There are several truths in my culinary world: everything fried tastes better and everything smoked tastes better. Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule – thinking about all the fresh vegetables coming out of the garden (good!) and about that smoked oil (bad!).
Bluefish fits perfectly into that rule. Some people enjoy it fresh, but with a strong, oily flavor it’s better suited to smoking and more universally liked that way. I love having little snacks in the fridge for when unexpected guests come over, and smoked bluefish is a great option. Whole Foods sells smoked bluefish pâté but I was wholly disappointed to discover it contains high fructose corn syrup. The only solution is to make my own.
Smoked Bluefish Pâté
To smoke bluefish: Season ½ pound filet with salt, pepper and a little sugar. Start a charcoal fire on the grill. Meanwhile, soak wood chips in water. When charcoal fire starts to fade, prepare to smoke and move quickly: Drain wood chips and toss on top of the embers. Replace the grate on top of the grill and put the bluefish on the grate… away from the fire. Close the grill and the vents on top – leave the vents on the bottom open. Let fish smoke for 30 minutes or more.
In a food processor fitted with a plastic blade, combine bluefish with 4 ounces cream cheese, 1 tablespoon brandy, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Pulse to combine. Stir in chopped scallions. Serve with crackers.