The words food and burnt go together like oil and water. The word blackened, however, goes with fish like peas and carrots. You get the idea.

Blackened fish is one of my favorite entrees because you are able to enjoy a well seasoned fillet and still appreciate the true flavor of the fish. Ocean fish like mahi and red snapper are especially flavorful when blackened, but even fresh water favorites like catfish benefit from blackening.

When it comes to blackened catfish, Copeland's has the technique mastered. The New Orleans-based chain has been serving up Cajun and Creole meals in Houma for years, and its seafood menu items tend to be among the restaurant's best. Copeland's blackened catfish does appear burnt when it arrives at the table, but rest assured that the dark crust is just the browned butter and seasonings coating the fish.

Catfish can have a muddy quality that will surface through the seasoning, but the Copeland's fillet was smooth and clean. The flaky fish is fork tender and pairs especially well with the salty notes of the blackening. Although a bit on the dry side for my liking, the catfish is able to hold a sauce without becoming too soggy. Copeland's Creole meuniere has always been my go-to sauce for catfish. In fact, meuniere is the same sauce that tops the restaurant's signature Ricochet Catfish.

Meuniere is all about butter, lemon, Worcestershire, parsley and other hints of Creole seasonings. The sauce produces a strong earthy, rustic flavor that is smooth up front but has bite on the back end. It isn't spicy, but your palate will know if it just took on meuniere sauce thanks to the lingering aftertaste. You will either love it or hate it. If you love it, you have a biscuit on your plate to mop up any sauce that didn't make it on the fish.

Copeland's serves its blackened catfish with a choice of two sides. I opted for onion strings and red hot potatoes. The former was quite greasy and lacked a boldness I was craving. The latter is what you'd get if you'd mash potatoes out of a seafood boiling pot. The name fits, as the potatoes are indeed red and very hot. The creamy side dish is the perfect complement to the crusty catfish fillets.

Copeland's does seafood well, and its blackened catfish is no exception. Be adventurous and try it with the meuniere sauce. You might just discover something new you like.