How to Buy and Cook Bluefish

Bluefish, an oily species that can have a strong flavor, is an acquired taste. Chowhounds who love bluefish say converting skeptics is all about knowing how to buy it. That means seeking out very fresh bluefish with moist-looking flesh and asking to smell it. qianning suggests asking your fishmonger when it was delivered. qianning has had good luck "as long as I buy it [and] cook it the same day it got to the store." Larger bluefish tend to taste the fishiest, so seek out pieces from smaller fish.

There's a seam of dark flesh down the middle of each fillet that tastes funky, so be sure to remove it before cooking; the thin, dark layer of meat just under the skin can be removed with the skin either before or after cooking. As long as you're careful to remove these dark strips, mcf says, you'll find fresh bluefish "really sweet and mild."

Many hounds like to roast bluefish. One simple method is to spread raw fillets with a mixture of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard before cooking. beanodc uses a combo of plain yogurt, fresh ginger, and soy sauce. dct tops fillets with rough-chopped bacon and tomatoes and lots of parsley. Fish and bacon cook in the same amount of time, dct says, "and it all blends together." This recipe with crispy potatoes has several fans. It's more than the sum of its parts, 4Snisl says. JoanN makes a variation with peeled, seeded, and coarse-chopped tomatoes and olives, calling it a "[w]hole meal in a dish."

Another popular approach is wrapping up fillets in foil packets with various other ingredients—sliced onions and tomatoes, or sliced lemons with white wine and herbs—and grilling or baking. And EricMM offers a tip for grilling whole bluefish or skin-on fillets that still have scales: The scales keep the skin from sticking to the grill, and the flesh easily lifts away from the skin after cooking, leaving most of the strong-flavored dark meat behind.

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