Chef John Folse's Bayou Bengal Fish

Prep Time: 4 Hours
Yields: 6 Servings

Seafood has always played an important role in Louisiana cuisine due to the state's natural abundance. As each culture arrived in Louisiana they brought their own influences and ingredients to bear on the plentiful seafood they found here. This Indian-inspired recipe comes from "Saffron to Sassafras," a new book created by the Indian community in Baton Rouge. You can find exotic spices like nigella (black seed) at International Market on Tiger Bend or Florida Boulevard. Call 925-5135.

1 (3-4 pound) red fish, snapper, bass or tilapia, cleaned and scaled
1½ tsps salt
1 tsp turmeric
1/2-1 cup mustard oil or safflower oil
2 tbsps grated ginger
1/2 cup dry mustard or prepared Creole mustard
1 cup fresh tomato puree
2 hot green chili peppers, sliced
1 tsp nigella seeds
Cilantro leaves for garnish

With a sharp knife, make several slits 2 inches apart on both sides of the fish. Rub salt and turmeric all over. Add a little of the oil and ginger and let fish marinade for at least three hours. Preheat oven to 400º F. In a small bowl, mix mustard, tomato, chili, nigella and remaining oil into a fine paste. Pour over the fish and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Uncover and garnish with cilantro.