Barbecued Bluefish with Smoked Shrimp Butter

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(from Bistro Cooking at Home, Copyright 2003 by Gordon Hamersley. Reprinted with permission from Broadway Books.)

Chef Hamersley writes, “Bluefish, like mackerel, falls into the oily fish category, and has the bum rap of being a ‘fishy’ fish. The trick is to get it very fresh. It’s plentiful off the northeast coast in the spring and summer, which is the perfect time to enjoy this. Try it with some coleslaw and a cold beer. Look for smoked shrimp near other smoked fish and shellfish in the supermarket or order it by mail.”

Grilling gives his entree a warm-weather focus, but to vary it, Hamersley suggests baking it in fall and broiling it in winter.

Our thanks to Gordon Hamersley of Hamersley’s Bistro, Boston, and Chefs Collaborative for permission to publish this recipe.


  • For the smoked shrimp butter:
  • 6 tablespoons Organic Valley Unsalted Butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3 ounces smoked shrimp, cut into a medium dice
  • 1 shallot, very finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the spice rub:
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 12 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • 14 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 bluefish filets, skin on but scales removed (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • olive oil


To make the shrimp butter: In a small bowl, mash together the butter, shrimp, shallot, garlic, parsley, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the spice rub: In another small bowl, mix together the cayenne, paprika, herbes de Provence, salt, and sugar.

To cook the fish: Coat each of the bluefish fillets with a little olive oil and then rub the fillets gently with the spice mix. Let the fish sit at room temperature for 10 minutes to absorb the flavors of the spice mix.

Heat the grill of your choice to high. Put the fillets, skin side down, on the grill and cook until the skin is very crisp and the sides of the bluefish turn white, 6 to 8 minutes. Turn the fish over and cook until the fish is done, about another 4 minutes.

Place the fish, skin side up, on plates or a large platter and immediately spoon some of the butter on top of each fillet.

Wine suggestions: An unusual but delicious pairing would be a rich fruity California Pinot Noir. A rosé from Provence would go down nicely with the smokiness of this grilled fish.

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