November 1 2022

Tautog with Creamy Tomatoes and Cornmeal Fried Okra

by Lauren Collins
10 comments

*This recipe was originally published in April of 2019.

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

Fall in New England always brings a big sigh of relief.  The busy summer tourist season is behind us and tautog (also called blackfish) are biting well. 

Being the wife of a fisherman, I am usually updated on the migratory patterns of tautog each year on a daily basis. And when the blackfish arrive in good numbers, sayonara husband! Thankfully for me this means fresh caught tautog - which are delicious eating.  

Preparing The Tautog

Tautog are a white flakey fish with a rich, buttery texture that holds up really well. No matter what recipe you are following, with tautog you can 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.  

Thanks to my Mom and her Oklahoma roots, I will always have a love affair with okra all things southern. Aside from okra some other southern favorites of mine include hush puppies, beans, BBQ, cornbread, biscuits, sweet tea, fried green tomatoes, and pimento cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

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 any sliminess out. What you are left with are little nuggets of pure okra heaven.

Preparing The Okra

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

The most authentic way to fry okra is to dredge it in egg. Next roll the okra into a mixture of flour, cornmeal and seasonings. The last step when frying okra the authentic way, is to gently drop each okra into super hot oil to let them crisp up. 

However, my method uses a lot less oil, and you'll still get a nice crispiness to the okra. The end result will be little morsels of goodness that go perfectly with creamy tomato sauce (which I'll show you how to make below).

Simmered Tomatoes 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, then go ahead and serve that too, because this sauce goes perfectly with 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 really knock your socks off.

Have I made you hungry yet? I sure hope so! You can check out my detailed recipe below. πŸ‘‡

Seared Tautog with Creamy Tomatoes and Cornmeal Fried Okra
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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!
 

 In conclusion not only is this meal delicious, but it's also extremely healthful. If you have any questions then please don't hesitate to ask by leaving a comment below.

I hope you have a great rest of your day and as always, happy cooking! 🍽

About the author 

Lauren Collins

Through the eyes of a fishermans' wife, I'm excited to share my cooking and photography with you here on MFCC. You can learn more about cooking, and get more recipes by visiting my website Creatively Delish.


    • 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 πŸ™‚

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