As hard as it may be to believe, blackening is a relatively new addition to the Cajun lexicon. Chef Paul Prudhomme pioneered the method in the early 1980s while cooking at New Orleans’ Commander’s Palace. As his fame grew and he introduced Cajun-style cuisine to the rest of the world, the term became synonymous with spicy.
But blackening is more than just spice. The crispy coating of butter and spices can capture tender morsels of chicken and fish. To save our kitchens from the spicy smoke that is the unavoidable byproduct of blackening, we took advantage of our outdoor grill. If you’d rather keep it inside, just preheat your oven and cast-iron pan to 500°.
Along with a traditional blackening spice that features thyme, oregano, and cayenne, we mixed up two more, one with an Asian twist, and another perfect for a blackened chicken fettuccini.