Blackened Red Snapper With Dirty Rice

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Spicy blackened snapper paired with fluffy dirty rice makes for a flavorful and satisfying meal.

By Amanda Turner
Jul 12, 2022
90 Minutes
4 Servings

Chef Amanda Turner of Olamaie in Austin, TX crafts a thoroughly Southern meal featuring red snapper from the gulf, which browns nicely on the Griddle. Her homemade blackening spice is also featured in the dirty rice, adding more flavor alongside chicken livers and andouille sausage. Blackening spice is a staple throughout the South, especially in Creole and Cajun cooking. This version of the spice blend is heavy on smoked paprika, with notes of roasted garlic, mustard, and curry lending subtle complexity.

When cooked over high heat, the spices form a spicy, flavorful crust that permeates the flaky, mild fish. You can use the rest of the blackening spice to season chicken and other proteins, vegetables, or even popcorn. Chef Turner also recommends serving the fish atop buttery white grits for an equally delicious meal.

Blackened Red Snapper With Dirty Rice

Spicy blackened snapper paired with fluffy dirty rice makes for a flavorful and satisfying meal.

Amanda Turner

90 Minutes
4 Servings
  • For the Blackening Spice:
  • 120 grams smoked paprika (about 1 cup plus 2 ½ tablespoons)
  • 19 grams curry powder (about ¼ cup)
  • 7 grams celery seeds (about 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon)
  • 5 grams coriander seeds (about 1 ½ tablespoons)
  • 32 grams kosher salt (about ¼ cup)
  • 10 grams extra-hot cayenne pepper (100,000 Scoville Heat Units), or regular cayenne pepper (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 3 grams roasted garlic powder, or regular garlic powder (about 1 ½ teaspoons)
  • 17 grams yellow mustard seeds (about 2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon)
  • For the Snapper:
  • 1 large whole red snapper, 4–5 pounds or 2 medium whole snapper 2–2 ½ pounds each (or 4 5-ounce skinless fillets)
  • Grapeseed oil, for cooking
  • 2-4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 lemon, for serving
  • Flaky sea salt, for serving
  • Parsley, chiffonade, for serving
  • For the Dirty Rice:
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • ½ cup chicken livers, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • ½ pound andouille sausage, finely chopped
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups long-grain rice (Carolina gold preferred)
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon blackening spice (see recipe above)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

    For the blackening spice, combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until powderized. Set aside. You should have about 2 cups of the spice blend.


    For the dirty rice, place a Saute Pan over medium heat. Add bacon, cook until crisp, 3–5 minutes. Remove from pan, leaving rendered fat behind.


    Add chicken livers and fry until slightly caramelized but not crisp. Remove livers and add oil, andouille sausage, onion, celery, and bell pepper. Season with salt and sweat until onions are translucent.


    Add rice and stir to combine with fat and vegetables. Cook until rice smells toasty, about 3 minutes. Return the livers and bacon to the pan with the blackening spice, and pour in chicken stock. Taste liquid and season with additional salt if needed.


    Cover and increase heat to high until rice mixture is simmering. Reduce heat to low and allow rice to cook for about 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let rice sit for an additional 5 minutes before fluffing.


    While the rice is cooking, fillet the fish, removing the bones and skin. Portion into 4 equal pieces.


    Preheat Griddle over high heat. Place your fish portions on a Sheet Pan and fully coat all sides with blackening spice, pressing into flesh to adhere.


    Lightly oil the surface of the griddle and lay the fish on what would be skin-side down, lightly pressing to ensure full contact with the heat. Drizzle with oil and sear until the fish is blackened (develops a dark crust), 5–6 minutes.


    Gently flip the fish and brush with melted butter, then sear until fish is firm and cooked through, 2–4 minutes more. Transfer from the griddle to a Sheet Pan and brush with more butter and top with flaky salt.


    Fluff the rice and adjust seasoning if needed. Lay down a bed of dirty rice on a plate and top with sliced scallions. Place fish on top, finish with lemon juice and parsley, and serve.