The fall and winter months are excellent times to catch Black Drum in Hilton Head Island, SC. The hungry fish are found off our coast lurking around artificial reefs and structure. Drum are bottom feeders hunting for shrimp, crabs and squid. The Black Drum is a close cousin of Red Drum and has a mild, sweet flavor with firm, white flesh and large, moist flakes. It is comparable to Red Snapper and cooks up to pure white.
- 1 tbsp. sweet paprika
- 2 1⁄2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. cayenne
- 3⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 3⁄4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
- 1⁄2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1⁄2 tsp. dried oregano
- 12 oz. butter, melted
- 6 oz. (8-oz.) 1/2-inch–thick filets skinless boneless black drum
- Combine paprika, salt, onion and garlic powders, cayenne, black and white pepper, thyme, and oregano in a small bowl and set aside.
- Put 2 tablespoons of the butter on 6 small plates. Set aside and keep warm.
- Put remaining butter into a wide, shallow dish. Dip each filet in butter and place on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray.
- Dust each filet generously on both sides with spice mixture, pressing spices and herbs into fish with your hands. Pour remaining butter into a small bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 200° ventilate well and open windows.
- Heat a large skillet over high heat until white and ashy, 8-10 minutes. Carefully place 2-3 filets in the pan. Stand back to avoid smoke and pour 1 tsp. of the remaining butter over each filet.
- Cook until the bottom of each filet appears blackened, about 2 minutes. Turn filets over and pour 1 tsp. butter over each. Continue cooking until fish is cooked through.
- Transfer to a sheet tray on a rack and keep warm in the oven. Repeat the cooking process with remaining fish and butter. Serve with reserved warm melted butter.