Baked Bluefish

Bluefish fillets baked in foil with lemon, white wine, butter, and herbs.

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

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

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.

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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Comments

  1. Chris

    Man, I just had this argument with a friend who keeps smoking blue fish. I told him blues are no good to eat, and he disagrees. I used to catch blues all the time in the LI sound as a kid, and the few times we cooked them up I did not like them. We never really ate oily fish as kids though, just flounder and the like. We eat did baby blue fish (AKA snappers) quite a bit though.

    Now I know it was the cooking method, not the fish. I look forward to trying this, and thank you for re-educating those of us who throw blue fish back.

    Hi Chris, Smoking the fish is a common way of preparing it. But you need to like smoked, strongly flavored fish, like smoked herring. Bluefish is a strongly flavored fish. If you like sardines, you should like bluefish. If not, then perhaps not, no matter how it’s prepared. ~Elise

  2. xeno

    We make it almost exactly like that, except for a soak in buttermilk for an hour or so.

  3. Diana

    I used to fish for these all the time with my father. For awhile we would eat them, then the rest of the season they went to the cats. The young fish (snappers) are much tastier, less oily and fun to catch with kids and a sparkling lure in the shallows.

    We also caught fluke, flounder, and striped bass in the Long Island Sound – those were always the ones we looked forward to.

    We never did bake the blues though, I’ll forward your recipe to my dad!

  4. Nancy Singleton Hachisu

    I love this. First, of course the Massachusetts part gets me hooked (my own personal furusato–mom’s birthplace and home). But also, I love that the preparation is so much like our Japanese style of butter/sake steam broiling in foil. Brilliant..and timely!

  5. Rocky Mountain Woman

    I’ve never had bluefish. I make sea bass very similar to this recipe and it’s always wonderful…

  6. charlie

    Bluefish that was swimming a couple of hours ago, cut into steaks and grilled to a nice medium rare is about the best fish eating experience one can have outside of properly grilled tuna. Just hit it with a little lemon pepper before grilling and a small amount of fresh lemon right before eating.

    Thanks Charlie! ~Elise

  7. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    Being an East Coast girl, I love bluefish. My favorite way to prepare is to broil it with a topping of Dijon mustard mixed with a tiny bit of mayonnaise. The mustard forms a crust, but also helps to balance the oily quality of the fish. This is a favorite preparation at Legal Sea Foods, the famous Boston-based restaurant chain.

    Thanks Lydia, we’ll try it that way next time! We have a flock of kids here who just adore bluefish. ~Elise

  8. Top Cuisine avec Lavi

    I like fish very much and your recipe looks delicious!

  9. Tzakuk

    The first time I had bluefish was in the late 1970s on Martha’s Vineyard. It was prepared for me by one of the very first chefs at a local Tavern, which has since become a world famous eatery and brand.

    The filet was simply baked, skin side down, with a topping of mayonnaise and sliced Bermuda onion. It was delicate and delicious.

    I have since experimented with many mayonnaise and aioli based toppings with excellent results. Blue fish has a rich, distinct flavor and pairs well with savory flavors. Try baking it with basil and sun dried tomato aioli, or a black pepper and asiago mayonnaise.

    I’ve heard the way they make it in the Vineyard is baked with mayo. Thanks for confirming. Love the idea with basil and sun dried tomato aioli. Yum! ~Elise

  10. Drew

    The first time I had bluefish, I believe it was grilled with some italian dressing and other seasonings. Sadly it was when I was a kid, and the recipe has eluded me since.

    I just recently had some broiled bluefish over at the No Name Restaurant in Boston. Very simple seasonings with lemon, and it was delicious.

    Next time I’m near a kitchen, I might just have to pick some up and try this!

  11. Vane

    Blue Fish is not only fun to catch but this recipe makes it look fun to cook.

  12. bklysage

    Blue fish is a tought one sometimes. I have made a cerviche using it since it is so oily. Also I have marinated in lemon juice, cilantro,and crushed garlic for two hours, then cut up some mango, celery, jalepeno (without seeds)slivered cabbage then in a wok saute the blue fish after its marinating time, add the fruit and veggies for only a couple of minutes to soften and eat it in a tortilla. I like to add some sour cream and avocado, my husband likes it as it is.

    I think it would be excellent in ceviche or escabeche. Thanks for the suggestion! ~Elise

  13. Mike

    I’ve spent several summers on the Jersey shore. When we happened to catch blue fish, we tossed them back. If you want to eat them, go ahead. But don’t say you weren’t warned; they’re oily, they lack flavor, and they have more bones than they’re worth.

    They may be oily, but I’ve always found them highly flavorful. ~Elise

  14. whr03

    the taste of bluefish is dependent on the fishermen on the boat. it is a fragile fish that requires bleeding out while still alive. good if done right, nasty if not.

  15. Mike G

    Bluefish oreganata is my favorite method. There is something really satisfying about going down to the beach in Montauk, NY and landing a small bluefish (18″) then coming back to the house, cleaning it then baking it. Yum! Of course it needs to be washed down with a light red (Chianti) and a side of broccoli rabe works well too. Summer flavors!

  16. Sally C

    My childhood favorite fish was bluefish, my mother would cook it in butter with lemon. Got it from Herman the Fishman who drove to our house. Tried and tried to get it in California with no luck, even though fish from all over the world gets flown in.

  17. briefcandle

    I think the reason bluefish is so cheap is that a sport fisherman can easily bring home 200+ lbs in a single day when they are in season. When I lived on Long Island, nobody ever *paid* for bluefish. All you had to do was to let a neighbor know that you were interested in some.

    Btw, smoked bluefish is outstanding!

  18. tracy g

    Guess what? we live on the delmarva penninsula, maryland and when we first came to maryland 35 years ago the local watermen had a way of making bluefish and it was bluefish cakes. after filleting, you simmer in a pot of water with salt added. drain..cool..flake..and make up into cakes (can use a crab cake recipe)..fry…enjoy..

    Great idea, thank you! ~Elise

  19. Teddy J. Redmond

    Elise, thank you very much for SimplyRecipes and all you do here. I can not begin to tell you how much our family enjoys your blog and your recipes!

    My kids and I do something very similar when we are lucky enough to bring home some trout. The fish cooks up really quickly in the foil packets (we throw them on the grill.)
    I would like to offer up this recipe for Striped Bass, passed onto me by a fishing buddy- very simple, and the kids love it! (I only wish Striped Bass were as easy to catch as Bluefish!)

    Parmesan-Crusted Striped Bass
    2 lbs of filets 3 TBS chopped scallions
    2 TBS of lemon juice ½ tsp Salt
    ½ Cup Parmesan cheese Black pepper
    4 TBS softened butter Dash of Tabasco
    3 TBS Mayonnaise
    Soak filets in lemon juice for 10 minutes.
    Place remaining ingredients in a small bowl and combine well.
    Broil filet 3”-4” under preheated broiler for 5 minutes
    Spread Parmesan mixture over filets and broil for an additional 2 minutes.
    Enjoy!

    Thank you! I love stripers. ~Elise

  20. Cheryl H.

    We love Bluefish fillets grilled with a sprinkle of Cajun seasoning. Yum!!

  21. Igloo

    Ooh. I’ve never heard of bluefish before either. One to try! How hard are they to buy? Are they know by any other name?

    The Latin name of the fish is Pomatomus saltatrix. It also goes by “tailor” in Australia, according to the Wikipedia. I have only seen it for sale on the East coast of the US. It doesn’t freeze well and must be eaten soon after it’s caught, so from what I can tell no one ships it. ~Elise

  22. Virginia

    It is so interesting that you are posting this recipe now. I am from NC and have lived on the east coast all my life. I spent my first 21 years living about an hour from the coast, and we ate seafood on a regular basis. I had not (at least to my knowledge) eaten bluefish until this past week when I went to an environmental workshop on Ocracoke. There, we were served the most amazing fish dish. The fish were baked and smothered in a sauce of lemon, butter, and herbs that was just perfect. When I asked what fish we were eating, I was told it was locally caught bluefish. Delicious!

  23. Greg

    We usd to go charter fishing off Montauk Point to catch “baby blues”. No bait was required, just a shiny spinner and we would catch them while feeding on bait fish, pulling them up two at a time sometimes. What fun. And they were delicious. We grilled them in foil the same exact way. Fantastic.

  24. Jen

    Thanks for posting this recipe. Reading this really brings back memories for me. My Grandfather used to fish for blues every summer and stock the freezer. :)

  25. Jonathan

    It might depend a lot on where blues are caught. I have a house out on LI now where we go fishing for snappers (baby blues) in the late summer and early fall – very tasty! The Adults not so much because of how oily they are. When I was a kid, however, we summer vacationed on the lower Eastern Shore (delmarva) where it’s a whole different story. We threw back the babies (which had very little flavor) and kept the adults which tasted very much like striped bass – maybe a touch stronger if you’re doing a serious taste comparison. What I’ve been told on more than a few occasions is that they feed on adult menhaden (bunker) in northern waters while in more southern waters the blues feed on the juveniles, which is based on menhaden summer migrations. Bunker is also a very fatty oily fish – adults much more so – so it ends up making the northern blues very oily too. I’m really not sure if I’m right about this but it makes sense based on the taste difference which I’ve experienced firsthand. It’s still a full flavored fish no matter where it comes from. We used to use mayo too when we baked it – skin side down with a thin layer of mayo over the filet and then sprinkled with Old Bay seasoning.

  26. Amy Gross

    Growing up on the Jersey shore, we fished for and ate bluefish a lot. With most people, it’s love it or hate it. The blueness really can be quite disconcerting. As one poster mentioned, the snappers (young blues) are tastier (less mealy) and more fun to catch, too. I honestly think the age of the bluefish has a lot to do with the flavor, so unless you have caught the fish yourself, your dinner might be more guesswork than food science. If you’re unsure, the foolproof way to cook bluefish is to fry it. Double-batter it with a flour/cornmeal coating and fry quickly at a high heat in shallow oil. Top with an aioli or other mayonnaise-y sauce. Ylise, thanks for introducing bluefish to your readers!

  27. Paz

    Yum! I love bluefish!

  28. Elisa

    My favorite way to have bluefish is grilled or broiled with some olive oil, salt & pepper, with some of the skin or fish being somewhat crisp. I don’t think this fish can be “overcooked” as it is so oily. I’ve also baked it with lemon & parsley and seasonings, leaving it moist, but did not enjoy it as much as the grilled, drier version.

  29. Irene Rothschild

    First, let me tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I was especially interested in your comments (as well as the recipe) for Blue fish. As a long time summer resident of the Jersey shore (Long Beach Island), we spent much of our summer fishing or buying fresh caught. Blue fish was one of our favorites, but maybe you have to be a fisherman to appreciate the flavor of a fresh caught blue.
    As the editor of a local cookbook, we had many entries for this tasty fish,some of which could easily be exchanged for striped bass. The best of these usually had fresh cooked tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and herbs in foil, topped with fish and sprinkled white wine or lemon juice. The acid is definitely needed to cut the richness of the fish.

    Thanks Irene! ~Elise

  30. sarah

    i like my bluefish smoked and black pepper-crusted. i put it on crusty bread with sliced red onion, mashed avocado and a squeeze of lemon over the top – makes an awesome meal, breakfast, lunch or dinner!

  31. Christian Gehman

    Catching your own bluefish is so easy, even I had good luck. When the Blues are running, they’ll hit anything shiny — just wade in (not too deep) toward the breakers, and zing your hook out over the curl. And you can catch a bucket full immediately! The best plan is to cut their poor throats immediately so they can bleed out in moments — makes for the tastiest fillets. They can get strong in a fish market, though. Still good, however. The Outer Banks is a great place to catch blues!

  32. Herman Knieriem

    Legal Seafood, a Boston original, introduced smoked bluefish pate many years ago and my wife and I have captured the flavor of that delicacy in a personal recipe. If you haven’t sampled this wonderful pate you have not tasted the best of bluefish!

  33. Karista @Karista's Kitchen

    Love this Bluefish dish! I couldn’t get enough while living on the East coast. We don’t get it over here, I may have to special order through my fishmonger. :)

  34. The Omnivore

    Bluefish was my favorite fish growing up (I think because blue was my favorite color) so I never understood how people didn’t like it. These days, I bake it with butter, onions and dill, on a bed of thinly sliced potatoes. Delicious and you get two dishes out of one pan!

    Love the idea of baking it on top of thinly sliced potatoes. Thank you! ~Elise

  35. Arthur in the Garden!

    Bluefish are very popular here on the coast of North Carolina. I like them grilled or broiled. I will have to try this as it looks wonderfull.

    Arthur

  36. Kelly

    I’ve been cooking Bluefish much like this for years; try adding cherry tomatoes and button mushrooms in the foil packet! Yummy!

  37. Anna

    I’ve been wanting to make this dish ever since you posted it, but we don’t come across bluefish very often, despite living in CT. Yesterday, I found it at a farmer’s market of all places and grabbed up three pounds right away (we’ve got five kids and all of us love fish). It was AMAZING. Hands down, one of the best pieces of fish I’ve ever eaten, and I wish now that I’d bought twice as much. No oiliness at all, the lemon and the wine cut straight through it. I’ll have to start combing the fish markets around here more carefully!

  38. sammie from maine

    I made this a week or so ago and it was delicious. Thank you so much.

    • JR

      Agree. One of the best bluefish recipes I’ve tried, and simple and quick as well!

  39. David Reuter

    Elise just found you site, realy, like it!!

    I’ve been a fisherman for most of my 71 years. I’ve found that Bluefish is better if properly filleted and trimmed. After filleting remove all darker flesh especially found along mid-line – that’s where the oily taste comes from. I’ve cooked Bluefish in very way you’ve mentioned, they all work and all taste great.

    I like Ceviche made with the freshest Bluefish possible -we start preparing it on the boat (we always bring Lemons, Limes, Onions, spices and Olive oil ,when fishing for Bluefish. As soon as possible, after tying up the boat,we visit a local Bakery for fresh crusty bread. The Ceviche is great with a home made Italian style Red wine, raw onion slices and the fresh bread. That’s how a group of, now long dead, Italian fishermen taught me to eat Bluefish, unbeatable!

  40. Jim Gaul

    My family ate blue fish on a regular basis back in the ’50’s and ’60’s. We grew up in Burlington Township, NJ, so we had easy access to fresh fish. My mother would bake them, whole, heads off, and would make slices in the skin and lay bacon over it. Sometimes she would stuff the cavity with onions and lemon. I like to eat them with tartar sauce. Wonderful!!

  41. stephanie

    decided to buy some bluefish because it was on sale, but i had no idea what to do with it. i used your recipe as the base, and i really enjoyed it! first layered olive oil and onions. topped that with the fish and scattered mushrooms, tomatoes, and asparagus around the fillets. added lemon slices and parsley on top, drizzled wine over and baked for 20 minutes. finished it in the broiler, since it wasnt quite cooked (my fillets were pretty thick). tasted very similar to tuna! thanks for the recipe!

  42. Anna

    This has become my go-to recipe for bluefish since I commented almost two years ago. We just had this again last night and, as always, it was an amazing dish. Thanks again!

  43. BM

    I tried this recipe with my herbs on hand (rosemary, sage, oregano – all fresh) and the lemon suggested, pepper and salt, but used olive oil…it was awesome! Thanks for sharing!!

  44. 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. :)

  45. 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