September 10 2023

If You Absolutely Despise Bluefish, This Recipe is For You.

by Lauren Collins

This recipe was originally published in June of 2019. Late summer is a good time to find bluefish on Cape Cod, so we figured now would be the perfect time to re-publish this post.

Raise your hand if you're one of the billion people who think bluefish taste oily, fishy and just plain gross!

I too, thought the taste of bluefish was pretty awful, but I learned that with the right preparation, it can actually be a pretty great recipe.

When Ryan and I first started dating, I learned two very important things...

One, you can never spend too much time fishing, and two, bluefish are the enemy.  They smell bad, they have huge giant teeth, and they steal the bait for what you actually want...stripers (also dogfish, but we'll get to that some other time).

With this information, I had pretty much already made my decision that bluefish suck, but then I started trying a few different recipes and ways to cook it, and you know what?  It's not so bad after all!

So here is the one recipe that will change all bluefish-haters. Carefully follow these steps one-by-one and I guarantee you'll be happy with the results.

Step #1 - Preparing The Bluefish

I recommend keeping smaller bluefish and releasing the bigger ones, only because in my experience the smaller ones are less fishy and less gamey.  

Bleed the bluefish out as quickly as you can, gut the bluefish, and bury it in ice.

Step #2 - Spices & Seasonings

The first thing you want to do is pat the fish dry and season it with salt and pepper.  This will give it a really nice sear.

Next, grab a bowl and mix together:

  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • two garlic cloves, minced
  • a handful of mixed herbs such as tarragon, parsley or chives, finely chopped
  • one teaspoon seafood rub, such as Old Bay
  • two tablespoons butter, softened

Mix that all together, then rub it over the bluefish filets, keeping a small amount of the seasoning marinade aside for later.

Step #3 - Cook the Bluefish

The next step is to heat your oven to 400 and get a cast iron skillet really really hot.  

When the oven is ready, put the filets on the cast iron skillet and use an oven mitt to transfer the pan into the oven.  

Let it cook and sizzle away for 4-5 minutes, then flip the fish and pour a little more of the seasoning marinade over the fish.  Let it keep cooking for another 4-5 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.

To serve, take the fish and cast iron skillet out of the oven, place the bluefish in the trashcan, and serve the cast iron skillet immediately.  

Just kidding!

Sorry, I just couldn't help myself from posting this!

If you are actually interested in trying legit bluefish recipes, then choose one of these instead (please don't eat the skillet).

Or, if you have a great bluefish recipe you'd like to share, then please let me know by leaving a comment below!

In reality, I know bluefish can  taste very good, and all kidding aside, when made correctly, the fishiness and oiliness can go away.

Make sure to check back soon for an actual, real, not a joke recipe. I hope you have a great week!

Happy Cooking 🍽

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.

  • Marinate in 1/2 cup of orange juice, 2 teaspoons of honey, 3 cloves of crushed garlic, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, 1-2 teaspoons of finely chopped ginger, 2 teaspoons of fresh parsley, and 1 tablespoon of Old Bay Seasoning. Marinate for 30 minutes – 3 hours. Don’t marinate it too long because the acid in the OJ will start to break down the meat.
    After it’s done marinating remove the fillets or steaks and pat them dry with paper towels. In a frying pan over medium heat add enough canola oil to cover the bottom and then add approximately 1-3 tablespoons of butter. Place the fish in the pan and saute for several minutes on each side until it’s flaky. You can also turn up the heat and crisp each side for a more crispy fillet.
    This recipe is for approximately 1 pound of bluefish. You can also change the ingredients to meet your personal taste.

  • Great article and recipe! One suggestion — when filleting blues try to remove all of the bloodline and dark meat. (In the above photo of the four fillets, two have a lot of dark meat left.) I’ve found that carefully removing every speck of dark meat greatly improves the flavor of the fillets.

  • If you haven’t tried, be sure you do! Great recipe:
    Ritz Cracker Crusted Bluefish
    At Mac’s Shack in Wellfleet.

    • I second this! It’s my favorite dish on the menu at Mac’s Shack: cracker crusted bluefish over creamed spinach and truffled mashed potatoes. And the bluefish pate from Mac’s Market is nothing short of spectacular!

      • Thanks for the comment Kit! I will have to give the bluefish pate at Mac’s Market a try. I bet it’s delicious!

        Also, if you are interested in checking it out, my wife and I made our own smoked bluefish pate which came out pretty well. You can view the recipe here.

  • O onthr fillet n the way bag in from fishing I fillet the fish leaving the skin on. Back at the campsite I was the fillewts until they are white. I then lay on fillet od a piece of foil. I put lemon slices on tthe fillet and put anoyther fillet on top. I grill the fish till it starts flaking. Never had a complaint but alot of “is there any more” Quick and easy.

  • Ha ha… Another funny bluefish recipe is to cut the bluefish into three parts, place them in a lobster trap and come back in a couple days to check the trap.

    We actually love smoked bluefish. We eat it right out of the smoker and also make a pate with it with neufchâtel.

    But we sometimes bake it covered in a thin mix of mayo and horse radish.

    We also have a recipe where we bake it over very thinly sliced potatoes with a lot of garlic. The potatoes get crispy and absorb the flavors. Really delicious.

  • Have caught and eaten way too much Bluefish in my life…. I have had them try a bite me when they were first pulled into the boat! We typically smoke the Bluefish and then I make a Pate… but we have also used Mayonnaise to cut the oiliness

  • That works great with cast iron skillet on side burner of gas grill. Try this one. Alot of work but you can mass produce and freeze for another day.. chunk the fish, place in cold water, bring to a boil. Remove and cool in frig. Squeeze lemon over it and add chopped scallions, finely chopped celery, old bay seasoning, can of crabmeat, seasoning bread crumbs as a binder, blue cheese dressing.
    Mix together to tuna fish consistency. Old bay to your taste. Make medium sized meatballs and place on wax paper. Place more wax paper over and flatten out like a pancake. Place a cut piece of jalapeno pepper and cube of cheddar in middle.
    Roll back to a meatball , at this point you can freeze.
    Flour, egg , and seasoned bread crumbs, deep fry, serve with cocktail sauce
    Bluefish poppers.

  • Sounds yummy. Can’t wait to try it. I will share with you my favorite bluefish recipe. It’s called a Montauk burger. After bleeding a fresh caught bluefish and putting in a ice slush, it’s important to remove all of the dark red bloodline meat from the fillets. After that’s done mince the fillets into half inch by half inch cubes or smaller. Put 1 pound or so of cubed meat in a bowl and add two eggs, 1 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs, two heaping tablespoons of old Bay seasoning, quarter cup of minced onion, salt and pepper to taste and any other seasonings you prefer. Mix well. Form by hand into hamburger patties, and finish by coating the flat surfaces with cracker crumbs such as Ritz or captains wafers smashed up. Place on wax paper on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer for up to an hour to let them a firm. See you’re in a hot skillet for a couple minutes per side, and don’t fiddle with them too much or they may try and break apart. serve with tartar sauce on fresh potato rolls with a thick slice of tomato. There is no better way to eat bluefish in my opinion.

  • Sounds like a fantastic idea! I learned from my grandpa, from Falmouth, to smoke the bluefish. We had done it many times and it’s a great way of reducing the oily and fishy taste of the fish! We normally only smoked it for 2 or 3 hours but it all depends on how you like it!

    • If only I could find our smoker…it’s somewhere in our house…lol! I would love to be able to smoke bluefish! There’s a place in West Falmouth called Dana’s Kitchen that serves really good smoked bluefish!

  • Great article Lauren. I haven’t eaten Bluefish for a long time but I use to really like it. You are totally correct that they have to be immediately bled and iced, which I now do with all fish. With bluefish and all fish with a large bloodline I always cut it out which I think is a big help to eliminate the overly fishy taste. I’ve tried this with Albies but forget about it. They do make excellent bait though!

  • Nice Lauren — very funny! While it won’t turn bluefish into bluefin tuna, soaking the bluefish fillets in buttermilk for several hours pulls out a lot of the “stronger” trappings of bluefish. A couple of weeks ago we soaked, rinsed, dried the fillets…put on olive oil, Mexican spices, garlic, lime and grilled on an iron skillet on the BBQ (saved skillet for dessert) and our three daughters devoured it in the form of fish tacos. Maybe just happy that we found something else the kids would eat, but we will certainly do it again.

  • OMG! You are hysterical! Nice job Lauren! Well written and useful info! I made “stuffies” this week. I used your recipe as a guideline. They came out great!

    • LOL! I just had to do it – and for all I know, the ingredients I listed with the cast iron skillet might actually be good! But I’m so glad the stuffies came out well for you!!!

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