Ask any chef about bluefish and her eyes glaze over with the dreaminess no other fish can evoke. When kissed by a blast of heat, this ferocious ocean beast transforms into an elegant prince. The off-putting brown flesh turns silver and supple. Bluefish has casual elegance. It has a voice. The voice of the waves that can't be subdued with a marinade or hidden with a sauce.
I am not sure if I should be telling you all this. Buying bluefish at $5-8 per pound always makes my heart sing (especially, when compared to $20 for halibut or striped bass). So this is strictly between us, ok? We don't want to turn my dear bluefish into the next high-profile fish.
Bluefish with Gin and Lime Butter
Fish substitutions: If you don't live on a the Atlantic coast, you probably don't see bluefish in your local fish market. Luckily, this recipe works well with any fish that is not too dense (in other words, don't use swordfish, tuna, marlin, etc). Mackerel will yield the results closest to bluefish.
1 1/2 Lb bluefish fillet with skin
1/4 cup very finely diced red onion (or shallot)
2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp gin (or more lime juice if you don't have gin on hand)
2 1/2 Tbsp butter
Salt and Pepper
Chopped mint, basil, or cilantro for garnish
- Line the broiler pan with foil and preheat the broiler.
- Dry both sides of bluefish extremely well on paper towels and place on the prepared broiler pan skin-side down.
- Sprinkle the flesh side very generously with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, combine the onions with lime juice and gin and spread evenly over bluefish.
- Cut the butter into 8 pieces and place on top of bluefish at equal intervals.
- Broil bluefish 4 inches away from the flame until browned, 3-5 minutes, being careful not to burn the onions (check every couple of minutes). If the bluefish is not cooked through by the time the onions brown, move it to the 425F oven to finish. The total cooking time (broiling plus baking) should be about 8 minutes per inch of thickness. To test for doneness, separate the flakes in the thickest part and look inside. Bluefish is done when just a trace of translucency remains in the center.
- Garnish with chopped herbs and serve spooning the juices over the fish. For the full New-England-in-the-summer effect, serve on the porch with a view of a light house, the rumble of the waves, and a beat up Volvo in the drive way.