500BestSquareBlackened Tuna @ K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen

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There are many stories behind the origin of blackened fish. The one I believe began at Commander’s Palace, where one of the Brennan’s wondered whether fish could be cooked the way they were searing their steaks–in a very hot black iron skillet. Whatever happened, Chef Paul Prudhomme, who was the head of all the kitchens allied with Commander’s at the time, put the name on the dish.

When Chef Paul opened his own place, blackened redfish became a signature dish almost immediately. Crusted with Creole seasoning, passed through butter, and slammed into the skillet, it often flamed up for a few seconds. When the dish became so popular that the commercial redfish fishery had to be shut down (it still is), Chef Paul put the word out that he thought everybody should stop blackening redfish for awhile. He added that blackened tuna was a better dish anyway. He was right. It remains a specialty at K-Paul’s, where they cut the fish thick and leave it a little rare in the middle. When it hits the plate, it looks more like steak than fish. In my opinion, there is no better way to cook tuna.

K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen. French Quarter: 416 Chartres. 504-524-7394.

This is among the 500 best dishes in New Orleans area restaurants. Click here for a list of the other 499.

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