Vietnamese-Inspired Pan Fried Bluefish

Contains:  Seafood, optional soy, optional nightshade.  Is:  Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, quick and easy.  Paleo and Whole30 option.

recipe, bluefish, vietnamese, gluten-free

Vietnamese Inspired Pan Fried Bluefish

My recipe today is inspired by one found in the New York Times – using a fish that is not found near Vietnam.  So I felt free to go with my own notions as well.  Check out Fast Vietnamese Caramel Bluefish.  (If it turns out you don’t like my adaptation, you may well prefer theirs.)

Where I differ is that I don’t caramelize, or even fast-caramelize – my bluefish – instead of adding the brown sugar I opted to use a pear that has been sitting on my counter.  Besides some of the comments on their page indicated that the recipe as it stood was too sweet.  The nearest verifiable source of fresh lemongrass is currently over an hour away from me, so I went with powdered.  Your other option is to use lemon or lime zest, see below.

Bluefish is a stronger-flavored fish better eaten as soon after purchase (or fishing expedition capture) as possible.  I prefer the smaller filets, but ended up with a larger one, which I had the fishmonger cut in half – didn’t need the whole fillet in this case.  Because mine was thicker than the recipe was considering, I cooked mine longer.

recipe, bluefish, vietnamese

Yes, my fillet broke apart. Tasted excellently anyway!

It is one of the northern Atlantic ocean-going fishes rich in omega 3 fatty oils, and therefore healthy for you.  It is probably only going to be found on the northern eastern seaboard region of the US – if I am mistaken and you find it elsewhere, let me know!

If you can’t find bluefish, you can sub in (according to the New York Times) mackerel, trout, or salmon filets.  Or any of the more flavorful of the fishes.

Prep Time: 15 minutes.
Cook Time:  8 minutes.
Rest Time: 2 minutes.
Serves: 2.
Cuisine:  Vietnamese.
Leftovers:  Yes.

Vietnamese-Inspired Pan Fried Bluefish

  • Two skin-on bluefish fillets, preferably about six ounces each fillet.  My sections (from one large fillet) were five ounces apiece.  Play by ear.  
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil (or other healthy high temp oil)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, or in my case, 2 teaspoons powdered lemongrass.  Or… lemon or lime zest.  See below for preps.
  • 1 pear, Asian or Anjou preferred.  Mince and de-seed.
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce.
  • 1.5 low sodium tamari, gluten-free soy sauce, or coconut aminos (the latter for Paleo or Whole30, or for soy-free eating).  
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 or two scallions, sliced on the diagonal
  • Optional jalapeno, de-seeded, sliced very thin, and use as much or little as you wish.  Jalapenos are not created equal, some are hotter than others.  
  • Optional cilantro (coriander leaf), at whim.  (My whim was not to drive 35 minutes to my nearest supermarket, alas!)

Get your mis en place in place…

Lightly coat the fish fillets with the oil, all sides.

For the lemongrass, if using:    Cut stalk into 2 inch segments and bruise the segments by pounding them with the handle of a kitchen knife or similar, to release the flavors.  (this according to the NY Times, as I didn’t have this).  For the powder, if using: 2 teaspoons.  (this is what I actually did…)  For the lemon or lime zest, if using: peel a 2 inch strip of lemon or lime zest, and simply add that.  (this according to the NY Times, as I didn’t use this, either).

To a suitably large skillet, add the lemongrass (or substitution), pear, fish and tamari sauces, ginger paste and black pepper.   Heat to a simmer, medium-high.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes, allowing the pear to grow soft and release some of its juices and sugars.

Add the bluefish fillets, skin down.  If they are thick, as mine was, cook 5 minutes on medium heat.  Flip over, for another three minutes.

After this cooks, plate, adding the rest of the ingredients scattered over the top.  I added it to bok choy leaves.

recipe, vietnamese, bluefish

Link Parties and Blog Hops:

Fiesta Friday, hosted this week by Petra @ Food Eat Love and myself.  Drop in for some excellent meal ideas!

What’s For Dinner – Sunday Link Up, with more delectables!

Full Plate Thursday – and the plate is enticingly FULL!


About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: I've now moved to my new home in rural western Massachusetts. I am raising chickens (for meat and for eggs) and planning for guinea fowl, Shetland sheep, and probably goats and/or alpaca. Possibly feeder pigs. Raising veggies and going solar.
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17 Responses to Vietnamese-Inspired Pan Fried Bluefish

  1. Monika says:

    I love all the delicious aromatic ingredients you’ve used, this dish must me delicious!

  2. petra08 says:

    Hello co host!
    What a great recipe. I had to look up blue fish and I have never thought of using pear with fish, I am intrigued! Thank you for co hosting with me! 🙂 x

  3. I love the idea of subbing in the pear, and who knew there was lemongrass powder!! How cool is that!! And I second it, thanks for hosting for us this week at FF!!

    • I just went to an Indian grocery earlier today…. and found frozen lemongrass stalks. In my own freezer now for future reference.

      • I grow some every couple of years = it can get really prolific, then I chop it down to the usable part and freeze it, too. I have so much in the freezer it usually takes me a couple years to go through it all, Obs, I need to cook more Vietnamese food!!

        By the way, not too long ago I got mushroom powder, which I knew about and then when I was making my Jerk seasoning, I wondered if there were such a thing as soy powder! There is, btw!! So I had to get some of that, too!

      • Yes, I grew lemongrass a few years ago at my old home. It died when I wasn’t able to take it in one winter due to a broken ankle. I plan to grow it again starting next year!
        I will look for (or maybe since I have a dehydrator) consider making my own mushroom powder. Great idea!!

      • Now that would be a cool post!!

  4. Jhuls says:

    This sounds so tasty, Diann. Thanks a lot for hosting Fiesta Friday! x

  5. helenfern says:

    This is a beautiful dish! Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party!

  6. Miz Helen says:

    Your recipe looks fantastic and we will love this fish! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday. Hope you have a great week and come back to see us real soon!
    Miz Helen

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