Yesterday afternoon it was hot. And yet I was reminded that summer was nearly at an end when I got to the fish market to pick up something for dinner. One ice-packed bin was filled with fillets of bluefish. I always think of bluefish with end-of-summer because it’s the one time during the year when my Dad would go fishing and, depending on where he went, he would come back with mackerel or bluefish.
I know exactly three people in the world who like bluefish, including me.
C’mon everyone, give it a try. If the last time you tasted it was dozens of years ago, it’s worth another chance. Bluefish is meaty and flavorful. True, it isn’t without any taste, like lemon sole (sometimes I wonder if people who only eat lemon sole actually don’t like fish but eat it only because they think they are supposed to eat fish??).
But people who say they hate bluefish describe it as “fishy.” Which I find interesting because bluefish is …. fish.
I make bluefish the way I saw my grandmother made it many years ago. Sometimes I slather some Dijon mustard on the flesh, other times I just use a dab of olive oil and some lemon juice. Then I cover it with lots of tomatoes, celery and dill and bake it. For the last minute or so I put it under the broiler to crisp the surface (although recently I have been baking it in a convection oven and there’s no need for the broiler).
Bluefish also has the benefit of being relatively cheap ($7.95/pound). Salmon was $19.95/pound yesterday. Tuna was even more. Halibut was more. I got myself bluefish and made this recipe, which is delicious:
4 bluefish fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil or 1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
juice of one large lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced thin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the fillets on a large baking dish or jelly roll pan. Brush the olive oil on the flesh, then sprinkle the fish with lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place the tomatoes and celery on top of the fish, then sprinkle the dill on top. Finally, scatter the bread crumbs evenly over the fish. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. If the surface needs browning, place the pan under the broiler for a minute or two. Makes 4 servings