Sometimes bluefish gets a bad rap, with people calling it too strong, too fishy, or too oily. We contend that people making those claims have never had fresh bluefish properly prepared. One of our favorite methods for cooking this oft-maligned fish comes from The Bluefish Cookbook: Delicious Ways to Deal with the Blues by Greta Jacobs and Jane Alexander (Globe Pequot Press). Called Taco Blues, it incorporates a Guinness batter as well as an amazing cilantro aioli. The bubbles in the Guinness give the batter an airy quality, keeping it from getting too thick and gloppy, and the stout lends a gentle malty flavor to the fried exterior of the fish. With crunchy corn taco shells and crisp shredded cabbage, this dish has a wonderful variety of textures. Using fresh fish (preferably bled when caught and used the same day) is the key, leading to succulent chunks of fried fish with a yielding, flaky interior that tastes of the ocean it came from. The tangy aioli has a bright herbal note that complements the fish perfectly, bringing all the flavors together into one of the best fish tacos we’ve ever sampled.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 ounces Guinness stout
  • 1 1/4 cups flour, plus extra for dredging
  • 2 bluefish fillets
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil for frying
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Crispy taco shells (2–3 per person)
  • Cilantro aioli, recipe follows


1. In a medium bowl, lightly beat egg, then add milk and Guinness. Blend in flour and mix well. (Any leftover batter keeps well in refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. Nice for onion rings and other vegetables, or other fish.)

2. Cut fillets into bite-size pieces.

3. Season flour for dredging with salt and pepper, and dip fish into flour, then into batter.

4. In a heavy frying pan or wok over a medium flame, heat enough oil to cover fish, or use a deep fryer. Fry fish until golden brown.

5. Heat taco shells in oven, then place shredded cabbage in bottom of taco shells. Fill shells with batter-fried fish, and drizzle with cilantro aioli.


Cilantro Aioli

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

1. Place garlic, salt, and cilantro in food processor and pulse to mix.

2. Fold into mayonnaise and add lime juice.

This recipe was originally published with the article, Ten Irresistible Eats.