The Blackened Fish Story

Ever have blackened catfish?

It's wonderful.

A fiery red pepper mix is applied to a margarine-coated fish, which is then seared in a cast-iron pan.

My father-in-law, who shall be known as "Phil," is actually from Louisiana, and my family's Official Source on All Things Cajun. Phil followed us back and decided we should blacken some of our fresh catfish. He brought enough Zatarain's Blackened Seasoning to blacken a whale, much less a poor little catfish, so we stood back and let him go.

"Maybe we should do this outside," The Husband suggested. "On the grill. Outside. Away from the house. Over there, maybe."

"No, no," Phil assured him. "It doesn't smoke that much."

It should be noted here that whenever The Husband makes a polite suggestion which I promptly ignore that all hell breaks loose. One of the reasons we continue to not be divorced on the grounds that nobody likes a smartass is because the same thing happens to him when he ignores my helpful suggestions.

A bottle of liquid margarine was produced.

Phil announced that it would be an astonishing timesaver, less messy, and would make clean-up a breeze.

I couldn't recall ever hearing about liquid margarine being used for anything but corn-on-the-cob and toast, or by anyone but small, finicky children who have to have extensive, near-religious rituals developed around meals to entice them to eat anything that is not macaroni and cheese. We once owned blue liquid margarine, and I can tell you honestly it wasn't for me.

I let the thought pass -- this was Phil! Everything Cajun Man! A walking force of nature who would not have listened anyway, even if I had known the actual temperature at which liquid margarine begins to smoke!

Hint: It is exactly two degrees above room temperature.
You can guess what happened next.

The fish began to smoke.

And smoke.

Burning, fiery, peppery smoke.

Step out of the crack house, this is the police smoke.

I began opening windows, but it was too late. I gathered up the dogs and went outside, where I stayed, oblivious to the coughing and hacking coming from the house.

The Boy popped out the back door.

"Something horrible is happening!" he announced, with a level of glee only small boys can achieve during crises. "I think we've been bombed!"

Back into the house.

The Husband was next, bearing a fan and muttering to himself.

Next came Phil.

"I didn't think it would do that," he said, honestly shocked. "It's never done that before."

At this point, he revealed he had never used liquid margarine before, either.

The Boy wandered through, and informed us that we should try not to breathe, or breathe as little as possible, and that someone had better go in there and do his catfish with lemon and butter because he didn't think he would care for stinkbomb-flavored catfish.

On the positive side, the fish was wonderful, and our sinuses are completely clear. Possibly forever.


Dana said...

Hey, great fish and a whale of a tale, too. Not so bad, now was it??

Anne said...

It was really nice, actually.

I'll admit I spent a lot of time worrying about nothing.

bod said...

oops! sounds like a lovely end result tho.