What to do with bluefish is one of the warm seasons’ eternal questions, at least in Bonac, where they are caught in great number once the water is the right temperature. I was fishing on a bay beach with my friend Mike Solomon last week at about dusk and landed a nice blue, about five pounds or so. It was my first fish of the season, and I took it home to show the kids before cutting out the fillets.
I like bluefish and always have, though I acknowledge that some people find it too fishy. In our kitchen, I have frequently played around with recipes to find something that others, less-fish-fond than I, would eat. My latest attempt was bluefish tacos, and I think they were a success. The recipe follows in somewhat abridged form.
I cut the fillets into chunks about an inch wide and two inches long, dusted them with flour and salt, dipped them in a bit of beaten egg, then rolled them in extra-fine cornmeal. These, I fried in a small batches in a mix of olive and canola oil, turning them until they were browned on all sides.
For the tacos, I heated ordinary corn tortillas in an unoiled black cast-iron pan. Then I piled on the fried fish dotted with Hellmann’s mayonnaise to which I had added chipotle pepper sauce that was just a hair too spicy by itself. Above this went a heap of finely shredded cabbage, a few pieces of avocado, lime juice, and grind or two of black pepper.
(A confession about the chipotle sauce: It was left over from some La Fondita takeout we had the night before. You can usually buy a bottle at the Montauk Highway restaurant, and I plan to.)
The tacos were, in a word, good. We had a houseguest that night, and he and I put the whole batch away in short order. My older daughter, who is not that much of a fish eater, helped herself to those fried chunks that had not been slathered with the hot sauce.
A word of caution: Bluefish remains on the State Department of Health’s advisory list for potential chemical contamination. Women of childbearing age and children under 15 should not eat more than one serving of a blue that is 20 inches or more long in a month. Men and women over 50 should not eat it more than four times a month. And some people choose not to eat it at all.