Here on the Vineyard, we’ve been experiencing textbook July weather, sunny and hot. Correspondingly, the water temperature have been steadily rising, sending the Striped Bass searching for cooler waters. The Bluefish however, remain, roaming the Island’s coast, devouring bait and lures with equal enthusiasm.
The only problem is what to do with all of them, and you can only smoke so many. A few years ago, we picked up “The Bluefish Cookbook” at Bunch of Grapes bookstore in Vineyard Haven, hoping to find a few new ways to prepare this abundant fish. Subtitled, “Delicious ways to deal with the blues”, it is full of interesting and novel ways to prepare Bluefish. Our favorite recipe so far is for Bluefish Tacos.
We first fillet and skin the fish, and then cut it into bite sized pieces. The chunks of fish are dredged in flour seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper.
The batter is made by lightly beating an egg, then adding 1 1/2 cup of milk and 3 ounces of Guinness Stout. Blend in a 1 1/4 cup of flour and the batter is ready.
Next, they get dunked in the batter. We like to use peanut oil in our fryer, heating it to around 375 degrees. Fry until golden brown, the fish should remain moist on the inside.
To make the cilantro aioli, combine two cloves of minced garlic, a 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 2/3 cup fresh cilantro in a food processor. Once mixed, add it to 3/4 cup mayonnaise with a tablespoon of lime juice, and stir it together. Serve the fish on top of shredded cabbage inside a corn taco shell or tortilla, topped with the aioli.
Many people who claim to dislike bluefish have changed their minds after trying these tacos. The batter is crispy with a slight malty flavor from the Guinness. The carbonization also lends a light, airy quality to the batter. The tangy, bright aioli is the perfect compliment to the bluefish, and would go well with just about any seafood dish. Combined with the earthy, crunchy taco shells and a squeeze of lime, these fish tacos will rival any you might try. Made with fresh fish, preferably caught the same day, they have none of the oily or “fishy” flavors often associated with Bluefish. We suggest testing them out on a few bluefish “hating” friends, without telling them exactly what kind of “fish taco” you are serving. After they are done telling you how good your tacos are, let them know that it was Bluefish, and enjoy the looks of shock and surprise.
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