Baseboard page divider
Alton Brown logo in grey font
Black x


A rolled up screen projector


Course: Mains
Keyword: Catfish, Cinco de Mayo, Seafood, Summer, Tex-Mex

BCLT Tacos (Blackened Catfish Lettuce Tomato)

ACTIVE TIME: 25 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
It's generally accepted that the technique of "blackening" was created in New Orleans in the early eighties. The concept is simple — apply a potent mixture of herbs and spices to fish, slap it on a hot surface and cook it very quickly.
Personally, I love blackened farm-raised catfish, especially when it's in a taco topped with crema. A Mexican form of cultured sour cream, crema is closer in viscosity to creme fraiche. Purists will argue that using sour cream is cheating. I'm okay with that.
This recipe first appeared in EveryDayCook.
Photo by Lynne Calamia
Read More
Read Less


Blackening Seasoning


  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup packed basil, divided
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo


  • 1 pound farm-raised U.S. catfish, 3 to 4 fillets
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 8 corn tortillas, toasted
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced

Specialized Hardware

Mini-food processor
Cast-iron skillet
ACTIVE TIME: 25 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


  • Combine the salt, paprika, black pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, and thyme in a small bowl, then sprinkle evenly onto catfish fillets and set aside while preparing the "crema."
  • Combine the sour cream, lime zest, lime juice, garlic, basil, and chipotle pepper in a small food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Place a cast-iron skillet over high heat. When you think it's really hot, leave it for a few more minutes. If you turn the lights off and it glows...you're ready.
  • Add the catfish to the pan and cook until crisped and blackened, about 1 minute. Flip and cook another minute, then rest on a plate off the heat for 1 minute. The fish should be opaque inside and flake easily when broken with a fork.
  • Turn the heat off and use the residual heat to heat the tortillas or, if you like a little more char, lay them one at a time right over gas burners set to low for about 30 seconds per side.
  • Break up the cooked fish into several pieces and serve inside the tortillas topped with the tomatoes, lettuce, and "crema"If you like your crema extra tangy, add some yogurt to it. mixture.
Baseboard page divider