Caramelized Bluefish

Heres something to wrap your head around - bluefish that actually tastes delicious!

I'm not kidding, this is 100% a true story.

I've never been a big fan of bluefish - their sharp teeth and oily, fishy and worst of all blue meat, make them less than desirable.  For a long time Ryan and I have tried to figure out a way to like these fish, considering every once in a while one steals his bait and he ends up with one.  This time around, however, we have a winner.

Would you believe me if I told you the perfectly caramelized, extremely tender and tasty looking fish below was bluefish?


Oh the magic of a marinade.

After catching his latest bluefish, Ryan texted me to say that we would be having one for dinner.  I was less than thrilled.  He texted me to ask what a good side would be for the bluefish and my only thought and response was "ick, nothing".

I quickly changed my mind after trying one bite.

The best part about this dish?

It only needs two ingredients, the fish of course, and red wine vinegar.   That's it.

DSC_0770Marinate the fish with the vinegar for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then you broil it, bake it and eat it.  Simple as that, and surprisingly delicious.

Ryan did the shopping for our ingredients and came home with blush wine vinaigrette, which is basically the same thing.  Either way, the vinegar is what is truly important here to draw out the oily-ness of the fish.

I served this dish with some simple rice pilaf and another recipe of my own, sauteed mushrooms, chickpeas and kale with pesto.  It's a simple side to put together and everything can be made at the same time effortlessly.  You can find the recipe for the chickpeas and kale on my website by clicking on the link below.

DSC_0767The fish didn't need any lemon, butter or other seasonings that you would think to serve with fish.  It truly needed nothing but a fork to eat it.

DSC_0778Be brave, try something new, and sink your teeth into a bluefish - you'll be glad you did.


Caramelized Bluefish
Serve this with rice pilaf, a simple salad or my sautéed mushrooms, chickpeas and kale with pesto (link to the recipe in the post)
  • 1 lb bluefish filets
  • 1 bottle of red wine vinegar
  1. In a deep dish, arrange the bluefish in and pour the vinegar over the fish. Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to two hours.
  2. Set the broiler to high and arrange a baking sheet with tin foil. Arrange the fish filets on the baking pan and broil on the second to top rack for 10 minutes, letting it caramelize. Watch carefully - the fish can easily burn.
  3. After 10 minutes, set the oven to 350 and move the fish to the bottom rack, cooking for another 10 minutes.
  4. The fish should be caramelized at this point and ready to eat. Serve immediately or store fish in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one day.
Lauren Collins

I'm a health coach and plant-based recipe creator from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. In a few short words, I love to cook, eat, travel, play around with food photography and most of all, I love to help people live healthier and happier lives. A lot of the recipes you see here are adapted from my Mom, or from just throwing a few ingredients together until something magical happens.

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Red - August 25, 2015

Any idea how this would work cooked on a grill?

    Lauren Collins - August 27, 2015

    It’s not a flakey fish so it should stand up well to the grill. I hope you enjoy it!

Carl D - August 28, 2015

Hi Lauren,

I told my wife about the bluefish recipe and she was wondering what you thought about using Balsamic vinegar.

    Lauren Collins - August 30, 2015

    Yes I love the idea of using balsamic! It would give it a really nice sweet-caramelized flavor. I actually had suggested that to Ryan when I was making this – my only thought is that balsamic can be very salty, so I’d just be careful with what kind of balsamic you use. Thanks for reading!

Vi - November 1, 2017

Can you pan fry it instead of using the broiler?

Vi - November 1, 2017

Can you fry the fish in butter instead of broiling?

    Lauren Collins - November 1, 2017

    It would be a completely different recipe if you pan fried it in butter – broiling it with the vinegar will give it a caramelized finish and will cook away the oiliness of the fish. Pan frying in butter isn’t something I have tried, but I have baked the fish with potatoes, garlic, onion and olive oil with some herbs and it came out great!

Dave - April 21, 2020

Hi Lauren, thanks for this post. Do you think marinating in old white/red wine would work, or would that be pretty different?

    Lauren Collins - April 22, 2020

    I would use a fresh bottle of red wine vinegar if you can, and only marinate the filets for 30 minutes to an hour. If you can find a blush wine vinegar that would work too 🙂

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