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Carolina seafood: Easy fall bluefish recipes

A carolina bluefish caught on Oak Island.
A carolina bluefish caught on Oak Island.
Ocean Crest Pier

With all of the tasty fish Carolina anglers start catching as the autumn winds blow, bluefish often get overlooked. Blues run in the fall just like many different species and are beloved by anglers for their aggressiveness and fighting ability, but southern fishermen often rate them low as table fare.

That is unfortunate. Bluefish have a poor reputation in the Carolinas as food fish because folks try to fry them up in oil. Although the smallest bluefish, snapper blues, can yield tasty little fillets there are far better ways of cooking bluefish that bring out their nice distinctive flavor. In fact, northern surf fishermen are often amazed that southern anglers tend to dislike cooking bluefish.

Bluefish are terrific grilled, broiled and baked as fillets. For the best tasting bluefish bleed the larger ones as soon as they are caught, and always keep bluefish on ice and clean them the same day they are caught.

Grilled Oak Island Bluefish

  • 1 lb bluefish fillets
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • paprika
  • salt
  • pepper

Arrange bluefish fillets on a sheet of foil. Drizzle with lemon and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and thyme. Grill over hot coals 8 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily. Serve with fresh lemon and lime wedges. Serves 4.

Easy Grilled Hatteras Bluefish

  • 1 lb thick bluefish fillets from large chopper bluefish (chopper bluefish are usually 5 to 10 pounds)
  • ½ bottle Italian salad dressing
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Garlic salt
  • Olive oil

Marinate bluefish fillets in salad dressing for at least 4 hours. Grease grill with olive oil. Grill fillets about 6 minutes each side, flipping once. Sprinkle pinches of cracked black pepper and garlic salt on fish as it grills. Serves 4.

Easy Sautéd Bluefish

  • 1 lb bluefish fillets
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 4 pats butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon Cayenne pepper

Heat butter and olive oil in a big stove top pan. Add onions and peppers and cook 5 minutes. Add bluefish. Sprinkle Cayenne pepper on fillets and cook gently on medium heat until done, about 12 minutes. Serves 4, great over wild rice.

Sunset Beach Bluefish Cakes

  • 1 lb bluefish fillets
  • ¾ cup saltine crackers
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons minced onions
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Mix ingredients together, reserving some cracker crumbs. Form 3-inch patties. Roll in remaining crumbs. Fry in oil until brown. Serves 6.

Baked Bluefish

  • 2 lb bluefish fillets
  • 1 onion, sliced into rings
  • ½ green or yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Place bluefish fillets, onions, tomatoes and peppers mixed together in a baking dish greased with olive oil. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over bluefish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until fish is done. Serves 6.

For many more Carolina seafood recipes see my blog A Dash of Salty


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