Summer vacation may be all but over, but there are still plenty of good grilling days left. While we were away, Husband arranged a chartered fishing trip in Cape Cod Bay. We left on the Janine B out of Sesuit Harbor in Dennis and headed over to Wellfleet waters where the bluefish had been biting the day before. It was a beautiful, sunny day, cool and dry like much of the past few weeks, and it was gorgeous out on the water with the terns trilling pleasantly overhead. The first mate said they had seen dolphins earlier that week.
We got lucky early on, and caught two bluefish right away, one by Husband and an even bigger one by the 11YO in what he described as "an epic fight." Then it was quiet for the rest of the trip. All the other boats in the area reported the same thing. The fish stopped biting. We were lucky to get the two—some boats got nothing. Husband had hoped to catch more, but he made up for it later in the week when he nabbed several snappers off his parents' dock on an estuary abutting Nauset Marsh. Snappers are smaller, younger bluefish. Husband caught and released them while the kids caught crabs off the dock by lowering a clothespin tied to the end of a string, crabs snapping greedily at the cold cuts clamped in its dentureless wooden jaws.
For the big bluefish, I grilled it in traditional Cape Cod fashion, slathered in mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, and dill. The grill at our rental property is on its last legs, swaying in the slightest breeze, so our neighbors who spent a week with us rigged some kind of wire scaffolding around and through it to keep it from collapsing and spilling hot coals all over our bare feet. I'm happy to report that it worked, and this fish came out moist and delicious. Even the 8YO, a young man of few words, was overheard telling his brother: Your fish was sooo good!
I find bluefish doesn't freeze particularly well, and the flavor of this already assertive fish gets stronger and stronger the longer it sits, so cook your bluefish right away or keep it in ice water for up to 24 hours for best results.
2 lbs. bluefish fillets
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the bluefish into eight portions. Mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, dill, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slather the fish on all sides with the sauce and let it sit at room temperature while preparing the coals. Oil the grill grate with a wad of paper towels and a pair of tongs.
Grill the fish skin side down for about 5 minutes or so depending on how hot your fire is. You want prominent grill marks on the bottom and, when viewed from the side, the flesh of the fish should be lighter in color on the bottom half than the top half. Using a large, sturdy spatula, scrape up the fish and flip it over gently so it doesn't fall apart. Cook another 5 minutes or so until it's cooked through but still moist and respectably grill-marked. Serves 8.