Published May 1, 2007.
Transferring blackened fish from a cast-iron skillet to a grill may keep your kitchen from filling with smoke, but it creates a host of other problems, including fish stuck to the grate.
We moved our blackened snapper project outside to keep the smoke from triggering alarms, but this created several other issues: The fish stuck to the grate, the outside burned by the time the flesh cooked through, and the skin-on fillets curled midway through cooking, resulting in burned edges.
We wanted our fillets to have a dark brown, crusty, sweet-smoky, toasted spice exterior, providing a rich contrast to the moist, mild-flavored fish inside.
The curling problem was easy to fix. We simply needed to score the skin. The sticking solution proved more difficult, but the answer turned out to be right before our eyes—the aluminum pan that held our grilling utensils. By inverting the pan over the grate while it preheated, we made the grill super-hot. This heat incinerated all the nasty gunk on the grate and gave us a really clean surface on which to cook the fish. Finally, to give the fish its flavorful "blackened but not burned" coating, we bloomed our spice mixture in melted butter, allowed it to cool, and then applied the coating to the fish. Once on the grill, the spice crust acquired the proper depth and richness while the fish cooked through.list of recipes