St. Peter’s Spicy Fish Seasoning Recipe

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It’s been tough on me to eat fewer grains this week. Turns out my own consciousness needs raising! I eat starches often.

I figure posting a recipe that is grain-free as well as meatless is a good fit for this, the week before Lent begins.

St. Peter's Spicy Fish Seasoning - made my husband, the fish hater, tolerate fish! Woo hoo!

My husband always refused to eat fish until last summer when he had some tilapia with lots of spicy seasoning, pan-fried to perfection. Because he knows he should have more omega 3s in his diet, he allowed me to serve tilapia up to once a week. The boxed coating was easily reverse engineered (and spiced up even more), and then I found this recipe in a FAITH Magazine, published by the Diocese of Lansing. It’s even better!

Note: Unfortunately, I now have learned that tilapia has more omega 6s than omega 3s. It’s not what I’m looking for! The tilapia in Christ’s era was probably quite healthy, but farmed tilapia eats too much corn, which is high in omega 6s. Americans eat way too much omega 6. I need a new bland white fish that I can cut super thin and cover in seasoning, that is also safely and sustainably fished.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Spicy Fish Seasoning Recipe
If you love spicy, you'll love this fish seasoning even if you don't love fish!
  1. In an empty spice jar or small bowl, make the blackening seasoning by combining all of the above dry spices.
  2. The mix stores great for as many fish dinners as you can cover.
  3. To cook the fish:
  4. Heat a heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) on high for a few minutes. Sprinkle some cornmeal on a plate with the seasoning on top and coat both sides of thin tilapia (or other mild fish) fillets with the mixture.
  5. You may want to add a little water to the fish if the cornmeal isn’t sticking.
  6. Sear fillets in hot skillet for about 2-3 minutes on each side (until they are blackened and cooked through).

I use just one plate…no extra dishes for me! I coat them and get them right in the already heated pan, too, so I can just get all fishy once.

St. Peter's Spicy Fish Seasoning - made my husband, the fish hater, tolerate fish! Woo hoo!

I love the flavor of the cast iron skillet and a little butter, ghee, or refined coconut oil. You know fish is done when it flakes when you put a fork in it and lift up.

  • Find more meatless recipes under the Recipes tab above; there’s a whole category there, from soups to bean dishes to salmon patties.
  • Last year I hosted a Meatless Meals Carnival with even more options!
  • Be challenged by what others are doing for Lent at this Lenten Link-Up opportunity.
  • Want to decorate your home for Lent?

St. Peter's Spicy Fish Seasoning - made my husband, the fish hater, tolerate fish! Woo hoo!

UPDATE: Fishy Information

My apologies for tossing information out about tilapia without sources. Here are some excellent resources about tilapia, farmed fish, eco-friendly fish and healthy-for-you fish:

  • U.S. Farmed tilapia is “best choice” for the environment, says Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. However, only 10% of tilapia sold in the U.S. is farmed here. Read The Nourishing Gourmet’s thorough post on why tilapia is still not a good choice.
  • Research from Wake Forest University shows that farmed tilapia, catfish higher in omega-6 fatty acids than lean ground beef, doughnuts. This “could be a potentially dangerous food source for some patients with heart disease, arthritis, asthma and other allergic and auto-immune diseases that are particularly vulnerable to an “exaggerated inflammatory response.”
  • So what fish SHOULD we eat?? Check out the Super Green Fish List from Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch: fish that are BOTH good for the environment and high in omega 3s. Unfortunately, there aren’t many basic, low-on-the-fishy-flavor white fish on there.
  • You can also download a regional safe fish list, which is really helpful for me in the Great Lakes State. Tilapia is still on the happy list, but the omega 6s say otherwise.
  • Kimi has a great post on what considerations to take to choose safe, healthy fish.

St. Peter's Spicy Fish Seasoning - made my husband, the fish hater, tolerate fish! Woo hoo!

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47 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. says

    This is a wonderful recipe. Talipa is a beautiful and mild fish so spicing it up and coating it with cornmeal is a perfect fit.

    I was in Israel last year, and ate “St. Peter’s” fish on the sea of Galillee near Peter’s Primacy. When they served it, it was fried- the whole fish- head, eyes , fins and all. Once I got over the crispy brown fish looking at me on my plate, it was delicious.
    I’m going to make this recipe. We love fish.

  2. Erin says

    Katie, re: your need for a replacement for tilapia, what about catfish? Admittedly, I live in the south and it’s easy to come by (usually from a neighbor’s pond), but it has a great neutral taste and seasons up nicely.

    • Pam says

      St. Peter’s Spicy fish does sound pretty yummy. I’ll plan to get some fish and try it. Love fried catfish! But some would caution against it because they are scavengers (a little like buzzards?) But I haven’t checked that out thoroughly. Do wonder what Katie has to say.

      • Dawnette T. says

        It’s my understanding that most of the catfish sold in the U.S. is imported from Vietnam. The rivers there are heavily polluted (think: giant toilet–literally!). I was horrified. Even catfish farming there was pretty gross, as I recall. I don’t recommend EVER eating non-U.S. catfish. Ewwwww!

    • Katie says

      I have a feeling I would like catfish, but I’m guessing it’s too fishy for poor hubs. Maybe I’ll try it for me and the kids, thank you! :) Katie

  3. Pam says

    I see Clorox GreenWorks advertised here–didn’t notice it until within the last week or so. I’ve wondered if it is truly “green”. (I try to steer clear of their bleach.) I purchased GreenWorks at a wholesale club a few years ago but never used it much so recently gave that away, along with some other natural/green cleaners purchased through a co-op (not even opened) because I really liked what was said about Charlie’s Soap. Since I often buy BIG, I purchased a big jug through Amazon. Think I go free shipping. Still have the question about GreenWorks.

    • Katie says

      I hope it’s “green”! I didn’t actually take the time to do thorough research but liked the “no bleach” aspect as a baby step.

  4. Leah F says

    Sablefish/Black Cod (Alaska or BC origin) might work for the recipe and is one of the top 11 recommended for Omega 3’s and sustainability.

  5. Maria says

    Hi Katie, Sounds like a great recipe. Would the omega-6 be higher in wild caught tilapia, too? I’ve noticed that they always specify wild or farm raised when advertising their fish in the grocery ads. Just wondering.

    • Katie says

      Great question – as far as I know, farm-caught tilapia is “safe for the environment” whereas wild caught is usually from somewhere in Asia and not well fished. The omega 3s might be higher in wild caught – but I don’t know that you could find it/trust it. It’s a tricky issue!

  6. says

    Love it! My husband loves blackened fish (yes, straight seasoning) but of course there’s MSG in it and we hadn’t reverse-engineered it to our satisfaction yet. I will try this!

  7. Sarah W says

    FWIW, I buy Dover Sole Filets (at Trader Joes) which are wild caught and most importantly, the cheapest wild caught fish they sell! Don’t know if you have TJ in your area, but this fish has worked well for me, mostly in fish tacos! (I’m not so much of a fish cook and it is an easy way to prepare it!)

  8. says

    I use whiting fillets. They’re wild caught, mild tasting, and pretty inexpensive at Aldi! I’m not into strong fish flavors myself, but I like these. I just bake them with lemon juice drizzled on them, and they’re perfect.

  9. says

    Another fish to try is Blue Hake. It is a very mild white fish that is wild caught in the waters of New Zealand. It is similar to cod or haddock in texture. They carry it at our local organic farm store and it is reasonably priced as well. I can’t wait to try your coating with it!

    • Pam says

      I’m wondering if farmed tilapia is what you have to work with, if you could off-set the imbalance (omega-3 to 6) by including something in the meal with higher omega 3’s. What do you think?
      I haven’t included much fish in my meals but with all the suggestions given, I’m sure be on the lookout to add more. I noticed wild caught Cod at Costco and there is a Trader Joe’s close by.

      • Katie says

        I see the logic, it’s just that if we need to eat more omega 3s to offset the fish, what is the fish for? Lean protein is great, but per pound I can get grassfed beef for just 15 cents more than tilapia on 1/2 off sale. There’s lots of fish on sale this week for Lent, so I’ll be reading the bags carefully and taking my little pocket guide with me! :) Katie

        • Pam says

          I see one as fish and one as beef, not just an amount of protein. Sometimes one wants fish and other times maybe beef. I also see it a little like reverse engineering (making something you like a little better by improving the quality–maybe something like baby steps or possibly ides for suggesting to someone you car about who may not be ready to go the route of always choosing wild caught (even if it does get tricky)–or pastured–as a means of improving the quality.) I remember something DVDs by Sally Fallon, probably also in the reading material, that it is the ratio that is important. My memory could be lacking, but I think the information given was that a health risk occurs if either the Omega 3 or the 6 is too high. Your correction is welcome if I have that wrong. But that’s why I wondered if the addition of a meal item (meal items/recipe ingredients) which increased the Omega 3s would improve the balance to make it healthier. That just deals with the omegas. I still need to go back to the article in your update to read about the other concerns mentioned.

          • Pam says

            I see that I need to pay more attention to proof-reading before hitting “submit”!
            I found tilapia in my freezer. The bag says “farmed raised” and “responsibly processed”. It’s a product of China; the fillets are individually frozen and packaged. I may not be able to trust what I’m expected to believe about the product, but I do plan to put the recipe to the test today for lunch, with the exception of using fresh onion since I don’t have onion power for the spice mix.

          • Katie says

            You’re right about the omega 3s and 6s – we ought to have about a 4:1 ratio of 6s:3s, but many Americans have more like a 20:1 (im)balance going.

              • Katie says

                It’s not backward, but too many 6s are unhealthy. It’s all about getting the RIGHT balance. More 6s than 3s are fine, just not 20x as many. I know it sounds odd, so thanks for the chance to clarify!
                :) Katie

  10. says

    I prefer Salmon but Tilapia has really nice texture and is very easy to eat. There’s nothing better than grabbin a nice cup of white wine and eating some fish. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Thanks for the recipe, Katie. I will definitely throw something together in the next few days!!!

    • Pam says

      I like them, though the kombucha can get pretty vinegary if it cultures too long. I can generally tolerate it though. I like lots of ginger in my kefir soda.

    • Pam says

      I prepared some for lunch today. It was indeed quite tasty (even without the onion powder) and quite warm! Definitely worth trying again and with healthier choices of fish.

  11. says

    My husband’s family used to own a shrimping boat on the Gulf, and he’s sooo picky about fish. He absolutely refuses to eat farmed anything, and also doesn’t eat catfish (he and his fisherman friends call them “turd rustlers” {sorry} because they scavenge the waste of others and are literally bottom feeders.

    My research seems to indicate that fish that swim in cold water towards the TOP of the food chain tend to be higher in Omega-3’s. Cold water fish have more, because omega-3s don’t harden up in cold and it helps the fish stay flexible.

    Tuna, smelt, whitefish, and trout are good choices, but I don’t know much about the sustainability of those species.

    Unfortunately, they also tend to be higher in mercury and pesticides. I guess the best solution would be to put a pond 0n your property or at least catch your own!

    Thanks for linking up!
    .-= Milehimama´s last blog ..Carnival of Meatless Meals =-.

    • Pam says

      I just went to the WAPF website and searched mercury. A number of articles came up, all of which I’m sure have helpful information. But the two I have so far looked at (briefly) are “Health Hazards of Mercury” written by a dentist (the first in the list) and “Kombucha and Kvass…)
      In the first article, the dentist talks about how widespread the sources for contamination extend, thus how difficult it can be to avoid being contaminated. He also discusses how our diet choices affect our vulnerability (e.g. low fat, low cholesterol, low protein…). He gives recommendations, discusses detoxification and also gives a case history. The other article discusses some gifts from Russia, how they are made, availability, safety, etc. A history (& health claim) is also given near the end of article. The person tells of being diagnosed with severe health issues with no real or helpful solution. The root cause of the illnesses had not been identified. She decided to do her own intentional research but also found some answers in an accidental or unexpected way. After having spent a great deal of money, she needed a less expensive detoxification route. When introduced to kombucha, she initially thought she was allergic and had to avoid it because of the reactions she was having. It turned out to be that because she was so toxic, and the detoxifying action of kombucha was pulling out the toxins too rapidly and flooding her body. She turned to kvass for some liver cleansing then was able to return to the kombucha and gradually work up to increased amounts of consumption.

  12. says

    Tilapia is such a great fish for “non-fish eaters.” It’s really almost so mild you MUST season it well. This one sounds delicious and I’ll definitely be trying it…although, I might ease up on the cayenne. You’re very, very brave. :-)

    Thanks for sharing.


  13. Anne says

    I fixed your fish recipe this evening, and oh so yummy. I printed it off from the since I’m having trouble printing off from your web site. I took the recipe with me to the spice shop for the amounts of each spice, rushed home after picking up Tilapia from the grocery store, so missed your note about using cornmeal. I’m not sure I’ve ever used cornmeal for anything. So my friend and I had the straight blackening mix on the fish spread with olive oil. I even made a mistake and put 2 tablespoons of pepper in the mix, instead of the 1. I was afraid the finished product would be inedible, but it was very good. My friend loved it. Not that I would add the extra pepper the next time. And I might cut down on the salt.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I haven’t fixed fish in such a long time, but am looking forward to fixing and eating more of it.

  14. Trinisoul says

    Using lime helps get rid of some of the fishiness. Try cod, haddock or hake for more omega 3.

    Hake is a lovely white fish and not fishy.

  15. Sarah E. says

    Hi Katie,

    Not sure if you’re still looking for white fish recommendations two+ years later(!), but if you are, I highly suggest giving barramundi a try! The main (only?) US company widely selling this fish is big into sustainable practices and they claim their fish is mercury- and PCB-free. They also claim a ratio of 1:1 in omega-6s to omega-3s in their fish. The flavor is amazingly un-fishy (if cooked directly after thawing). Here’s a link to their website:
    I just saute it up on my stove top and eat it with a little garlic butter sauce (also great with a little bit of lemon as well). Delicious!

    • Katie says

      I am, actually. 😉 I need to look into this asap, as you’re not the first to tell me about it…thank you for that link!! :) Katie

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