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

Lauren Collins

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 recipe that will change all bluefish-haters. 


I thought it would be nice to lay the whole recipe out for you step by step this time around, instead of rambling on about key parts of the recipe, etc and then giving you the recipe at the end.

Preparing the Fish

I recommend keeping a smaller bluefish and releasing the bigger ones, only because in my experience the smaller ones are less fishy and gamey.  Bleed them out as quickly as you can, and wash the filets under water to clean them before storing them prior to cooking.

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 all over the bluefish filets, keeping a small amount of the seasoning marinade aside for later.

Cooking 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.  

Sorry, I just couldn't help myself posting this.

If you actually are interested in some different bluefish recipes, try one of these instead (please don't eat the skillet).

Or, if you have a great bluefish recipe you'd want to share, send it my way!  

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

Make sure to check back next Sunday for an actual, real, not a joke recipe.  Have a great week!

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

Leave a Comment

  1. 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.

    1. Absolutely Rex I couldn’t agree more, thanks for sharing that!

  2. 1) Go to Whole Foods
    2) Buy their smoked Bluefish Pate
    3) Put it on some Mary’s Crackers

    Also check out this article on My Fishing Cape Cod from a few years ago:

    1. Smoke bluefish pate is delicious!! I like that idea!

  3. Priceless, Lauren.

    They make great sauce if you plant a tomato over them.

    1. Thank you! And good to know!!

  4. My mother-in law would soak it in milk somewhere between 1/2 hr to 1hr depending on the size of the fish.

    1. Great idea – I’ve heard similar with buttermilk!

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

    1. Anything to do with going to Wellfleet and I’m in!!

    2. 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!

      1. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. Thank you for sharing Bob!!

  7. 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.

    1. Haha I like that one too! I too love smoked bluefish, or smoked anything for that matter – just have to find my smoker wherever it is around here…

    2. Hey Roger, Would you mind sharing your recipe for bluefish with the thinly sliced potatoes and garlic?

  8. 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

    1. Thank you for sharing Lynnea!

    2. Hi Lynnea,

      Do you have a bluefish pate recipe that you would like to share? If so, please comment back with it or you can email me at [email protected] 🙂

  9. 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.

    1. Thanks for sharing your recipe Don!!

    2. Hey Don, I’m wondering if I could share your recipe for the poppers in a member-contribution bluefish recipe e-book I am putting together? I can’t find your email or contact info, so please email me at [email protected] and lmk either way 🙂

  10. 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.

    1. Sounds great Andrew, thanks for sharing!!

    2. Hey Andrew, I’m wondering if I could share your recipe for the Montauk burgers in a member-contribution bluefish recipe e-book I am putting together? I can’t find your email or contact info, so please email me at [email protected] and lmk either way ?

  11. 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!

    1. 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!

  12. 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!

    1. Thank you Steve! I know it can taste good, it’s just all in the way you cook it for sure 😉

  13. 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.

    1. That sounds yummy!! I’ll definitely give it a try, thanks for sharing!

  14. 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!

    1. 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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