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Bluefish, also called as tailor (in Australia), shad (east coast of South Africa), or elf (west coast of South Africa) is a popular marine game fish found in almost all climates, though it is also fished commercially. The fish belongs to genus Pomatomidae, and is a fairly proportioned fish, with a forked and broad tail. The bluefish is an oily fish with a strongly flavored flesh. Young bluefish in the range of 1 to 4 pounds are generally hauled by commercial fishermen. However, the fish may weigh upto 40 pounds in exceptional cases. The bluefish has two types of meat, the red meat under the skin and the white or blue gray meat below it. Of this, only the white and blue gray meat is consumed. Bluefish is often smoked and once caught should be consumed as soon as possible, as the flesh of the fish deteriorates rapidly. Bluefish is prepared through smoking, baking, grilling, or roasting method. Old and mature bluefish is mostly smoked.

Popular Recipes

A few popular bluefish recipes are discussed hereunder:

  • Baked bluefish- the baked bluefish recipe suggests placing seasoned bluefish fillets over stuffing mixture in a foil, and baking them in oven in sealed foil after brushing fillets with butter, sprinkling them with minced onions, and topping them with dill springs.
  • Grilled bluefish- the grilled bluefish recipe suggests marinating the fish fillets in citrus marinade prior to grilling, so as to enhance its flavor. Seasoned fish fillets are marinated in a mix of lime juice, orange juice, lemon juice, white wine, and olive oil and then grilled on hot grill until flaky. Dark blue colored portion of the tailor fish is removed prior to serving it.
  • Smoked bluefish- preparing bluefish through smoking process is a whole day’s task, and is carried out in three steps, viz. placing fish fillets in brine, drying them, and then smoking them in a greased rack in smoker. The brine is a mix of salt, water, sugar, soy sauce, bay leaves, lemon juice, and chopped dill.


Bluefish can be served over noodles or rice. It can also be served after being tossed in salad.

Nutrition and Health Facts

One fillet of 117 g of bluefish provides around 186 calories, obtained from 6.4 g of fat, 89 mg of cholesterol, 90 mg of sodium, and 30.1 g of protein. Of the total amount of fats, only 1.4 g consist of saturated fats, and the remaining consist of unsaturated fats, viz. poly-unsaturated fats of 1.6 g and mono-unsaturated fats of 2.7 g. Unsaturated fats are healthy fats, and are good for heart health. Therefore, with the help of consumption of bluefish, cardiac health would be promoted. However, bluefish tends to accumulate a lot of toxins in their body, and is thus not meant to be eaten by nursing or expecting mothers and young children below six years of age.

Buying Tips

Quality bluefish should smell like ocean, and should not possess fishy odor. The fish should be firm to touch and must contain clean gills. Further, the fish with dense flesh, without gaps, should be chosen for culinary purposes. The fish should have clear eyes and tight scales. The fish fillets should be moist with a radiant sheen; however, there should be no slime.

Further Reading

The Bluefish Cookbook, 6th by Wezi Swift, Greta Jacobs & Jane Alexander