Gabe the Fish Babe, aka fishmonger Gabrielle Stommel (read our profile of Gabe in our current issue here), usually gets bluefish from day-boat fisherman Dean Pesante in Point Judith, Rhode Island, and often sells it to Calliope in the East Village.
“Bluefish is an oily fish and can stand up to other bold ingredients,” says Stommel, “the combo of harissa, avocado and sweet bluefish make for a splendidly balanced dish.” Adds Chef Eric Korsh: “Most people serve it hot-smoked,” he says of bluefish, “which I think is boring.” This is not.
Seared Bluefish with Avocado
From chef Eric Korsh of Calliope (84 E. Fourth St., at Second Ave., 212.260.8484)
3 ripe avocados
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
3 teaspoons black sesame seeds
1½ pounds day-boat bluefish, skin-on
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons of harissa (Moroccan hot chile sauce, available from specialty food shops)
Peel avocado into ¾-inch segments, sprinkle them with sliced spring onions and lemon juice and salt to taste. Sprinkle on black sesame seeds and set aside. Check fillets for pin-bones and cut into ¾-inch pieces. Season the pieces of fish in a bowl with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add pieces of fish, skin-side down, and sear until cooked completely throughout, sliding pieces of fish around the pan with a spatula so they don’t stick. Stir together 2 cups olive oil and the harissa in a pot. Heat this mixture and pour it over the fish. Place a few pieces of avocado in a bowl, add a few pieces of fish on top. If you like, garnish with more sliced spring onion and a drizzle of olive oil.