Bluefish are extremely aggressive, ravenous predators that attack their prey in a feeding frenzy, and fishermen who catch them sometimes also get bitten. You just finished a fishing trip on the East Coast and loaded up with this species and might be wondering, can you eat bluefish?
Do People Eat Bluefish?
Oh yes! Especially grilled and drenched in lemon butter. Although it is advised to limit your consumption of bluefish due to higher levels of mercury, people consider this a delicious fish to eat and a lot of fun to catch.
What Do They Look Like?
Bluefish or Pomatomus saltatrix is the only surviving member of the Pomatomidae family. The fish has a board, forked tail, a pointy snout, a protruding jaw, and sharp teeth. It has a grayish-blue back that fades to a silvery-white underbelly.
They can live for 14 years and are approximately 30 inches long but can reach 45 inches and can weigh up to 30 pounds. Bluefish spawn in the open ocean and females can lay between 400,000 and two million eggs.
Is It Safe to Eat?
Saltwater fish are mostly safe to eat. Dioxins, mercury, and PCBs that build up in the fatty tissues of fish could cause a health risk, though, so keep your intake moderate.
What Does It Taste Like?
Bluefish has a rich, strong flavor, and the texture of the meat is a bit coarse but soft and moist. Many people dislike the oily, fishy taste, but that is because the fish was not fresh. Bluefish is at its best when it has just been caught. It does not keep or freeze well.
How Is It Prepared?
The key to preparing bluefish is to make sure that it’s fresh. Just scrape off the scales, remove the bones, and the dark meat. To tone down the fishy smell, soak it in milk before cooking. We find it too oily to be fried and is at its best grilled, baked, broiled, or smoked.
Bluefish fundis swear by marinating or cooking the fish in tomato or lightly brushing the fillets with mustard or mayonnaise to enhance the taste. When cooked, butter and a dash of lime or lemon round off the flavor perfectly.
What Tastes Good With Bluefish?
Many side dishes complement well-prepared bluefish. Lemon and garlic rice and a healthy tomato and cucumber salad is a favorite among lovers of bluefish. It also goes well with creamy mashed potatoes, potato wedges, and cheesy vegetable bakes.
Can You Eat It Raw?
Fresh bluefish tastes delicious raw. Just add olive oil, a dash of salt and pepper, and savor the taste. It is also excellent with thinly sliced cucumber, a touch of cottage cheese, and a drop of lemon or two.
Is It Healthy?
In moderate quantities, bluefish is a good source of vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, niacin, magnesium, and potassium.
If you like a coarser texture and a richer fish flavor, we recommend grilled or baked bluefish. Drench it in lemon butter and serve it with crispy potato wedges and fresh tomato and cucumber salad.
Where Do They Live?
These fish prefer the open ocean, far from land, and live near the surface. They are found along our Atlantic coast, Africa, Australia, Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea. Here in the US, they live off the coast of Florida in the winter and migrate to the waters of New England in June. Bluefish live in large schools, are voracious predators, and attack squid, menhaden, and other small forage fish near the surface in what is known as a Bluefish Blitz.
What Is a Bluefish Blitz?
When perfectly calm water suddenly starts churning, boiling, and swirling, a school of bluefish is attacking prey near the surface in a ravenous feeding frenzy. Bluefish is also prey to larger fish, and this behavior attracts other predators. Fishermen find these blitzes exhilarating as the fish attack their lures. Many fishermen tell stories of being severely bitten by their catch.