Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bluefish alla Abatemarco

If you walk the beaches of Montauk, Long Island, when the blues or the stripers run, there is an excellent chance that you will cross tire paths with my friend Fred. His is the beige truck with an untold number of rods attached to it, and the big white Igloo with a "Meatball" sticker strapped to its grill. His son Dan might also be in evidence, or his brother Frank and his daughter Gina.

The Abatemarcos are a loving, tightly knit family of very serious fishermen.

This is where they fish. And, for a while last weekend, so did I.

Fred and his wife Natalie (the only Abatemarco I have not witnessed carrying a fishing rod) go through a lot of what Fred calls "protein." And so they are always scouting new ways to prepare it. After a three-hour round of fishing on Saturday my associate went about concocting a new preparation for our hosts, a lovely "Bluefish Scancanesca" (don't ask) that pleased 10 very hungry people at dinner.

And so when four fresh pieces of blue got tossed into my cooler for the ride home on Monday morning I took that to mean it was my turn to come up with something that our gracious hosts and their family might enjoy.

They'd better. Because it's got their name on it.

Season both sides of the bluefish (or most any other fish you like) with salt and pepper and marinate in olive oil for around half an hour.

In a baking dish covered in olive oil mix together potatoes, red onion, lots of whole garlic cloves and some cherry tomatoes, and season with salt, pepper, fresh rosemary and oregano. Place in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F and cook for around 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Place the fish atop the cooked vegetables and return to the oven.

In about 15 minutes you'll be good to go.

And wishing that Fred and his Igloo were within reach.

Bluefish alla Abatemarco

4 6 oz. pieces of bluefish
Extra virgin olive oil
2 baking potatoes, cut into one-inch cubes
1 red onion, sliced
6-8 garlic cloves, lightly smashed but left whole
1 dozen whole cherry tomatoes
Fresh rosemary and oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Place the bluefish in a dish or bowl and liberally pour olive oil over it. Salt and pepper the fish and allow to rest in the oil for 30 minutes.
Cover the surface of a baking dish with olive oil, add the other ingredients, and place into the oven uncovered. Stir occasionally.
When the potatoes are fork tender (around 45 minutes) place the bluefish pieces on top of the vegetables and return to the oven for around 15 minutes.


Fred said...

If only there was more "protein" in that Igloo--for the record, I never knew my fish box had a brand name--to try this work of art. I can't wait. But for now I must: The beaches have been barren since you left town. Some weather is moving in--that's good news--and Big Brother Frank will work it until he returns to California on Friday. i"ll be back for the weekend. Keep you posted.

Mister Meatball said...

Ladies and gentlemen, the man himself!

Jean said...

I hope brother Fred was paying strict attention to this fabulous recipe 'cause I plan on having some on our next visit. It looks ultra-delicious!

Anonymous said...

Watching the bluefish run in Montauk is a memory that I will never forget. As the waves would rise--they were filled with shimmering bluefish. What a sight! I look forward to trying this recipe. Sounds great. Thanks

Fred said...

I can't believe it took me more than a year and a half, but I finally made this recipe and it is outstanding. My new go-to bluefish dish! I harvested a bumper crop of blues on a "boating" trip yesterday, and this was the trophy dinner I cooked for the BW and our guests. I embellished a tad: added kalamata olives, capers and fresh basil; baked the fish for the last 15 minutes with a splash of dry vermouth. Washed it down with a crisp Pouilly Fume. Proud to have such a dish bear my name. When you coming back to the beach?

Mister Meatball said...

Wondered whether you'd ever gotten around to this, FA. Your additions are good ones, too. Sounds nice.

The odd thing about your timing is that I am on this very day cooking some blue. Poaching in olive oil as an app tonight, actually.

Fred said...

Today, I attempt to brine and slow smoke some bluefish fillets. Unknown territory for me. Wish me