December 16 2020

I Never Liked Bluefish, Until I Tried This Simple Recipe


ryan collins my fishing cape cod breakfast

Note from Ryan: This recipe from Lauren was originally published in August of 2015. Today I updated this post with new information and links to other popular bluefish recipes - including the MFCC Bluefish "Cookbook" which you can download below. Enjoy!

Lauren Collins

Here’s something to wrap your head around – bluefish that tastes delicious!

I’ve never been a big fan of bluefish – their sharp teeth and oily, fishy and worst of all blue meat, make them less than desirable (at least for me).

For a long time Ryan and I have tried to figure out a simple and delicious way to cook bluefish without using mayonnaise. 

That's when one of our members here on My Fishing Cape Cod, Eric Meyer, shared with us his recipe for caramelized bluefish.


Oh the magic of a marinade!

After catching his latest bluefish, Ryan texted me to say that we would be having bluefish for dinner.

At first I was less than thrilled!

Ryan texted me to ask what a good side would be for the bluefish, and my response was “ick, nothing.”

However, I quickly changed my mind after trying one bite of caramelized bluefish.

The best part about this dish? It only needs two ingredients.

  • bluefish fillets
  • red wine vinegar

DISCLAIMER:  Try this recipe on a small piece of the bluefish fillet first.

About 70% of readers report back that this recipe is a winner, and tasted delicious.  The other 30% haven't had the best of luck.  This could be due to marinating the bluefish for too long, making the fish taste more like vinegar than anything else.  This recipe turns out differently for so many people, so please make this at your own risk!

In a deep dish, arrange the bluefish and pour the vinegar over the fillet. Let it marinate for no longer than 30 minutes.

Set your broiler to high and place the marinated bluefish on a baking sheet with tin foil. Arrange the fillets on the baking pan and broil on the second-to-top rack for 10 minutes, letting it caramelize.

Watch carefully, as the fish can easily burn.

After 10 minutes, set the oven to 350 degrees and move the fish to the bottom rack, allowing it to cook for another 10 minutes.

The fish should be caramelized at this point and ready to eat. Serve immediately or store fish in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one day.

Favorite Side Dishes

I served this dish with some simple rice pilaf and another recipe of my own - sauteed mushrooms, chickpeas and kale with pesto.  

It’s a simple side dish to put together and everything can be made at the same time effortlessly.

You can find the recipe for the chickpeas and kale on my cooking website Creatively Delish by clicking here.

MFCC Bluefish "Cookbook"

Back in June of 2019 I posted this somewhat silly recipe for bluefish, where you cook the fish on a cast iron pan in the oven, then throw the fish out, and eat the pan.  

I wonder how many of you got all the way to the end before realizing it was a joke!? 

All kidding aside, at the end of the post I asked readers to share their own favorite bluefish recipes, and the response was great!  

Through the forum, email and post comments, I am excited to report that I was able to put together a member contribution bluefish recipe e-book, with tried and beloved bluefish recipes, shared by members and fans of My Fishing Cape Cod. 

This free E-book has recipes for smoking, broiling, grilling and baking bluefish, with a huge variety of different flavor options.  

Recipes in this ebook include:

  • Nantucket Baked Bluefish
  • Bluefish Tacos
  • Smoked Bluefish Pate
  • Thanksgiving Bluefish
  • Montauk Bluefish Burgers
  • Bluefish Poppers

Do you like smoked fish but don't have a smoker? No problem! There's even a recipe in the ebook for how to smoke bluefish using only your grill and a few tuna cans.

To download your copy of the MFCC Member Contribution Bluefish E-Cookbook, click here!

I also owe a big thank you to everyone from My Fishing Cape Cod who helped contribute to this cookbook!

  • Laurie Rajewski
  • Don Wurster
  • Cal Wheaton
  • Leslie Kalinowski
  • Justin Demers

Thank you everyone!!! 

More Bluefish Recipes

In addition to the bluefish recipe cookbook above, we currently have 4 additional delicious bluefish recipes here on My Fishing Cape Cod.

We even have a video footage of Ryan's first attempt at smoking bluefish! Plus my Mediterranean Bluefish is one of my favorites for incorporating a nice red sauce into the dish.

Below you will find links to each of these bluefish recipe posts. Give them a click and please let me know what you think by leaving me a comment below. ?

Thank you as always for reading this post! I am so happy that so many of you are utilizing My Fishing Cape Cod as a resource for quality bluefish recipes. 

Please let me know how these recipes work out for you by leaving a comment below. I have heard the good, the bad and the ugly, so just be honest and keep me posted with how your bluefish recipes are turning out.

I am always happy to help with questions, so please just let me know.

Happy cooking! ?

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

About the author 

Lauren Collins

Through the eyes of a fishermans' wife, I'm excited to share my cooking and photography with you here on MFCC. You can learn more about cooking, and get more recipes by visiting my website Creatively Delish.

  • Tried this recipe with a pear based Gorgonzola vinaigrette and never realized Bluefish could be so good!!! Will definitely be keeping some Blues next time fishing! Thank you so much

  • While the bluefish is grilling (skin side down, don’t flip), sauté some blackberries in the smallest possible amount of olive oil. After a few minutes when the berries begin to turn color, add a large splash of good quality white balsamic vinegar to the skillet and let the vinegar boil down and start to caramelize. When the fish comes off the grill, empty the contents of the skillet over the fish. Voila! Chez Jo Black and Blue. Tastes best in Truro.

  • Its a great recipe!! I think the oil in the blush vinaigrette is important for the fish not to dry out (as seems to happen if you’re only using vinegar). I had a small fillet tonight and 10 min under the broiler (500 F) was enough for it to be perfectly cooked.

  • I had my first successful bluefishing outing yesterday (after many aborted tries that ended up fluke trips) and wanted to cook up something that the blue-haters in the family would go for. Since your recipe was so simple I “memorized” the recipe: I remembered the “blush wine” part but misremembered the call for “vinaigrette” as opposed to “vinegar.” Since I didn’t have “blush” anything, I went with balsamic vinegar. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly (oh, all right, maybe it marinated an extra 5 minutes or so because I was busy with something else).
    My blues were a little young, so the filets were probably thinner than your recipe calls for.
    It came out great (a little dry for me, the bluefish fan). Not really caramelized, but still somewhat crisp (because of the sugar in the balsamic). My wife said she’d eat it again and my son said it might be the best fish he had ever eaten.
    I’m going to try this again, but with thicker filets (when hopefully the blues are running larger) and, at least, a blush-like vinaigrette next time.

  • PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU USE RED WINE VINEGAR. I should have read the reviews prior to trying this. Blush wine vinaigrette is very different than red wine vinegar. If you use red wine vinegar and leave it on the fish for 30 minutes, then you’ll end up with a very tough, dried out fish that has a very strong taste of vinegar. And I’m a person that loves vinegar. I recommend people to NOT use red wine vinegar and instead buy a bottle of blush wine vinaigrette as described in the writeup as you’ll need the sugar in the vinaigrette to get carmelized and it’s diluted with water and oil and spices. I had to throw out the fish and now I need another bottle of red wine vinegar. I suppose if I had to do it again and I didn’t want to go out to get a bottle of vinegarette, then I’d make my own blush wine vinaigrette which then I think this recipe would have come out to be edible, if not great. Oh well, lesson learned.

  • Can’t wait to try your recipe Lauren. Headed out to the Cape next week and hoping the bluefish cooperate. Last time out I was given the best advice on how to prep the fish, which includes bleeding out and icing immediately and soaking the fillets in milk. That did the trick for me. I just needed a way to finish it. Thanks!!

  • Tried the recipe tonight (made a blush vinaigrette from scratch since I didn’t have a bottle on hand). Broiler at 550F didn’t caramelize the fish as in the beautiful photo but it had browned to a nice presentation after 15 minutes. I didn’t bother with baking at 350F for fear of drying the fish out. No matter, it was done to perfection and delicious! Maybe my vinaigrette didn’t contain as much sugar as the bottled variety and that made a difference. Bottom line, great method, great result!

  • What if I add some sugar in with the vinegar? I trimmed all the bloodline out of my 20 pound blue. Can’t wait to try this easy recipe

  • Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I had never had blue fish and my husband brought some home this week from a colleague and I had no idea what to do with it. I read some scary posts about how oily and fishy it could be. I went with this recipe and it was SOOO GOOD! I will say I had to leave it in the broiler for quite longer than 10 minutes for it to caramelize (was more like 15-20 mins) but it was cooked perfectly and tasted delicious!! 🙂

    • Hey Lindsay! I’m just seeing your comment now but I am so happy you loved the recipe! I’ll have to try it again in my new oven – every oven cooks differently, so I’m glad you kept it in longer to get that perfect caramelization! Thanks again!

  • I love trying new receipt, so I followed this easy one, and my blue fish came diferent delicious! Thanks for share!

  • I think you need to change this recipe. I used red wine vinegar, reading the instructions as written. Nothing carmelized. I then read the lengthy intro in which you say you used blush vinaigrette. Completely different. Blush vinaigrette contains sugar. Which carmelizes. Vinegar does not. As a result I over broiled and over cooked. Pretty much a waste.

    • No worries Scott and thanks for the feedback. That stinks to hear the dish did not come out well. :/

      I will hopefully start catching bluefish soon here on Cape Cod, as they are just now coming into season.

      When I do catch one, I’ll make sure to give this recipe another try, and make adjustments/edits where needed.

      • yo guys. went out in the sound this morning. grabbed a nice blue mixed in with all the black bass. gonna try your recipe tonight. bass are going directly into tacos! peace.

  • Just tried this and it was great! So glad that I found your recipe when my husband brought home a bluefish and we had no idea how to cook it! I ended up needing to broil it for about 5 extra minutes to get it caramelized but otherwise followed your recipe exactly. Next time I think I might top with a little mango-jalapeno salsa for some extra flavor but it was good on it’s own too.

  • Hey- I found this recipe after my boyfriend brought home a bluefish. We just tried it and it was delicious! The vinegar really helped ease the “fishiness”. Thanks for the recipe!

  • I used the vinegar marinade recipe on my expensive blue fish filet and it was a disaster. It was like drinking vinegar and the fish was wasted. Absolutely awful. That is what happens when you do not follow your instincts. Well, at least I tried and I hope I will not be thirstily all night from the vinegar. UGH!

    • I’m sorry to hear that Maria. It sounds like you left the vinegar on the fish too long, which makes this fish way too salty and vinegary. If you ever try it again, just marinate it for 30 minutes (or even 20 minutes) and that should be better. Thanks and happy cooking!

  • In my opinion, the often scorned bluefish is the most delicious citizen of the underwater kingdom with the possible exception of the mighty blue crab. I echo the praise of those who smoke this wonderful fish but generally find that I marinate it for an hour in soy sauce, lemon juice and olive oil. Then, after sprinkling it with salt, pepper, minced garlic and minced fresh ginger, I bake it in a 400 degree oven for ten minutes until it is barely set. Serve it with a pilaf and boiled greens or salad. Jacques Pepin also writes of his love of the vinegar and wine preparation.

  • Put some cajun dry rub on with fresh basil. Then make a dijonaise sauce and apply . Fire up charcoal grill put some cherry wood on smoke for an hour or two and enjoy

  • Ill have to give that a try next time. I smoke my bluefish and that’s the best way ive had it. I have a great smoked bluefish dip recipe from ben sargents book cooking the catch

  • Ill have to try that . bluefish is my favorite to smoke . I have an awesome smoked bluefish dip recipe that i got out of ben sargents book cooking the catch.

  • Papa telled me to eat bluefish that was sitting in sun for the day and didnt bleed it. I hated blue for years. Bleed them ASaP! Thank for idea to cook. I catch bonita now so blues will have to wates.

  • All of these options give me hope to try bluefish again. And with them expecting to run through soon the timing is perfect.

  • Where can I catch some blues, Ryan? Wednesday Aug 19. The red wine vinegar is next to be tried. I can’t say I’m a big fan of mayo either but at least it “goes away” when done on a gas grill.

    On a gas grill, bluefish is not so tough! In fact it is kind of delicate when done properly. It’s a good idea to reduce the heat to medium high (1/3 down from max on my little gas cartridge weber) and then about 7 minutes on a side. You don’t want to dry it out but you do want it cooked thoroughly.

      • I’m trying the red wine recipe on the gas grill tonight….Will let you know how it goes vs the broil/bake approach………….. Have to say I’m sticking with Mayo, salt and pepper on the grill.

  • Bluefish teriyaki:
    1/3 light soy sauce
    2/3 Sake
    2 tablespoons raw sugar.

    Place filet in shallow baking pan
    Pour sake and light soy all over filet
    sprinkle the raw sugar on top.

    Bake 20 to 35 minutes in the oven at 350.
    Put under the broiler for a minute or two to finish.

    serve with white rice and a salad.

  • Pork chop shake and bake also works well on the bluefish. Got this trick from my dad years ago. Take your bluefish and chop it into cubes palce into bag of pork chop shake and bake then deep fry the chunks, you can also place in the oven at 375 deg or so on a well greased baking pan for about 15 / 20 minutes. Enjoy!!

    • Sounds great. I’ll try it. I eat bluefish all the time, usually grilled. The primary trick for good bluefish is keeping it on ice from the moment it’s caught until it hits the grill. I also bleed mine in a 30 gallon livewell on the boat and then it goes to the ice.

  • cant believe you dont like blues.. every bad thing u heard is due to the fish not being fresh , kept cold and not basically treated right once caught.

    your recipe, simple soak in milk for 20 min.., smoked, soy sauce and of course lemon with butter and wine in foil are great.
    and yes keep it simple.. i see recipes with 12plus ingredients which is overkill..

    if its older than 2 to 3 days old dont eat it
    if it was on boat all day not bled or iced dont eat it
    if it was frozen, then make it into bluefish cakes
    if there is a blood line in it… cut it out or eat around it and will find its great many ways

    • Went fishing this morning off the Jersey coast (barnagett). Less than an hour, boat had 30 to 40 BIG blues. Appreciate all the tips.Cant wait to try these recipes !!

      • That’s awesome Ray! However what I would recommend is trying this recipe on a small piece of bluefish fillet first.

        About 70% of readers report back that this recipe is a winner, and tasted delicious. The other 30% haven’t had the best of luck. This recipe turns out differently for so many people, so please make this at your own risk!

  • Sounds good … is there a way to do this on the grill? I’m thinking that you could just grill until carmalized … I do this with salmon alot

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