, garlic and cayenne really come through. The fish was sweet on the inside and just a bit spicy outside with a nice crispy texture.
The seasoning mix can be prepared in advance so it will be ready to use and, with only about 20 minutes of prep time, this dinner will be ready in about an hour. (This same seasoning mix can be used on many foods. Sprinkle the mix over chicken thighs and bake for a quick and flavorful dinner.)
Blackened Seasoning Mix
1 TB Paprika
2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Cayenne Powder (for a spicy batch use 1/2 tsp)
1 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
To Prepare the Chowder
2 tsp Olive Oil
1 small Onion, minced
1 small Green Pepper, diced
6 Red Potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1-1/2 tsp Blackened Seasoning Mix
1 8-oz bottle Clam Juice
1 1/2 cups Milk
1/2 lb Tiny Cooked Shrimp
1 can Minced Clams, drained
1 cup Half and Half
2 TB Flour
5 Swai Fillets, each cut in half
1/2 cup Half and Half
1 cup House-Autry Seafood Breading Mix
1/2 cup Canola Oil
Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and green pepper and saute 5 minutes. Add potatoes, garlic powder, salt, pepper and 1-1/2 tsp blackened seasoning; stir and continue sauteing for 5 minutes until the potatoes are slightly browned on the edges. Add clam juice and milk, bring chowder to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
While the chowder cooks, place fish fillets in a glass baking dish and pour a 1/2 cup of half and half over the fillets, turning the fish over to evenly coat. In a large bowl combine the breading mix and the remaining blackened seasoning mix and stir. Add the fillets to the mix, turning to coat on both sides.
Heat a 1/2 cup canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place several fillets into the oil (you can cook these in batches) and cook about 4 minutes on each side until crispy and cooked through. Place cooked fish on a paper towel lined baking sheet and continue cooking the remaining fillets.
Add the shrimp and clams to the pot and stir. In a small bowl whisk the half and half and flour until blended. Add mixture to the pot, stir to combine then simmer for 10 minutes.
Ladle the chowder into soup bowls and place 1 or 2 blackened swai fillets on top of the chowder. Enjoy!!