Carolina Cooking: Bluefish Recipes

Bluefish begin to really show up on the piers and shores of the Carolinas in early May. They are an aggressive and feisty fish who love to hit bloody cut bait or flashy artificial lures.

Bluefish of all sizes can be caught by fishermen on Gotcha-style pencil plugs with red headed models being the most popular, as well as cut bait fished on the bottom or live baitfish.

Bluefish have a somewhat poor reputation in the south as table fare because folks try to cornbread them and fry them up in oil. Cooked properly, however, they are a very good tasting fish with a nice distinctive flavor.

Carolina Grilled Bluefish

2 pounds bluefish fillets
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
lemon pepper to taste
sea salt to taste
3 tablespoons butter
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat grill for high heat. In a small bowl stir together garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, lemon pepper, and sea salt. Sprinkle seasonings on bluefish fillets. In a small saucepan over med heat melt the butter with the garlic and parsley. Set aside. Lightly oil grill. Grill bluefish for 6 minutes, then turn and drizzle with butter. Continue cooking for 6 to 7 minutes, or until bluefish is done. Drizzle bluefish fillets with olive oil before serving. Serves 6.

Bluefish with Peppers and Corn

2 pounds bluefish fillets
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch squares
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch squares
2 cans yellow corn
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt

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Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a large roasting pan combine the red and yellow peppers, corn, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1/4 tsp each salt, pepper, and thyme. Roast in the oven until the corn and peppers start to brown, about 10 minutes, stirring once. Rub the remaining oil over both sides of the bluefish fillets. Sprinkle the bluefish with the remaining 1/4 tsp each salt, pepper, and thyme.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven and push the corn-and-pepper mixture to the sides. Put the fillets in the center of the pan and cook until just done, about 12 minutes for 1-inch-thick fillets. Serves 6.

Poached Bluefish

1 pound bluefish fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can chopped tomatoes
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Place all ingredients except bluefish fillets in saucepan. Simmer 12 minutes, stirring. Place bluefish fillets in baking dish. Pour sauce over fish. Poach at 350 degrees until flaky. Serves 2-3. Great with garlic bread.

Elegant Carolina Bluefish

8 large bluefish fillets
2 medium onions, chopped fine
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 fresh tomato, chopped
3 1/2 cups canned tomatoes
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bunch parsley, chopped
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 cup dry white wine
lemon wedges

Dust the bluefish fillets with flour. In a large skillet place the 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat on med high until hot. Quickly sear the fillets on both sides. Place the bluefish in a large baking pan and sprinkle on the lemon juice. Set the bluefish aside.

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In a med skillet place the 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil and heat on med high until it hot. Add the onions, garlic, and parsley. Sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the pepper and stir it in. In a large saucepan place the onion mixture, canned tomatoes, chopped tomato, bay leaves, rosemary, and white wine. Stir the ingredients together and simmer them on low heat for 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour the sauce over the bluefish and bake it for 15 to 18 minutes, or until it is done. Garnish the bluefish with lemon wedges. Serves 8.

For many more fish and seafood recipes see my blog A Dash of Salty and my website Surf and Salt