Last month, I landed my first Striped Bass – something I had been talking about doing all summer. It was time. Nantucket Augusts have brought plenty of Bluefish, but the Striped Bass has always evaded me.
I lit-up when my catch neared the boat and flashed it’s flank, revealing unmistakable stripes – a “classic fish” my mom once called it. Minutes later, I caught a second Striper, this time I perceived the characteristic “lunge” followed by a more subdued fight.
You might be wondering why I’m talking about Striped Bass when this recipe features the more common Bluefish. While posing for a quick photograph, my thumb pressed against its sandpaper mouth, I was reminded just how exciting it is to behold a fish, to see any creature that lives and breathes beneath the surface – where only my imagination can live. How cool it is to get a close look at a fish! A bent rod never ceases to excite – especially when it’s off the beach at Great Point.
While on island this fall, thread a rod through the back window of your car before heading to the beach, and start tossing an S.P. minnow when the light starts to change. Or, book a trip with islander and expert angler, Corey Gammill. Not only will you catch fish, the experience will heighten your curiosity and deepen your respect for these slippery ancestors. He taught me how to feel for the difference between a “lunger” and a “cruiser” by paying attention to the strike and the fight and how this relates to the color of the flesh.
Current fishing regulations tell us that the Bluefish population is healthy. For this reason, I’m encouraging you to keep a Bluefish, instead of the Striper, and prepare it the same night using this recipe. A light brushing of olive oil cuts through the fish oil, and the yogurt caper sauce is the perfect tangy compliment. This is a no-fail recipe and your forever answer to the comment “Bluefish is no good for eating.”
Want to have your mind blown? Pick up a copy of Neil Shubin’s Your Inner Fish, and learn that we have a lot more in common with fish than one would think!
For lunch the next day, make a Bluefish sandwich with any leftover filet. I like it on Something Natural herb bread with arugula, cucumber, and red onion. Add a layer of dill yogurt sauce, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a few dashes of hot sauce. If you’re packing it for the beach, use the lettuce as a barrier between the sauce and the bread so that your sandwich doesn’t get soggy. A thin layer of hummus will support sandwich construction. Absolutely killer!
Grilled Bluefish with Dill Yogurt Sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
—4 Bluefish fillets
—1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
—1 tsp salt
—1 tsp black pepperfoil (for grilling)
Dill Yogurt Sauce:
—1/4 cup sour cream
—1/4 cup mayonnaise
—1/4 cup plain yogurt
—1 tbsp capers, minced
—handful of fresh dill, roughly chopped
—1 lemon, cut into wedges
Heat the grill over a medium-high flame. You want the surface evenly hot when you go to put the fish on.
Next, prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Divide it amongst two small serving bowls. You want this ready to go when the fish comes off the grill. You can also make the sauce pre-fishing trip and store it in the fridge.
Cut the lemon into wedges and scatter them across a large platter or cutting board.
Rest the fillets, skin side down, on a large piece of foil. Lightly brush with olive oil and season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Lay the foil on top of the hot grill. Cook, with the lid closed, for 8-15 minutes – depending on the thickness of the filet – until the fish is opaque and flakes when poked with a paring knife.
Bring the fish straight to the table, keeping it on the foil, and rest it on the platter or cutting board. Sprinkle the fillets with lemon juice.
Enjoy with a dollop of dill yogurt sauce.