Blackened monkfish with cucumber salad

Served with a spicy bean and rice dish, Charita Jones traditional Cajun method is a delicious way to cook fish
By Charita Jones
Blackened monkfish with cucumber salad
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes plis 1 hour marinating
  • Effort: medium


  • 375 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 monkfish fillets, about 1.5-2cm thick
  • Momma's cajun seasoning

Mommas Cajun seasoning

  • 10 g ground cayenne pepper, or chilli powder
  • 10 g ground black pepper
  • 10 g ground garlic powder
  • 10 g ground coriander
  • 10 g ground cumin
  • 7 g dried red chilli flakes
  • 7 g white sugar
  • 60 g dried onion flakes
  • 25 g dried mixed herbs
  • 7 g grated nutmeg
  • 50 g salt

Hoppin John

  • 150 g dried black-eye peas, or 1 x 400g tin black eyed peas, drained
  • 40 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 450 g easy-cook American-style rice rice
  • Momma's cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 litres water

Cucumber salad

  • 2 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 125 ml cider vinegar

Tips and Suggestions

Momma Cherri uses her own Cajun seasoning blend; you can buy it readymade but homemade is always best and you can modify the mix to suit your taste. A Cajun mix is basically salt with a variety of other spices, so be careful not to add too much salt to this dish. The homemade Cajun seasoning should keep for at least a month or you can store it in the freezer if you want to keep it for longer.


1. For Mommas Cajun seasoning: put the ground spices and all the other ingredients except the salt into a food processor or spice grinder and blend to a fine consistency. (Be careful not to breathe it in, as it will get you sneezing!)

2. Mix the blended seasoning with the salt and store in a jar.

3. For the cucumber salad: put the sliced cucumber and onion into a bowl, sprinkle the sugar over them and pour over the vinegar. Toss together until well coated, then leave to marinate for at least 1 hour the longer the better. The cucumber will begin to release its natural juices.

4. For the Hoppin John: if you are using dried black-eyed peas, put them in a large pan with enough water to cover generously and bring to the boil with a little salt. Simmer for 40-50 minutes until tender but not mushy, then drain well.

5. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and black-eyed peas and fry until the onion is soft and translucent.

6. Add the rice, 1-2 teaspoons Mommas Cajun seasoning and turmeric and stir for about 1 minute, until the rice is coated with the seasoning and appears translucent. Add the water to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat a little and cook, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Try not to disturb the mixture too much. Once the water has all been absorbed and the rice is tender, the dish is ready. Gently fork through the rice, making sure all the black-eyed peas are evenly distributed. Put to the side until ready to serve.

7. Preheat a heavy cast-iron skillet or griddle pan until it is good and hot.

8. Reserve 12 tablespoons of the melted butter for serving and pour the rest into a shallow dish. Dip each fish fillet into the butter and sprinkle Mommas Cajun seasoning on both sides.

9. Put the fish into the hot pan and cook for about 2 minutes or until the bottom is almost black but not burned. Flip over.

10. Pour about 1 teaspoon of butter onto the cooked side and continue cooking for another 2 minutes or until the fillet is finished. It's best to cook about 2 fillets at a time. Wipe clean the skillet between each batch of fillets and keep the temperature hot.

11. Serve the fish immediately with 2 tablespoons of butter for each serving, for dipping, the Hoppin John and the cucumber salad.

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