A smoked fish dip that will leave your guests begging for more.
I love fishing for blues, whether it’s springtime gorillas smashing big topwater spooks in shallow water or midsummer cocktails on small poppers under screaming birds. Aside from the fishing, I think they’re great grilled, roasted or pickled but my favorite is smoked bluefish pâté. That’s how we do it at my restaurant, Houseman, where it’s on the menu nearly year-round.
As soon as I get the hook is out of the fish I bleed it into a 5-gallon bucket of seawater and then get it right onto ice which keeps the filets firmer and fresher. At home I remove the skin, bones and bloodlines so all that’s left is the slightly translucent “blue” meat. For this recipe you can smoke the fish yourself or you can buy it from your local fish shop. The results will be great either way. If you’re smoking at home here’s how to do it.
1 pound of cleaned bluefish, as described above
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 quarts hickory or apple wood chips
Salt the filets and leave them in the fridge for 24 hours to tighten up. When I smoke meats at home I do it in a classic Weber but any lidded grill will work.
Get 1 quart of the wood chips burning and when they’ve partly gone to coal but are still aflame, about 5 to 7 minutes, put them in a metal container like a coffee can and extinguish the flames by depriving them of oxygen. Immediately set the smoking coals in the barbeque as far from the fish as possible and close the lid. Ideally the coals are somewhere beside the fish rather than underneath it. Set a timer for 15 minutes and then repeat the process with the other half of the wood chips.
Transfer the smoked fillets to an oiled and parchment-lined baking sheet and cook at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes or until just cooked through. Cool the fillets down and you can use them for the pâté right away or freeze them for later.
Bluefish pâté Ingredients
16 ounces smoked bluefish
1 cup whole fat sour cream (or labneh)
1/4 cup finely minced shallot
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
Salt to taste
1 sprig dill
Shred the smoked bluefish into a bowl and combine it with the sour cream or labneh, minced shallot, lemon juice, lemon zest, and olive oil. Mix thoroughly. Check the seasoning and if necessary, adjust by adding more salt, lemon juice and/or olive oil. Garnish with a couple small sprigs of dill and serve with crackers, toast, cut cucumbers or celery.