When Life Gives You Bluefish

September  5, 2011
Author Notes

We had lived in this condo complex for only 2 months, so when one of our neighbors stopped me and said he was going fishing for blues and did I want some if he caught any, how could I say no? I knew my husband liked bluefish; I could only remember having eaten it once, and I wasn’t a huge fan.

But I can cook, right? (Well, most days….)

I posted the question of what to do on Foodpickle ( and got some great ideas, but none were really right for us. As greenstuff suggested, I googled bluefish-gin, and got a bunch of references, one of which was from one of the Silver Palate cookbooks. So I got out my Silver Palate cookbooks, and found a recipe for Piquante Bluefish, which sounded like a great idea. I also liked the idea of using gin in a marinade, so I did that, too. The sauce I made is more like my red pepper and onion confit than their salsa piquante, so it’s a very loose adaptation.

And you can tell that I’m not really a food blogger, because I forgot to take a picture! But it was a great end-of summer meal.

  • Serves 4
  • For the Marinade
  • About 1 lb filets of bluefish, skinned and bones removed
  • 1/2 cup gin
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A few grinds of fresh-ground black pepper
  • For the Sauce
  • 2 generous tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large vidalia or other sweet onion, cut into approximately 1 inch pieces
  • 3 red bell peppers, roasted, skins removes, and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 generous pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons gin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
In This Recipe
  1. For the Marinade
  2. Place the fish in a large ziplock bag, and add the rest of the ingredients. Mush the liquid all around the fish filets and let the fish marinate for up to an hour.
  1. For the Sauce
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, peppers, garlic, and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened
  3. Once the vegetables have started to brown, stir in just enough vinegar to deglaze the pan and scrape up the fond on the bottom of the pan. Stir in paprika, cayenne and gin, and reduce heat to very low, cover, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to meld together. Add chopped tomato, stir in, and continue to cook covered on low heat until the sauce is melded together. (You almost can’t cook this too long.) Just before serving, raise the heat slightly and cook, uncovered, till sauce reduces and thickens. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  4. Grill the fish over medium-hot direct heat for about 7 minutes till just cooked through. To serve, put a couple of tablespoons of sauce on the plate and lay a filet or two on top. Serve with a wedge of lime, fresh corn and sliced tomatoes, and be grateful for the bounty of the end of summer.
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