Bluefish. Who likes it?

Husband went fishing on Cape Cod bay - no stripers but came back with two blues - one on an eel and one on his handmade popper. Bled it out in saltwater. Smoked most of it and vacuumed sealed but cooked some of it fresh for dinner. It’s a strong mushy fish. Any redeeming ideas from this forum???


My mom used to make it. Maybe in a strong flavored sauce like tomato or curry. I remember strong, but not mushy.

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I love bluefish but it goes south FAST, even if frozen when very fresh. I used to get it from a community-supported fishery. It was swimming the day before. I slathered it with creamy mustard/garlic dressing, then baked it at high heat, or broiled it. But I learned the hard way that by two weeks in the freezer, the second (still raw) half of the 2# share had begun to go rancid. Cooked leftovers should be eaten within two days, tops.

I always try to respect the catch, but I just can’t like it.

I looked up blue fish in your area and learnt a few interesting things.

It’s less strong if the dark bits are removed. Is it readily available smoked? Or you can smoke it yourself if you or someone has the equipment.

Bluefish meat is light gray blue or brown when raw. There are dark sections that have a very potent flavor due to the oils. Many anglers cut this area out before storing or cooking it. Bluefish is often smoked or grilled fresh.

I do! But then I also like sardines (canned and fresh), mackerel, herring, smoked whitefish, etc. Mr Bean is teased unmercifully by his fishing buddies when he asks to keep the blues.

I agree that it needs to be eaten fast. Careful cleaning is important as you want to remove the dark meat. Some people soak the fish in milk which is supposed to remove some of the oiliness. I don’t bother. I will often smoke it and then eat with a bagel and cream cheese or make my version of bluefish pate - fish, sour cream, mayo, capers, horseradish, lemon. But my favorite way is broiled/grilled with lemon.


I’ve eaten a boatload of it, most when we lived in the area, as it doesnt freeze or travel well.

Cut the bloodlines out and grill or panfry. We were on the boat, so it was usually just dusted with s&p and flour.


Different folks I knew used to soak their bluefish in milk before cooking. Another soaked theirs in gin. Note: I have never tried this. If I found myself with bluefish, I would likely experiment with a tiny piece.

Like you, I’m only a fan of smoked bluefish in paté form.

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I spread some herbed mayonnaise on a filet and broil it. I also like it in Efo Riro, a fish stew. Here’s one version - you can use pretty much any sturdy green, and any strongly-flavored (or smoked) fish. I played pretty fast and loose with the ingredients (shrimp paste for dried shrimp, etc.) and it still came out really well.

The NYT also has a good recipe, part of an article on Nigerian Cooking, if you have a subscription:

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When I used to catch bluefish, I tried all different recipes but did not care for the taste or texture. Now I will only keep the ones in 2-3 lb range and release the rest. The larger fish just have too much dark meat. I do use the cooked bluefish fillets and chop them up in chunks, mix in bread crumbs, egg, and seasonings to form crabcake-like patties and then fry in oil. Makes it taste un-bluefish :slight_smile:

I haven’t been to Legal Sea Foods for years but their smoked bluefish pate was always a winner:



The Latin species of Pomatomidae, is called Tallaharns or Trencaharns in Catalan.
In French it is called Tassergal. There is no name for it in Spanish or Basque or Galician.

The blue fish is a hunter, and its greatest appreciation is in the Usa.

There is little appreciation for this breed here. I have never seen it at the La Boqueria or in Madrid Capital or El Corte Inglés, our only department store with a 10.000 sq. foot hyper - super market …

The flesh is quite rich, has an oily finish and is best baked in the oven or grilled.

It is not my cup of tea and I am very Pescatarian. I had shared it at the Hotel where we stayed many many years ago in Cuba. And it was not very appetising to us. It was grilled lovely, but the taste, was just not for us.

It is a rarity to find it here as it swims predominately in the Caribbean waters and southern Usa.

The best of this sector of fish, is the AMBERJACK, ALSO CALLED RUDDERFISH in The Usa, and found in The Western Atlantic - as far north as the Chesapeake Bay area. It is very common in Mallorca and Sicilia.

HOW DO I KNOW ALL THIS ? My dad and my two grandfathers were in the hotel hospitality wholesale sector, which is now run, by our two sons and my Mom still is involved with some of the activities.

My dad goes fishing a couple times a month and sometimes we go out on his boat with him and my grandfathers and father in law. They live on the Cadaquès Cape on the Northern Costa Brava.

Have a lovely weekend.


I have The Bluefish Cookbook, by Greta Jacobs and (THE) Jane Alexander. It’s an out of print paperback, used copies eadily available cheaply online. Most of the recipes work fine with other firm, strong fish like monk and sword.

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As a native Rhode Islander, I grew up eating bluefish periodically. It’s an oily, flavorful bugger so high in mercury but I love it every now-and-then. Here’s a favorite recipe from a local chef, Steve Johnson, who is a master of bluefish.
Bluefish, Steve Johnson-style

Gah - It wasn’t behind a paywall when I posted it and now it is unless you’re NYT Cooking subscriber. Here’s another one from the Globe.

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I only like it smoked. We have a big green egg and husband smokes it - seasoned with cracked mixed pepper including coriander and drizzled with lime juice and soy. Then he vacuum seals it. It keeps well that way in the freezer. We make smoked bluefish pate, smoked bluefish cakes and smoked bluefish chowder.

He bleeds the bluefish in saltwater from the boat when he catches it. I just don’t like it. I don’t like mackerel, either.

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A friend who converted me to bluefish would squirt a lot of lemon over it upon acquisition. I’ve also made a fabulous chowder from Jasper White’s Chowder cookbook.


Uhhh Yumm!

I’m late to this party but just came across the thread and got nostalgic. Yes, nostalgic over bluefish. I grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and ate A LOT of bluefish, especially during the winter months when tourist season was over, businesses were closed and peeps supplemented their income by fishing. I :heart: that bold, oily fish. My mom coated it with mayo & capers and stuck it under the broiler.


I’m going to have to try your mother’s recipe the next time Mr Bean catches a blue. It sounds like something we would like. Thank you.