On a fancy pants menu this dish could read: "Wild, line-caught Wellfleet bluefish with lemon zest aioli" which it is, but it is also "the fish my dad caught on vacation and my mom's sauce". It is always funny to read a menu, get all excited about something new, and then be handed a plate and realize it's your grammie's meatloaf. Not to say grammie's meatloaf isn't good, but rather you can just make it fancy talk when it is actually meatloaf.
Bluefish is a rather strong, oily fish and if you catch them yourself it is advised to bleed them out. Draining the body of blood helps to lessen the "dark meat" and keep the fresh lighter. You're thinking yum-yum right now aren't you! All this talk of draining...
To help lighten the oily/heavy side of this really tasty fish we pair it with a light, citrus sauce. It just happens to be a sauce that goes on thick instead of thin. We are talking about a lemon zest-red onion aioli. First you need enough mayonnaise to cover your fillet. I like it thick, but you can choose your amount freely. Then you need finely minced lemon zest, garlic, red onion. You want a fine mince because the cooking time will only be a few minutes and you want it all to cook up a bit. How much of each? About this much:
In a completely non-scientific way I am going to recommend a tablespoon of red onion per guest. Use the photo for comparative portioning? Sorry, I really need to get better at measurements.
Mix these three ingredients with the mayo and lather your fillet up. Make sure you put the skin side down and lather up the flesh side... It is important that you pull your fillet out of the fridge (or icebox for our foreign readers) and let it come to room temp. As I mentioned previously the cooking time is short and having your fish all at room temp will help ensure even cooking.
Put your lathered up fillet on a tin foiled covered baking sheet (ease of cleaning tip right there) and chuck it under the broiler, bub! You need to watch this as the aioli (read that the mayo mixture of garlic, zest, and red onion) will start to brown up real quick and will get away from you faster then you can potty break. Once I see adequate browning I turn the broiler down to 400F and close the door. After 7 minutes or so (I totally just made that number up) I pull my fish out and check for doneness. How do I do that? Welp, when fish is cooked past medium the flesh will start to separate easily in what they call "flaking". Due to bluefish being rather oily you can overcook it a bit and it will still be moist and succulent. I look for this much browning on my "wild, line-caught, Welfleet bluefish fillet".
This is a quick post, but it is to help illustrate the fact that this is a quick dish! Don't have bluefish? This technique would be great on salmon, tuna, swordfish, grouper, monkfish, etc. Bon apetit, enjoy, and keep it snappy!