Bluefish are relentless predators that can churn up the waters in packs in pursuit of their prey. They arrive around Martha’s Vineyard in May and stay until November. The migration and spawning patterns of this mysterious and beautiful fish remain a mystery.

You may think you know bluefish: oily, fishy, in need of lots of mayonnaise to camouflage it. But we challenge that conventional wisdom.

When bluefish is treated properly it is the most flavorful, versatile fish available. Our kids always preferred it. We’ve tried many different ways to prepare bluefish, and just about every method has been successful, as long as, and this is important, the blood is drained from the fish at the time of the catch.

Bluefish are voracious eaters. A frenzy occurs when they round up a school of baitfish and become eating machines. They gorge themselves, and you’ll often see baitfish being spit out as the blue is reeled in. Giant bass are sometimes caught in the wake of a bluefish frenzy when they come in and feed off the leftovers.

Bluefish Hash (or Bluefish Frittata)

This recipe has evolved over the years. My husband, Jeff, and our sons, Jack and Nick, would bring in the early-morning catch, and they would be in need of a hearty breakfast. We’ve tried it with striped bass, but the more flavorful bluefish remains our favorite.

Serves 3–4

Melinda Fager
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3–5 chunks bluefish
  • 3–4 eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful red or green peppers, chopped
  • 1–2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (optional)

1. Melt butter in a cast-iron skillet or saucepan. Place the bluefish in the pan, skin-side down. Cover the pan and cook at high temperature for 3 or 4 minutes.

2. Chop up the fish and skin with a spatula. (The skin is rich in protein.) Reduce heat to medium and add 3 or 4 eggs (an egg per person). Mix eggs and fish and season with salt and pepper. Add green peppers and tomatoes and mix together.

3. Cover pan and cook at medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top. Turn off heat and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes before serving. The bottom will be crusty. Cut pie-shaped wedges and serve with whole-wheat toast and a large pot of coffee.

Excerpted from Living Off the Sea by Melinda Fager and published by Vineyard Stories. This new Vineyard book draws from the Chappy summer lifestyle of photographer and cook Melinda Fager and her husband, Jeff Fager, chairman of CBS News.