Baked Bluefish

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The first time I encountered bluefish was in the Massachusetts kitchen of my friend Jill. Her famously unflappable son John was practically beside himself with anticipation of diving into one of the fillets his mom had prepared.

I had never heard of bluefish, which are indeed blue, both outside and in. They’re an east coast fish, we don’t have them on the west coast. Their season is short and they spoil very quickly, so you have to get them fresh and eat them right away. Bluefish are considered sport fishing fish because they are so aggressive.

Baked Bluefish

 

Oddly to me, the fish isn’t that popular to eat. Perhaps because if it’s good it’s great, and if it’s off, it’s really rank. In any case, it can be had cheaply. I bought this big fillet for $2.79 a pound. The bill came to $1.89, which is just unheard of for good fish where I live. The fish is an oily fish, so if you like canned tuna, sardines, mackerel, you’ll be right at home with bluefish. Otherwise, stick to cod or sole.

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My goddaughter Piper LOVES bluefish.

For this preparation of bluefish, we’ve baked it in foil with lemon, butter, herbs, and a little white wine. The lemon is particularly important to cut the fattiness of the fish. Bluefish is also excellent grilled or smoked. Do you like bluefish? How do you prepare it?

Baked Bluefish Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 to 4

You can also add a layer of thinly sliced fennel to the fish.

Ingredients

  • One bluefish fillet (1/2 pound to 1 pound)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 to 5 very thin slices of fresh lemon
  • 3 pats of butter (about a teaspoon each)
  • Several sprigs of fresh herbs such as tarragon, thyme, fennel fronds, and/or parsley (or a teaspoon of dried herbs such as Italian seasoning or Herbes de Provence)
  • 3 Tbsp dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut a piece of foil large enough to enclose the bluefish fillet. (You can double layer the foil if you are working with thin foil). Place the foil in a roasting pan. Rinse the bluefish fillet and place it in the center of the foil, skin side down.

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2 Sprinkle the fillet with salt and pepper. Lay a layer of thin lemon slices on top of the fillet. Arrange pats of butter along the top of the fillet. Lay several sprigs of fresh herbs on top of the butter and lemon slices.

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3 Create a boat shape with the foil around the fish so that liquid does not leak out. Pour white wine over the fish, and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Crimp the edges of the foil together so they are relatively sealed.

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4 Place in the preheated oven (or you can put the foil packet on the grill) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or so, until the fish is cooked through and opaque. Carefully lift the fillet from the foil and place on a serving dish. Pour the cooking liquid over the fish to serve.

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Links:

Smoked Bluefish Paté from Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

Baked Bluefish

Showing 4 of 46 Comments

  • Mary Haling

    This is the best recipe that saved me from ruining a huge bluefish handed to me by my neighbor right from his boat across the fence caught in the Atlantic off the coast of New Jersey. A huge blue fish that tasted great thanks to this excellent recipe! A big thank you from Rutherford NJ.

  • pavel

    Total novice cook here. Loved this recipe! I bought a bluefish fillet on a whim after work, got home and had NO idea how to prepare it. Found this recipe and luckily I had most of the required ingredients.

    For the record, I think this fish is pretty versatile. I used olive oil in place of butter, limes instead of lemon and italian seasoning instead of fresh herbs. But it still came out amazing. It’s definitely a strong fish but I didn’t find it too oily at all.

    Paired it with a Harpoon Long Thaw White IPA which was the perfect end to a long day. This really boosted my confidence with cooking fish. Thanks so much!

  • Ana

    I don’t understand the dislike of Bluefish by some people. I think it has something to do with the color that turns them off. To me, a fresh piece of Bluefish has a buttery taste. I usually make it with a brushing of butter and a sprinkling of paprika and baked for a few minutes then finished under the broiler. A couple of squirts of lemon juice and I am good to go. It has such a wonderfully rich taste. It must be good for you too because of all the fish oil in it. Your receipe sounds delish. I will definetly try it on the next piece of Bluefish I make. I especially like that it’s cooked in foil. Anything that gets me out of the kitchen clean-up faster is greatly appreciated here. Thanks!

  • William Riordan

    Bill R.
    Hi folks. try soaking your Bluefish in a bowl of regular whole milk. Cut your fillets into the pieces you intend to eat first. Soak them for 30-40 minutes in the milk, put fish into bakeware dish or as I prefer throw away aluminum pans. Melt 1/2 stick of butter, add 1/2 cup of lemmon juice, pour over fish fillets and sprinkle on itallian bread crumbs on fish. Cook for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. ” Oh by the way Elise, Bluefish freezes nicely and is still very good when thawed out for cooking.”

    Bon Apetiet

  • Lisa G.

    Great recipe! I used it tonight after picking up a fillet from the fish market in Nantucket…however, I broiled the fillet an additional 5+ minutes to ensure it was cooked through. Fresh bluefish is the only way to go and if filleted right, has little to no bones and awesome flavor…you KNOW you are eating FISH. :)

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