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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Blackened Amberjack Fillets

Although there are many ways to prepare fresh fish, I love to be able to season a thick fillet of fish with a generous coating of spices and toss it on a hot grill.  Quick, simple and delicious.  And when blackening fish, all of those spices absorb into the fish and all you need is a squeeze of lemon juice on top as a final touch.

Tonight we were excited to try a variety of fish called Amberjack.  This fish has been enjoyed in Florida for a long time, but this was our first chance to try it.

There seems to be a bit of a disagreement among Florida residents when it comes to Amberjack.  I've spoken with people who love it and would gladly trade their catch of red snapper for a string of Amberjack, while others do not care for the taste.  Since I love fish of all textures and levels of flavor, that divide made me even more excited to try this fish and I'm so glad we did.

The Amberjack fillets are thick and dense, somewhat similar to swordfish, so I knew it would hold up to the flavor of the blackening seasoning and it would grill nicely.  The fillet we bought was just over 2 pounds so we cut it in half before grilling, then cut the cooked fish into 6 portions.  (The seasoning  mix would also taste great on salmon or swordfish.)  By cooking the 2 larger pieces of fish, the center  stayed moist and juicy.

The Amberjack had a great flavor, not "fishy" or too strong, but not bland like many varieties of whitefish.  The best part of the seasoning mix we used would have to be the smoked paprika, which added a slightly sweet and smokey flavor to the mix and greatly enhanced the fish.  Smoked paprika is a bit more expensive that regular paprika, but it's worth every penny when you taste the final result.  Enjoy!!

1 TB  Smoked Spanish Paprika
1 tsp  Onion Powder
1 tsp  Garlic Powder
1 tsp  Dried Thyme
1 tsp  Dried Basil
1/2 tsp  Dried Oregano
1/2 tsp  Sea Salt
1/4 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
2 pounds  Amberjack Fillets (or try with your favorite fish)
Olive Oil
Lemon Wedges for Garnish

Combine all dry spices in a small bowl and stir to combine.

Rinse fish under cool water and pat dry with paper towels.  Lightly coat the fish with olive oil, then sprinkle generously with the seasoning mix and let rest for 10 minutes before grilling.

Grill time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish, but we grilled these fillets about 10 - 12 minutes total, over medium-high heat, turning once halfway through cooking.  To check for doneness, cut into the thickest part of the fillet and cook to your liking, or use a fork to gently flake the edges of the fish.

Serve with Chipotle Gouda Macaroni and Cheese and lemon wedges to squeeze over the fish.

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