This recipe was originally published in June of 2014 and is one of the most popular on the site. We've republished and updated this post with new photos, information, links etc. for 2021 and beyond.
Tautog is one of our favorite fish to both catch and cook on Cape Cod. With it's hearty white meat, it holds up well to almost any way of cooking.
In this recipe, I made a simple breading of parmesan cheese and spicy smoked paprika, with a quick lemon and herb sauce to drizzle all over.
It sets up well to pair with spicy smoked paprika and nutty parmesan cheese. The light herbed lemon sauce gives the fish more depth with it's rich flavors of herbs such as mint, basil, parsley and more.
If you've never heard of tautog, otherwise known as black fish, it's a flakey white fish with a very mild flavor.
Making the Herb-Lemon Sauce
The herb lemon sauce is very simple, and is a great way to add fresh flavors to your dish.
For this sauce, I chose to use flat leaf parsley, basil, rosemary, chives and a small amount of mint.
I started by melting a tablespoon of butter, and then adding in some really good olive oil (Terra Delyssa is THE BEST).
Next I added in a few cloves of minced garlic. Once that came to a low simmer and started to become fragrant, I turned the heat off and added in fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Then I stirred in the fresh herbs and let them all marinate in the sauce while the fish cooked.
Another option (if you'd prefer not to buy so many herbs) is to make a lemon caper sauce, which uses capers and their juice in place of all the herbs. It will be more tangy in flavor from the brininess of the capers, and is a delicious option.
Cooking the Tautog
As you can see, this is just a simple white fish. What is so special about this fish though is that Ryan caught it the day before - fresh as can be!
I chose to use smoked paprika to help give the fish an extra kick of flavor, while still pairing nicely with the lemon herb sauce without overpowering anything.
It took only 8 minutes for it to cook, from start to finish - how easy is that?! You can read the step-by-step detailed recipe and instructions by scrolling below.
Parmesan Crusted Tautog
- 1Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with tin foil or parchment paper.
- 2Arrange filets on the baking sheet and sprinkle each filet on both sides evenly with smoked paprika, salt, pepper and shredded parmesan cheese. Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until cooked through.
Herb Lemon Sauce
- 1In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat then add in olive oil and garlic. Bring to a low sizzle for 2 minutes, then turn the heat off and stir in lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper to taste and herbs.
- 2Let the herbs marinate in the sauce for at least 10 minutes, and then strain the herbs out (optional) before drizzling over the fish. You can use this sauce to drizzle over the rice too!
If you choose to make the Lemon Caper Sauce, simply omit the herbs from the above recipe and instead use 2 TBS capers with their juice. Follow the directions above, except instead stir the capers and their juice into the sauce while the heat is still on before you add the lemon juice.
Another commonly searched for topic is what to serve as a side dish. One of my favorites for tautog is twice cooked rice with spring vegetables and machengo (shown below 👇).
It's a great paring to the tautog and you can access the recipe here.
Fortunately I enjoy experimenting with creative side dishes, and I'm happy to share a few more with you if you are interested. Here is another link to a post which contains some of my other favorite side dishes for fish.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. Please let me know if you have any questions, and if you end up cooking this recipe, then please let me know how it turned out.
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.