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Tautog with Creamy Tomatoes and Cornmeal Fried Okra

Lauren Collins

Whew that's a big recipe name, huh? Well let me tell you, tautog with creamy tomatoes and cornmeal fried okra will be your new best friend this spring.  

If you are a fisherman yourself or you're married to one like I am, you know that this is tautog season here on Cape Cod. Thankfully for me, this means fresh caught fish!

Springtime in New England always brings a big sigh of relief.  The long winters we endure can seem to last a lifetime. When the sun shines, the birds start chirping, and flowers, plants and trees start to bud. You know winter is finally done and it couldn't be a better feeling!


Being the wife of a fisherman, I am usually updated on the migratory patterns of fish coming up from the south each year on a daily basis. And when the fish do actually arrive, sayonara husband!  But at least I get fresh fish to eat...

With that said, the arrival of spring also means that many of the inshore fish which my husband (and many others here on MFCC) love to catch have finally arrived. One species which is fun to catch and delicious to eat is the tautog, or blackfish.

Preparing The Tautog

Tautog (also known as blackfish) are a rich, buttery-tasting white flakey fish that holds up really well, whether you are making this recipe, fish tacos, or anything else. Grill it, bake it, pan sear it, you name it! 

When preparing the tautog fillet, make sure to remove all the skin and pat it dry with paper towels before seasoning with salt and pepper. Then you are ready to add the fillet to the pan.

The addition of okra (one of my favorite vegetables), along with creamy tomatoes, is what makes this dish so darn magical - yet so darn easy to prepare.  

I love okra as if I grew up in the deep south. Thanks to my Mom and her Oklahoma roots, I will always have a love affair with all things southern. Hush puppies, beans, BBQ, cornbread, biscuits, sweet tea, fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese, and of course okra. My mouth is watering!

Some people think okra is slimy, but I want you to forget all about slimy okra because my quick and easy pan fried technique takes the sliminess out, leaves you with little nuggets of pure okra heaven.

Preparing The Okra

If you've never cooked with okra, it's very simple.  Start by washing them, then trim the stems and cutting the okra into 1/2 inch pieces.

The authentic way to fry okra is to dredge it in egg, then into flour and cornmeal with some seasonings, then put them into super hot oil to let them crisp up. 

However my method uses a lot less oil, but you'll still get a nice crispiness to the okra. The sliminess cooks out so the end result are little morsels of goodness that go perfectly with the creamy tomato sauce.

Tomatoes Simmered In A Creamy Sauce

The sauce for the tomatoes is a light, creamy sauce flavored with a little lemon juice and fresh rosemary. If you have rice on hand, go ahead and serve that too, because this sauce goes perfectly with some rice!

Pan sear the tautog separately, and then place it ontop of the creamy tomato sauce. This allows for you to fully taste the flavors of the fish.

This recipe also works with just about any other white flakey fish, but if you can get your hands on some tautog, the buttery, rich taste of this firmer white flakey fish will knock your socks off.

Have I made you hungry yet? I sure hope so! 

Check out the recipe below and happy cooking 🍴

Seared Tautog with Creamy Tomatoes and Cornmeal Fried Okra
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
  • 2 lb fresh tautog (blackfish) filets - or any white flakey fish, 4 filets with skin removed
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 TBS fresh rosemary
  • 1.5 C low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 TBS flour
  • canola oil, salt and pepper
  • 1 lb okra, chopped
  • 2 egg whites
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1/3 C fine ground cornmeal
  1. In a large skillet, heat about 2 TBS canola oil over medium high. Cook tomatoes, onion, garlic and rosemary until onions turn transparent and tomatoes start to break down, about 5 minutes. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk broth and flour together. Add that to the pan and stir to combine. Bring to a low simmer and allow to thicken, about 5-8 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine okra, egg whites, cayenne, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Using another large skillet, heat 2 TBS canola oil over medium high. Add okra, then cover and cook about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they turn bright green. Take the cover off, stir to break up pieces and add more oil or cornmeal if needed. Continue lightly frying for about 15 minutes or until okra becomes browned and crispy.
  3. Using the same pan as the okra, wipe the pan with a towel to get the excess cornmeal out, then heat a little oil again (about 1 TBS). Season the filets of fish with salt and pepper on both sides, then place the fish filets down into the pan. Let each side cook about 5-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until the fish is cooked through.
  4. To serve, ladle tomatoes on the bottom, then place a filet on the top. Spoon some fried okra on the side, then serve. Okra and tomatoes are like PB&J, so go ahead and mix them up if you please!

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

  1. Sounds good… may experiment and add a touch of cream to the sauce.

    1. Great idea Mike! Let me know how it is with the cream 🙂

  2. Laura and I print and try all your receipts! Keep them coming! So good!

    1. Thank you Tim! I’m so glad you are enjoying them 🙂

  3. Thanks Lauren. Sounds yummy. I will be trying this recipe soon.

    1. Thanks Garry! I hope you love it as much as we do!

  4. Sounds yummy! I have never cooked okra but this looks really interesting to me! Thanks!

    1. Okra is the best!! It’s hard to find it fresh up here, but you can easily find it cut up frozen – Whole Foods for sure sells it and I would imagine the other chains would as well. I hope you try it sometime 🙂

  5. Nice article Lauren. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

    1. Thanks Jeanne! We really enjoy this meal, I hope you do too!


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