I had bluefish for dinner...
And I'll do it again!
The striper fishing this spring has not been good. Most of the party boats have been only landing single digits when it comes to keepers on a trip, often times no keepers at all, and occasionally no stripers at all. I've made 3 trips and caught no stripers. However, on my third trip(this past sunday) I stopped and grabbed some steel leader as the bluefish have been hot lately.
The bluefish has a terrible reputation as a food source. Most consider it too strong flavored for eating. They've got teeth that will chew through a chain mail glove, and do a number on nets so most boats gaff them. I'm not a big fan of waste so I promised myself if I was going to catch bluefish I was going to eat them. I figured the last time I ate it I was probably 13 years old and probably wouldn't have enjoyed a tuna steak then either.
When I go on a party boat I always bring my own cooler and several frozen half gallon jugs of water. I have the mates add some salt water to the cooler and it keeps everything cold. My two bluefish in the 20-25 inch range got their gills cut and dropped into the icy water immediately after they hit the deck. Then I had the mates filet them when we arrived at the dock, while I dumped the water and rinsed the blood out of the cooler. put them right back on the ice for the ride home. Once home I went to work like a surgeon, trimming every piece of dark red meat off them I could, put them in a ziplock bag and into the fridge. Monday before leaving for work I added about a pint of milk to the bag, I was told this would help with the oily fish flavor.
After work I dropped the filets in a pot of boiling water, removed it from the heat and let them poach for about 5 minutes. Then I flaked the fish and added it to the fish cake recipe I posted for stripers last year.
I won't pretend like this is some gourmet recipe or miracle cure for strong flavor, but it made them more then edible and I won't shy away from keeping or targeting them more often. I will try some other ideas next time, I'm thinking some citrus and chili on the grill could work. We shall see!