Blackened Rockfish with Shrimp Salad

I set out for the Big Apple earlier this week, but don't think that means that you'll be without new recipes while I'm out of Seattle! (If you're interested in why I'm in New York, head over to twitter and follow @BeechersNY). While I'm in New York, I invited the chef de cuisine of Bennett's Pure Food Bistro, Ryan Shimabukuro, to be a guest writer on The Carne Diem. He's got some great ideas for dishes and I think you'll be excited to try the recipes he posts.

Hello everyone!
A couple of weeks ago, Kurt made a prawn and rockfish pasta verde for the Bennett's special. I haven't quite gotten rockfish out of my head since then and came up with this simple combo that you can build into a dish using your own favorite sides. Although you can use a generic blackened seasoning that you could pick up at most gourmet grocery stores, I've included one of my own.  The recipe makes much more than you will need for four servings of rockfish, but it never hurts to have extra of this very versatile spice mix lying around for other impromptu dishes.

Makes 4 servings

Blackened Seasoning
1 cup paprika
1/3 cup onion powder
1/3 cup garlic powder
1 Tbsp coriander
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
pinch cayenne pepper

Shrimp Salad
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Old Bay
1/2 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided
8 medium shrimp, cleaned
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 green onions, diced
2 tsp capers
1/4 cup mayonnaise

4 filets of rockfish, cleaned and deboned

Mix the ingredients of the blackened seasoning together so the spices are evenly distributed. Reserve.

Prepare a marinade for the shrimp by mixing the lemon juice, Old Bay, garlic, salt, and pepper. Put the shrimp in the marinade for half an hour. Heat a half tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sautée pan over medium heat.  Remove the shrimp from the marinade and cook in the oil until done, about 6 minutes.  Remove from pan and let chill for 15 minutes. Chop the shrimp into 1/2" pieces and place them in a medium bowl. Add the bell pepper, celery, green onions, capers, and mayonnaise and mix together until the mayonnaise has very lightly covered all the other ingredients. Reserve.

Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a large sautée pan over medium high heat. Dust the rockfish liberally with the blackened seasoning and place them in the pan. Flip after about 3 to 4 minutes and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. The fish should be cooked through with a slight crispness on the outside. Remove from heat and plate, topping with a tablespoon of the shrimp salad.

A couple of extra tips:
-Make sure not to leave the shrimp for too long in the marinade, since the lemon juice will eventually start cooking the shrimp ceviche-style.
-Once you've assembled the salad, it will actually gain more flavor over time as the components absorb more of the flavor. A half a day or so is ideal.
-I encourage square meals - at Bennett's we served this with some braised kale and red chard and some delicious fried heirloom tomatoes with basil aioli. What will you make for your sides?
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Lover of big ideas and bold flavors. Food should be like family and friends: honest, fun, and fulfilling.

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