Don’t be afraid of Pomatomus Saltatrix. I used to be, but over the last few years I’ve become very fond of bluefish (once I had learned how to prepare it).
I think I first encountered it while living in Newport, fresh off the dock in the harbor (the fish, that is). I had heard its virtues sung locally, but didn’t realize that some of the songs were those of Rhode Island sport fishermen, and the others assumed one could hear the lyrics describing how to prepare it. I wasn’t a fisherman, and I’ve generally been deaf to song lyrics, so while I was pulled in by the sirens, I didn’t know what to do with rich fillets when I tried preparing them myself. I think it must have involved poaching, and it’s possible some wine was involved, but the results told me bluefish just wasn’t for me. That was an ancient time, before modern cookbooks, before the magic of the internet, and before the ministrations of the good Union Square Greenmarket fishmongers.
This time I pulled out a recipe which I had enjoyed several times in the past; it’s from Mark Bittman’s “Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking“.
- bluefish flllets from Blue Moon Fish, baked in a glazed ceramic pan at 450º along with one green and one red heirloom tomato from Central Valley Farm, some chopped scallions from Migliorelli Farm, more than a little olive oil, plus some chopped parsley from Lani’s Farm and Brooklyn basil from Gotham Greens at Whole Foods, then finished with more chopped parsley [which I forgot to add to the plate until after this photograph was taken, so use your imagination]
- intensely fresh radish greens from Paffenroth Gardens, wilted in oil which had been seasoned with split garlic cloves from Lani’s Farm, finished with salt and pepper and a bit of olive oil
- the wine was a Sicilian white, Tenuta Rapitalà Terre Siciliane Piano Maltese 2012