The Larder TM_TL_BLUFSH_FI_001

When I was very young, my great-aunt had a house in one of the little towns that dots the Jersey shore. Despite living in Southern California, many summers, we’d make the cross-country trek to spend some time with the extended family at Aunt Doris’ shore house.

There would be long days at the beach and in the late afternoon, everyone would regroup at the house for showers and dinner. While my grandmother wasn’t much of a cook, at least once during these gatherings, she’d cook up a bluefish feast, which was one of her few specialties.

She’d buy several meaty filets, arrange them on foil-covered baking sheets, and dust them with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. She cooked them under the broiler, sometimes having to work in batches in order to make enough. Because bluefish has a good amount of fat, the high heat and simple seasoning is truly all it needs.

Served with lemon wedges, slices of Jersey tomatoes, corn on the cob, and a simple green salad, it was perfect beach food.

Bluefish is one of the most popular species of fish for sport fishermen on the East Coast. In the 1980s and 90s, the bluefish populations dropped to dangerously low levels thanks to excessive commercial fishing, but as of 2007, the stocks are said to be restored. It has a strong, meaty flavor, is high in vitamin D, and during the summer months, it’s very affordable.

I make bluefish in much the same way that my grandma did (though I skip the garlic powder), with just a little simple seasoning and some time under the broiler. I whizz up a quick green blender sauce of garlic, parsley, salt, lemon juice and olive oil for drizzling over the fish. Served with an easy salad of orzo, corn, tomatoes, sweet onions and basil, it’s good summer eating.

Broiled Bluefish with Green Sauce

Ingredients

2 pounds bluefish filets
Salt
Pepper

Instructions

Preheat broiler. Rinse filets and pat them dry with paper towels. Place them on a foil lined baking sheet and lightly dust with salt and pepper.

Cook for 8-10 minutes under the broiler, until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Thicker pieces will need slightly more time.

Serve hot with a drizzle of green sauce.

Green Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup packed flat leaf parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
Juice of one lemon
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

Combine the parsley, garlic, salt, lemon juice, and two tablespoons water in a blender. Blend until a rough paste beings to form. While the blender is running, stream in the olive oil.

Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with fish.

Summer Orzo Salad

Ingredients

1 cup dry orzo
1 pint Sungold tomatoes
2 ears of cooked corn on the cob
½ sweet onion, chopped
½ cup basil leaves, packed
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook at a rolling boil for 5-7 minutes, until it is just cooked through. Drain and cool.

While the pasta cooks, cut the tomatoes in half. Slice the corn off the cobs and tear the basil into pieces. Combine the cooled orzo with the tomatoes, corn, onions, and torn basil in a large bowl. Dress with the olive oil and lemon juice and season with the salt and pepper. Taste and adjust, if necessary.

Serve at room temperature.

Bluefish Cakes

If you have any leftover bluefish, here’s a good way to use it up. This also works for other leftover or canned fish as well.

Ingredients

2 cups cold cooked fish, well flaked
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green onions, whites and light green parts only
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

Combine all the fish, celery, green onions, parsley, cheese, egg, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and mix with your hands until everything is well-combined.

Place a large skillet over medium-high and add the oil. While the oil heats, form the mixture into 5-6 patties. As you form each one, place it in the skillet.

Cook the bluefish cakes for 4-6 minutes on the first side and just 2-3 minutes on the second side. Because the fish is already cooked, the goal is simply to brown the exterior and just heat them through.

Serve hot.

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