Recipes for Baked, Simmered, Fried, Broiled, Poached, Smoked and Grilled Bluefish
Bluefish (Pomatomaus saltatrix)
Also known as: Snapper, chopper, tailor. Smaller bluefish are called blue snappers.
Waters: U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coastal waters from Florida to Cape Cod Atlantic coast of South America, Portugal, and Africa coast of Australia.
This silver-skinned school voracious predator usually weight from 3 to 10 lbs, but can reach 3 feet and weight 30 pounds. Bluefish will strike at almost anything in the water.
Bluefish have soft, moist flesh and a strong flavor if they have not been properly bled and cleaned, though the small snappers are almost always mild. Raw bluefish flesh ranges from light putty to bluish-gray, becoming lighter when cooked. The meat is rich and fatty with a fine, soft texture and long flake; it is rich in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, and they have edible skin. The flavor is mild on the day of the catch yet gains in strength a day or two later.
To improve the texture of bluefish, marinate the fish in a mixture of kosher salt, herbs, and water. Bring the salt, water, and herbs to a boil, simmer five minutes, then let cool. Pour brining mixture over the fish in a glass or stainless steel container, and refrigerate for one hour. Drain and pat dry before cooking. Also fillets can be marinated in vinegar, lemon or lime juices, or wine, or they can be cooked with fresh vegetables such as tomatoes and onions. These methods will lighten the flavor as well as retain the oils that confer the full health benefits associated with eating fish.
Bluefish is excellent baked or broiled, or wrapped in foil and grilled over an open fire. It's also well suited for roasting and pan-frying, and for stir-frying in flour-dredged chunks, and is especially tasty when smoked.
The secret to successful bluefish cookery is to not overcook. Bluefish will be cooked when its flesh becomes opaque but is still moist and can easily be pierced with a fork.
How to buy Bluefish:
Whole fish should look alive, smell fresh and clean without having a fishy odor, and be displayed over ice. Whole fish should have clean gills and flesh that feels firm to the touch. The scales should be tight and the eyes should be clear. Fresh fillets should glisten, should appear moist and have a lustrous sheen but no slime. The flesh should be dense, without tears or gaps.
Freezing and cold storage:
Keep the fish well iced until cooking (natural oils in the flesh turn rancid when the internal temperature of the fish rises). When well wrapped, bluefish can be kept for up to two months in the freezer of a refrigerator and for three to four months in a deep-freeze. To thaw slowly, unwrap, place in pan, cover, and leave for 24 hours in the refrigerator. To thaw faster, place the whole fish in a watertight bag in a sink with cool running water, allowing about 30 minutes per pound (450g).
How to clean Bluefish:
Scale the fish by placing it in the sink under cold running water. Grasp the fish firmly by the gills and scrape off scales with a fish scaler or small, dull knife. Using short strokes, work from the tail to the head.
To remove the head, first cut through the flesh on both sides with a sharp knife. Then, if the fish is small, slice directly through the spine. For a larger fish, place the knife between vertebrae and tap the back of the knife with a hammer.
How to fillet Bluefish:
Blues have small scales and soft flesh, making them easy to fillet. With the bluefish lying on its side, insert the sharp knife behind the gills, and cut in an arc down to just above the backbone. Continue cutting parallel to the backbone toward the tail. Bring the knife up at the tail and remove the fillet. To skin the fillet, place it on a board, skin side down. Run a thin, sharp knife along the fillet between the flesh and the skin. Remove the dark, oily strip of flesh that runs down the center of the fish, which can infuse the meat with a powerfully fishy flavor when it's cooked. Using fish pliers, pull out the pin bones.
Bluefish, 1 fillet (4 oz.) (113.2g) (cooked, dry heat) Calories: 186, Protein: 30g, Carbohydrate: 0.0g, Total Fat: 6.4g, Fiber:0.0g
Excellent source of: Selenium (54mcg), Niacin (8.4mg), and Vitamin B12 (7.3mcg). Provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value.
Good source of: Magnesium (49mg), and Potassium (558mg). Provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.
When cooked (dry heat), bluefish provides 0.988 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, derived from EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) (0.323g) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) (0.665g), per 100 grams of bluefish.
Substitutes for Bluefish:
Mahi-Mahi, Striped bass, Mackerel, Pollock.
Nicknamed "bulldog of the ocean", the bluefish is fiercely voracious and a popular quarry for sport fishermen. In the U.S., the season stretches from May to October along the northeast coast, and from December to April off the Florida coast. Prized as a sport fish because of its spirited fight, the bluefish is named for the bluish-green color of its back. The juvenile fish are called “snappers” and the adults “choppers,” because this fierce fish clicks its teeth as it attacks other fish.
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