186. This is a Bluefish, and yes, the Bluefish is on my kitchen counter. Several weeks ago, our doorbell rang and when I answered, it was our friends Danny and Ryan. They were arrayed in full length chest waders. Obviously, they had just been fishing. Danny pulled something large out of the back of his truck and Ryan ran up holding this huge Bluefish. I squealed with delight. You see, Danny talks about fishing and I have told him stories of how my father was a fisherman. So, I was promised a fish someday. Well that day came, and here in my hands I was holding a 31-inch Bluefish caught offshore Long Island.
They smiled as I held this prize and thanked them, but then they hopped back into their truck and drove off.
I was so excited...but then I thought...now what do I do??? So much for my father being a fisherman and going along fishing with him. Now I had to put my money where my mouth was.
I grabbed newspaper, rubber gloves...several sharp knives and garbage bags, donned an apron and headed out back to our patio table.
Many times I had seen my father fillet a fish, gut it and clean it. He showed me dozens of times but it had been so long ago. I first tried to remove the scales but the fish was too big!!! HELP, I NEED AN IRON CHEF, NOW!!!
So, I dove in, cut off the head. Cut along the back and filleted one side first, scales, skin and all. Then flipped it over and cut off the skin and scales in one swipe. Repeated with the second side and then checked for bones. Not bad for someone who has never filleted a bluefish before. I felt like an Iron Chef!
The bones were massive but the flesh was beautiful. Because the fish was fresh it barely had a scent.
Danny told me the best way to prepare the bluefish is to soak it in lemon or lime juice for about 15 minutes. This helps to remove the fishy taste. Rinse thoroughly and then soak the fish in milk for 15 minutes. I found that it changed the texture of the flesh significantly. In a sense, the acid "cooked" the fish.
But I used a milk and egg batter and then mixed cornmeal, flour, garlic salt, cracked pepper and kosher salt as the coating.
It was so delicious. Bluefish is white with strains of dark red patches but tastes so delicious. It is similar in texture to a salmon or flounder and is very meaty.
What a great feeling of accomplishment! And, I served baby red potatoes with butter and fresh dill and brussels sprouts. Cocktail sauce and tarter sauce is a delicious compliment but the fish stood up very well on its own. Thanks Danny and Ryan!
"Don't tell fish stories where the people know you;
but particularly, don't tell them where they know the fish."
"Fish die belly upward, and rise to the surface.
Its their way of falling."