Baked Fish Creole

James Beard

Author and Educator

James Beard originally called for whole redfish in this recipe, but since the fish, a native of the Gulf of Mexico near the Louisiana coast, has been nearly wiped out by overfishing, we have substituted red snapper or striped bass fillets. You can also use any other skin-on firm-fleshed fillet.


  • 4 slices bacon
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 3 cups canned or fresh cooked tomatoes, puréed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2-3 lbs. red snapper or striped bass fillet(s)
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, roughly chopped
  • Sliced black olives


Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Cook the bacon in a deep skillet until crisp. Set aside to drain on paper towels and crumble when cooled. Pour out all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat and add the butter to the skillet. Sauté the onions and garlic in the butter and bacon fat until tender, about 7-8 minutes. Add the puréed tomatoes, cloves, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Salt and pepper the fish and place in an oiled baking pan. Pour the sauce over the fish and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.

Remove the fish to a hot platter and garnish it with crumbled bacon slices, chopped eggs, and olives. Pour the sauce around it. If the sauce seems too thick, dilute it with a little red wine.


6 servings