Braised Bluefish with Baby Bok Choy in Saffron Jus

Braised Bluefish with Baby Bok Choy in Saffron Jus

We received a whole Bluefish last week in our Cape Ann Fresh Catch CSF.  Bluefish is another great example of why buying whole fish really works to your advantage when it comes to quality and flavor.  One of the reasons why this delicious fish has a bad reputation for being gamey and fishy is that it has not been filleted properly.  Removal of the dark meat closest to the skin is key when ensuring a clean, rich flavor.   AJ has been catching and eating bluefish for years and developed this recipe that blew me away.  The saffron jus is fantastic.  AJ made suggestions for other white fish this would accompany nicely and I am sure you will have some ideas of your own when you taste the delicate, rich and complex flavors.   Personally,  I think it would make a great broth for mussels… definitely something I am dying to sop some crusty bread in!

INGREDIENTS

(serves 4-6)

  • 1 tsp Saffron, ground with mortar and pestle
  • 1 Cup White Wine (Sav Blanc is good)
  • 2 Tbs Unsalted Butter, I like Presidents Choice
  • 2 tbs Canola Oil
  • 2 Shallots, minced
  • 3 Scallions, shred into 3 inch strips
  • 4 oz cup Creme Fraiche
  • Sea Salt & Freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbs chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
  • 2 Tbs Snipped Fresh Chives
  • 2 Tbs Toasted Fennel Seeds, crished
  • 2 Tablespoons Toasted Coriander Seeds, crushed
  • 1 lb baby bok choy
  • 2 Bluefish Filets, or 6x 6 oz fillets deboned, skinned then dark meat cut out from skinned side of filet (see demo below)

Removing the “gamey” unpopular flavor from Bluefish, begins with proper preparation and will leave you with a delicious, rich fish with great structure:

PREPARATION:

Saffron Jus (can be used for this dish, also fantastic with white fishes such as Striped Bass, Halibut, Chilean Sea Bass, Cod)

  • In a small bowl, combine the ground Saffron threads and White Wine, let the Saffron and Wine infuse for 15 minutes (can go longer if needed).
  • In a saucepan  over medium heat melt only 2 Tablespoons of butter. Add the minced shallots and sauté until soft, roughly 2 minutes. Add the saffron wine mixture to the shallots and butter and bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling reduce to a simmer until your sauce has reduced by 1/2 (10-20 min).
  • Once the volume of the sauce has reduced by ½, take off heat and stir in 4oz Crème fraiche with a whisk. Salt and Pepper to desired taste.

Scallion Garnish (optional):

  • Take shredded scallions and drop into 1 teaspoon of hot oil (canola), let them get crispy then place on a paper towel to strain. They will be used as a garnish when plating.
  • Bok Choy
  • Grill, roast or steam Baby Bok Choy to your liking.  We like them cooked for 8 min or so in a grill pan, until they are slightly undercooked for extra crunch

Bluefish Filets

  • After the filets have been skinned, deboned and the dark meat has been gently cut out, cut the filets into 6 oz pieces (4x4in). Salt and pepper the filets then rub the crushed fennel and coriander seeds into the flesh.
  • Heat 2 Tablespoons Canola oil in a large saucepan (using too much oil will cause the filets to stick). Once heated drop the filets into the pan “skin” side down, and move them around for the 1st minute to let them sear a bit and too keep them from immediately sticking.  *Although you have removed the skin, if you place the skin side down first, the protein will be less likely to curl and you will get a more even sear.

  • Let cook on one side for 4 min then very gently flip with a fish spatula (fish spatulas are great as they are super thin and flexible and allow you to get under the meat without breaking it apart). Let sear on the opposite side for another 3-4 min. Remove from heat.

*you may need to add more canola oil if you have a lot of fish to cook.

PLATING:

Place 2 Baby Bok Choy on a plate and place the Bluefish on top of them. Spoon over hot Saffron Jus. Add crispy scallions as a garnish on top of the fish and serve immediately

Had bluefish before?  How do you like it prepared?

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