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Locally caught bluefish is at the center of this savory, herby, addictive spread. (Photo source: Jason Weiner)

This luxurious, herby smoked bluefish dip is classic Almond. At once simple and spectacularly flavorful, it’s a great option for a Passover starter, or Easter, too—although no holiday is needed; this smokey, savory spread is delicious anytime, breakfast, lunch or dinner.

High bluefish season is summer, for sure, but as they make their way north in the spring, getting your hands on the classic northeast fish is one of the first tastes to welcome in the new sunny season. Chef Jason Weiner of Almond knows the benefits of smoking this oily swimmer—it takes to the low-and-slow method of cooking incredibly well, and makes for a pretty good excuse to hang out in the backyard, crack a beer or bottle of rosé and chill.

As for the cooking technique: Don’t fear the smoker. It can seem intimidating, sure; and an expense that perhaps wasn’t on the forefront of your purchases this month. But there’s really nothing more fun and easy than smoking whole fish—unlike beef, it’s a far shorter investment of time. And aren’t we all excited to hang outside right now anyway, with spring officially here?

Remember: It takes a while for the fire to get going, so be sure to factor an extra half hour into your smoking time. And if you don’t have a smoker? You can create an easy sub on your gas grill. Simply light all your burners to heat, turn off the farthest side, and adjust the other two burners to the lowest setting and let the temperature hit 150 degrees. Put the apple wood chips in a tin and place it over the lit section of the grill; place the fish on the unlit burner. Keep the lid closed and allow to “smoke” for the 2 hour period (just make sure your propane tank is on the full side!).

And as Weiner advises, you don’t have to even go the smoker route if you don’t want to: “If you don’t want to go through the trauma of procuring and smoking bluefish,” says the chef, “you can always use store bought smoked trout or something similar.”

Jason Weiner’s smoked bluefish dip

Serves 8 servings


For the bluefish

  • 2 lb skin-on bluefish, filleted
  • 3 red onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 bunch dill, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch thyme leaves, roughly chopped
  • 5 bay leaves, crushed
  • 1/2 cup brined green peppercorns, rinsed and crushed
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

For the yogurt dressing

  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup dill, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 oz tepid water


For the bluefish

  • Score the bluefish skin at 3-inch intervals.
  • Mix together the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Lay half the mixture in a non-reactive pan large enough to hold the bluefish filet lain flat.
  • Place the bluefish, skin-side down, on top of the curing mix.
  • Scatter the second half of the mix on top of the bluefish and refrigerator for 24 hours.
  • Rinse the curing mix off the fish and refrigerate for another 24 hours.
  • Smoke the bluefish with apple wood chips for 2 hours at 150 degrees. The fish should have a pleasing firmness and amber color. If it doesn't, keep smoking 'til it does!
  • Refrigerate fish immediately. After an hour, coat the fish with canola oil and wrap in plastic wrap until ready to serve.

To assemble

  • Remove skin from the fish and discard.
  • Flake the fish into a bowl. Keep it a little chunky, watch for any bones and avoid the dark blood line.
  • Fold in the yogurt dressing ingredients. Served with slices of good bread, crackers or veggies for dipping.