It seems that bluefish sometimes get brushed aside as the last resort fish to put on the dinner table. Its true that sometimes these toothy, ferocious fighters can taste as strong as they fought getting into the boat. If properly handled and cooked within a day or two these buggers will taste as good as any fish that swim in our waters. Prepped and prepared correctly, you will enjoy eating them as much as you did catching them. An important sea note to remember is: the diet of the blues, like all of the fish caught in close proximity to Block Island, impacts its flavor. As the saying goes, ‘you are what you eat’, right? Often the Blues that patrol the waters close to the mainland bays and sounds target bunker also called menhaden or a pogey. These silvery baitfish are very oily and are actually a main ingredient in WD-40 and other industrial and household lubricants. Bunker or pogeys are found infrequently in our island waters so the blues must resort to sand eels, squid, and just about anything else they can devour Anyone who does the job of filleting a block island caught bluefish can attest that the meat is comparably much paler in color and less oily than let’s say a Long Island Sound or Narragansett Bay blue. I’ve found that fish in the three to eight pound range taste the best.
Over the last 14 years, I have converted many skeptics to being flat out bluefish junkies. Nine or 10 years back I started giving out a recipe I used for wild salmon while I was the Chef at Elis restaurant back in 2000. The method is easy and great with blues. It’s also a home run with just about other fish that swims in the ocean. If you catch a bluefish and plan to keep and eat it, make sure to take these steps. Bleed it by cutting one side of its gills. Ice it down until you can fillet it, if your not gonna be able to fillet them until the next day make sure remove the guts. After you fillet the fish be sure to keep the fillets cold. Ice works best, but the bottom of the fridge will work just fine. Make sure to eat it within 48 hours. If you’re buying bluefish or your friend wants to give you some just make sure it was just caught and has been on ice. Nuff said.
Screaming reels and bon appetite!
— Captain Matt King
4 lbs bluefish fillets(skin on) or 6 fillets 1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups mayonnaise I cup of fresh dill( yes, dried will work but not as tasty)
1 cup whole grain mustard (Grey Poupon works) Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Squeezed Juice from 2 lemons
1. Preheat your grill to medium high and if you are using an oven put her on bake at 350 degrees
2. Combine mayo, mustard, lemon juice in medium size bowl and whisk until completely mixed
3. Add olive oil and dill then whisk until you have a nice smooth texture. The sauce should be stiff enough to stay on the whisk but not thick like the mayo out of the jar.
4. Now add your salt and pepper.
Now its time to cook. Place the fillets skin side down on the grill. If you’re using oven use a half sheet pan and make sure to use parchment paper or spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray. Take your mayo and mustard aioli and cover the whole fillet. It shouldn’t be super thick, but enough where you can see the meat through it. If using the grill cook with lid closed. Cooking time is about 6-9 minutes or 10 minutes in the oven. DO NOT flip the fish over. It cooks skin side down start to finish. Check to see if it’s done by using a fork on the thickest part of the biggest fillet. The topping should be bubbly and slightly caramelized if you did it correctly. When it’s cooked through, simply take a flat spatula and lift the meat from the skin. My favorite way to serve it is with baked potato and asparagus. It also goes great on top of a mixed green salad and leftovers are perfect to make next day beach sandwiches.