The unexpected bluefish tacos and a day at the beach

It was Saturday afternoon.

The temperatures had dropped slightly, but the sun shined bright.

I had been awaiting an outdoor picnic all week. “I think we should take the kids to the beach this afternoon” I said to C. I had some of the red beet and poppy seed muffins set aside for it. Sliced fruit, cheese, and bread also made it into the basket.

As we were loading the car, C. turned and casually said “and I think I will bring my fishing pole too”. I remembered last year’s pompano.

Beach-bound… without expectations.

We set up camp right next to the shore. A long tube buried in the sand that held the fishing pole. I didn’t even know one could fish at the beach shore as all my early fishing experiences were at the river with my grandfather.

The sky was blue and the waves reflected the most beautiful light – they sparkled.

Jon and Miren kept an initial distance from the cold water. First a hand, then a foot… suddenly, they were both running and jumping over waves. Covered in sand and having the time of their lives, I reminded myself how we were building memories right there.

Chattering teeth, shivering, and all.

Suddenly, I turned my back and there I saw C. struggling with the pole, tugging, letting go, and back to pulling.

An eight-pound silver and blue fish. It was beautiful. Jon and Miren stared at it in awe. We were not sure of what type of fish it was. We knew it was not pompano and did not want to take any chances, so we consulted a few people. The unanimous answer was – bluefish.

We knew what we were going to have for lunch the next day.

I have cleaned many fish in my lifetime. I believe I was 11 or 12 the first time I helped my mom clean anchovies and hake. Scales, inners, and all. I actually really enjoy the process.

However, I had never cleaned or cooked a bluefish before, so I got online and started my research. It is an oily fish with darker flesh and many complain of a strong taste and odor. A dark line of flesh runs all through the middle of the fish and this must be removed before cooking to eliminate that bitter taste.

I followed suit.

Some even recommend soaking the fish in milk overnight, which I didn’t do. I thought that a simple citrus and garlic marinade would work just as well.

Bluefish tacos served with yogurt and dill sauce, avocados, tomatoes from the garden, watercress, and green onions were our Sunday lunch.

I found the taste of bluefish pleasant and similar to the txitxarro (horse mackarel) I grew up eating.

I also cooked quinoa salad with beets, purple cauliflower, and mache with all my Saturday farmers’ market finds.

And for dessert? Chewy chocolate chip cookies.

A good lunch indeed.

Bluefish tacos with yogurt and dill sauce

serves 4

Yogurt and dill dressing

1/3 cup (85 ml) Greek-style, whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
Juice of half a lime
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
1/2 teaspoon salt

Stir all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use.

Bluefish Tacos

1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 pound (450 g) bluefish fillets, skinned and any bones removed (you could use any other fish you like)
8 corn tortillas
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
8 ounces (225 g) cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 green onions, diced

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cilantro, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Place the fish fillets in a baking dish and pour the marinade over. Turn the fish to make sure it is well coated. Marinate the fish for 15 minutes.

Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the fish fillets to the pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove fish from pan and flake it into bite-size pieces with a fork.

Heat the corn tortillas. Add the fish and top with avocado, tomatoes, green onions, watercress, and the yogurt-dill sauce. Serve immediately.

you may also like…

73 Responses to “The unexpected bluefish tacos and a day at the beach”

  1. nikole says:

    Such a great post Aran! Loved hearing about and seeing that fish!

  2. nikole says:

    Such a great post, Aran! Loved hearing about that fish!

  3. Lovely clicks! I really love the ones of the seagul and the fishes. Great tacos too.



  4. tinajo says:

    Super photos (though I´m not surprised about that)! :-)

  5. Rowaida says:

    Stunning photos and post! Love

  6. Valentina says:

    ваши дети просто чудесны!
    впрочем все детали необыкновенно на снимках получились, спасибо.

  7. Nova says:

    Seeing your pictures and reading your texts makes me want to “build memories” right now and stop sitting insinde. Sad to say, it’s quite cold and uncomfortable outside. But never mind, you can always experience lovely things – everywhere. You make me remember that!
    Kind regards from Cologne,

  8. Nova- yes, it’s definitely harder to get out of the house when it’s cold outside. Memories can also be built indoors. Many of my childhood memories revolve around my grandmother’s kitchen and what seemed “normal everyday life”. Nothing extra-ordinary, but for a young mind, even those activities seem remarkable.

    I actually love having a cold winter. I miss the times walking in the damp forests with my dad with boots and coats on.

    It’s all about what we do with what we have, I’d say! :)

    Thank you!

  9. MikeVFMK says:

    Love that gorgeous blue fish. And I always love seeing families spending time together, and this picnic and day confirms that for me. Looked like a great day out together.

    Beautiful clicks, love the family shots and that fish!!

  10. Rebecca says:

    What a beautiful bluefish! You’re very lucky to have such a skilled fisherman :) Certainly makes me miss living in FL where the seafood is fresh and pleantiful. Thanks for sharing your family picnic!

  11. our photos just take me away – you do a very special job.

  12. gorgeous post, it made so happy to see, memories indeed!

    now i crave the ocean, i am coming over!

  13. What a beautiful outing with the family, with such a pleasant surprise! Those tacos look delicious…like summer :-)

  14. I never realised you could fish onshore either. The tacos looks great Aran. Love fish with dill on the side!

  15. Laube says:

    What a beautiful photos!!!! I love them… and your bluefish tacos are really tasty.
    Congratulations because your great job

  16. Ruzu says:

    The beach looks amazing, I want to go there.
    the fish yummy, I love sea food.
    great shooting.


  17. Carmen says:

    Estoy aqui leyendo tu entrada con mi bebe de 1 año sentada encima esperando que termine de escritbirte para ir al baño, haciendo que habla por telefono en su idioma claro(parece muy interesante lo que dice) y debe estar diciendo algo asi como :”Que fotos tannnn bonitas, que colores, la playa!, que niños mas guapos ese pesacdo que parece de juguete super bonito”. bss

  18. Jualferx says:

    Hey, hace tiempo no pasaba a deleitarme con vuestro blog, y me he puesto a mirar todas las entradas que habéis tenido hasta el momento en que deje de leeros y habéis despertado millones de sensaciones y antojos con cada una. Teneís uno de mis blog favoritos. Prometo estar de nuevo pendiente como antes. Sois fabulosos. Feliz tiempo y muchos abrazos.

  19. VIRGINIA says:

    Aran, como siempre unas fotos preciosas e inspiradoras.

    No me digas que ese mar no te recuerda un poquito este que tenemos aquí. Parece que los txikis andan sin mas paseando por “la salvaje”, aunque a esa arena le hayan cambiando un poquito el color y nos la hayan dejado mas blanca y sin iodo.


    de una seguidora bilbaina.

    Por cierto cuando vienes este año por aquí??? Te tendremos otra vez con David???

    Virginia “sweet and sour”

  20. Shelby says:

    what a precious post..spontaneous and sprinkled with sunlight and tasty inspiration. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Virginia- pues vamos enseguida, a finales de marzo. Y lo de Robin Food… pues no se sabe. Ya veremos.


  22. You are such a good photographer & art director it is not even fair! But of course, I love it. We fished for Blue Fish too and were told that they also have very sharp teeth! Who knew! Gorgeous post!

  23. looks perfect, the ideal beach day. Yummy fish tacos, now Im craving! x N

  24. Food you pick or catch yourself simply is the best!Love your pictures!

  25. Iren says:

    I love the orange t-shirt of your daughter with the turquise blue of the see… wow!

  26. The picture of fish is great. The rest of course as well. Looks like you had some fun together :)

  27. Such a lovely post! And that beach looks terrific! Would you mind sharing with us which beach that is? My husband and I are planning to go to Florida this summer, but are undecided as to which beach to go to! Any help would be much appreciated!:)

  28. I keep hearing about fish tacos down here in Texas. I’ve yet to stop and try them. You make them look so delicious. I’d better give them a try!

  29. Anonymous says:

    You stay in Pompano? You are so lucky. Im from South Beach and everytime someone tells me how wonderful it is, I always tell them they havent visited Pompano yet. The beaches and calm/clean streets are what I love the most.

  30. Bonnie- yes, they do indeed!

    The spice route- This is a bit south of Juno Beach pier in northern palm beach county. Summer will be hot, hot, hot, so early mornings will be best time to be at the beach. Enjoy!

    Chiarina- please go to that post and in the comment section, I left the names of the winners.

    Anonymous- No, we don’t stay in Pompano. I was referring to pompano the fish. This is northern palm beach county.

    Thank you all!

  31. Rikki says:

    Beautiful pictures! The colors are so vibrant and the fish looks absolutely delicious. Seems like it was a wonderful day [:

  32. Maureen says:

    What an absolutely magical day. You’re right, definitely memories for a lifetime. And that fish!!

  33. Jennifer says:

    Such a beautiful post. It made me miss the ocean but as usual your pictures took me right there. I can feel the ocean breeze, hear your children playing, smell the blue fun. Lovely.

  34. bright bright blue. bright bright orange. happiness! thanks for sharing your day at the beach.

  35. Joanna says:

    These pictures are incredible. I feel like I just went on a mini vacation myself. I’m saving this recipe, too!

  36. Thank you so much for your reply, Aran! I guess we should plan our trip to Florida as early in summer as possible!

    Your blog is absolutely lovely! I always feel calm,peaceful and soothed when I have read through your posts and seen the gorgeous pictures!

  37. What a great looking fish! Fish tacos sound delicious! There aren’t many opportunities to fish here in the desert.

  38. the first time i had bluefish was on nantucket as a teenager. love it then, loved it now. a lot of people here on our coast in nh, have also recommended the milk soaking as well. however, i guess where alike…….i find it just fine the way it is. it’s great grilled in a foil pouch too.
    glad c brought his surfcasting pole!

  39. Pamela- I’m actually going to try to soak it in milk next time to see if there is any difference (not that the straight-up bluefish had anything wrong with it but just to try). Well, that’s if we catch another one :)


  40. What a lovely collection of photos. They tell a beautiful story. And those shots of that fish are just killer.

    I’ve never tried bluefish either. You’ve intrigued my tastebuds.

  41. Suzana says:


    That must have been such a wonderful day! And a great lunch, too. I love, LOVE your photos. Can’t wait for your book. :)

    The kids are so grown up! Time flies by, doesn’t it?

  42. Hi, I am new here. Loved your post and photos!

  43. So beautiful pics, so inspiring recipes…again!

  44. I always want to search for a cooking site where I can find an easy and the world’s best recipes, but I discover more than what I’m looking for when I found out this parcel site,, I really appreciate this site for it has a lot to offer more than recipes but also is an informative site!

  45. shaz says:

    Such evocative photos. Your beautiful children are growing up so quickly!

  46. Sini says:

    I love that first picture with the seagull! Seems like you had an amazing day at the beach and a delicious lunch the folllowing day. Î wish we would have some sun here too…but it’s still gonna be winter for a while.

  47. I really like your blog:) Great pics and so much inspiration…I wish you a lovely weekend.
    LOVE Maria at

  48. This post completely inspired me as I am on my way to the beach here in about 30 mins. I thought maybe I’d leave my camera at home and not lug it along…oh how this changed my mind!

  49. Such vibrant, beautiful colors! I love adding beets to anything and everything to make them pretty and pink. Nature’s food coloring!

  50. Itxaso says:

    Zelako egun polite, eta zenbet hazi dan Miren! Lehengoan in noazan zure madalena batzuk, pistatxoak, limoia eta amapolan pepitek deeukiezanak. ZE GOZO!! Benetan,atzera be in behodaz asteburuen. Novari erantzun dotsezune gustau jata, egie da. Ondo pasau asteburuen!

  51. Marina says:

    You make me long for summer.

  52. a. maren says:

    oo these are lovely! and your photos! they take me right there! my favorite part is the paper thin lime slices…

  53. Incredibly beautiful photos! The fish looks so fresh and delicious.

  54. Ilke says:

    Aran, you are so lucky to be living nearby the sea! I grew up along Bosphorus in Istanbul and now landlocked in SC for the past 11 years. I miss the smell of the salty water and the feeling of sand under my feet! Hope we can move to a coastal town sometime!
    I love bluefish and all seafood really. Simple marinades always work the best!

  55. Sally says:

    What a gem of a catch! Down here we are treasuring the last fleeting moments of summer, but looking forward to cooler temps and the warming foods of autumn.

  56. I love the idea of veggie tacos ! You made me want to go the the beach SOOOO bad!

  57. martina says:

    Would you share your chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe? I have an intense craving now!

  58. Martina- I will share the recipe soon! Thank you!

  59. classiq says:

    These photos are so beautiful and those first two ones paired together look amazing.

  60. […] We spent winter mostly at home as I continued with the copyediting of my manuscript. It was an unusually warm season, even for Florida standards, so we took full advantage and went to the beach as much as we could. We even went fishing on the beach several times. Remember the bluefish? […]

  61. Ceci from Mexico City says:

    This is the most beautiful blog I have seen.. its full of love.. all around!!
    thank you!!

  62. […] The unexpected bluefish tacos and a day at the beach from Cannelle et Vanille […]

  63. Kim says:

    What a lovely surprise….visually stunning and your recipe is delightful. Best on the web. You understand the concept of artful dining with “good food”.

  64. […] Try This: Fresh-Caught Bluefish Tacos With Yogurt and Dill Dressing […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.