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Blackened Chicken
Servings: 8

16 3 oz skinless chicken breast

2 Tbsp salt
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp gound cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp sweet paprika

3/4 lb melted unsalted butter

NOTE: Recipe calls for 16 (3-ounce) skinless boned chicken breasts,
about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, or 8 (10-ounce) bone-in leg-thigh
pieces, or a combination of these. Skin the leg-thigh pieces, then
bone each piece along the length of the two bones, leaving meat in
one piece.

Trim off excess fat. Pound each breast or leg-thigh fillet to 1/2
inch thick. Let the chicken come to room temperature before
blackening.

Thoroughly combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over very high heat until it is
extremely hot and just short of the point at which you see white
ash or a white spot forming in the skillet bottom, about 8 minutes.
(the time will vary according to the intensity of the heat source.)
Heat the serving plates in a 250F oven.

Just before cooking each piece of chicken, dip it in the melted
butter so that both sides are well coated, then sprinkle each fillet
evenly with the seasoning mix, using about a rounded 1/2 teaspoon
on each, and patting it in with your hands. (If you lay the fillet
on a plate or other surface to season it, be sure the surface is
warm so the butter won't congeal and stick to the surface instead
of to the meat. Wipe the surface clean after seasoning each fillet.

Use any remaining seasoning mix in another recipe. Immediately
place the fillet skinned side down in the hot skillet, making sure
all meat folds are opened up and the meat is lying flat. Pour
about 1 teaspoon butter on the top of the fillet (be careful, as
the butter may flame up). If you cook more that 1 fillet at a
time, place each fillet in the skillet before buttering and seasoning
another one.

Cook uncovered over the same high heat until the underside forms
a crust, about 2 minutes. (The time will vary according to the
thickness of the fillets and the heat of the skillet or fire;
watch the meat and you'll see a white line coming up the side as
it cooks.) Turn the fillets over and pour about 1 teaspoon more
melted butter on top of each. Cook just until meat is cooked
through, about 2 minutes more.

Serve the chicken fillets crustier side up while piping hot. Clean
the skillet after cooking each batch and repeat the blackening
procedure with the remaining chicken fillets. To serve, place 2
breast fillets or 1 leg-thigh fillet on each heated serving plate.
If you use a large serving platter, do not stack the fillets.

Note: Blackening should be done either outdoors or in a commercial
kitchen. The process creates an incredible amount of smoke that
will set off your own and your neighbors' smoke alarms. People with
really well-installed commercial hood vents at home have gotten
away with blackening in their own kitchens.

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