Paprika is commonly used in blackened seasonings.
Darkened seasoning is a mixture of herbs and spices used to impart flavor and color during cooking. The ingredients in this mixture vary, but can include salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, onion, thyme, and oregano. Black seasoning is popular in southern US cuisine and is often used with seafood and chicken. Most chefs utilize these spice blends when cooking dishes over direct high heat.
The darkened spice originated in a New Orleans restaurant.
Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme is generally responsible for developing the browning technique using a red fish dipped in butter and spices. The fish is then cooked over high heat in an iron skillet. Prudhomme developed this method for a restaurant in New Orleans, which gradually gained popularity in the south. This technique has since been adapted for use with other types of fish, poultry and meat.
Celery seed is included in some varieties of blackened spices.
Darkened seasoning can be purchased from the spice section of a supermarket or mixed with ingredients a cook has on hand. Making a dark spice mix allows the cook to better control the flavor of the dish and limit the sodium content for people who are sensitive to salt. The cook can also control the amount of heat in the mixture by adding more or less pepper to the recipe. Homemade spice mixes can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for several weeks or months.
Dried herbs can be added to blackened chicken for additional zest.
The ingredients in these blends can vary significantly depending on the region where the recipe was developed. Salt and black pepper are the two most common ingredients; Paprika is also popular, because the red spice blackens well. Many recipes include a few other seasonings, such as garlic and onions, to add depth to the flavor. Many blends also include cayenne pepper, which adds a considerable amount of heat to the dish. Recipes can also include regional favorites like celery seed or flavors that complement the type of meat or fish being cooked.
The black seasoning goes well with fish and seafood dishes.
When cooking with dark seasoning, the seasoning mixture must be applied strongly and evenly, so that the surface of the meat is darker and has a nice crust. Although blackened dishes are traditionally cooked in an iron skillet, this method produces an enormous amount of smoke. Cooks without a well-ventilated kitchen may choose to cook outdoors using a grill or cast-iron pan heated directly over charcoal. It is important to give the grill or pan time to preheat properly to char the spice mixture.