Smoked bluefish linguine*

The bluefish we smoked a couple weeks back is a bit on the salty side, so I’ve been trying to use it as an ingredient, rather than just making a sandwich out of it.  This was my latest effort.

Smoked Bluefish Linguine
(serves 4)

1 T. vegetable oil (I used canola)
2 large onions, chopped
7-10 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup dry white wine or vermouth
2 cups chicken stock
1-2 T. browned flour, or a roux made with flour and butter or oil (see NOTE, below)
1 ½ c. frozen corn kernels (use fresh if you happen to have them)
2 c. shredded smoked bluefish
¼ cup half-and-half (or to taste; you can also use cream or milk)
½ cup chopped basil
black pepper to taste

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have caramelized to a medium brown color. This can take as long as 45 minutes, but don’t cut this step short. It is the sweetness of the caramelized onions that counterbalances the strong taste of the bluefish and makes this dish tasty.

2. Add the garlic, and cook a few minutes more. Then add the wine or vermouth and continue cooking until it has almost completely evaporated. Add the stock and the browned flour or roux and continue to cook until it has a saucy consistency.

3. Add the corn, bluefish, half-and-half, and basil, and cook just until everything is heated through. Serve over about a pound of linguine.

NOTE: You probably already know that a roux is just a mixture of equal parts flour and fat, cooked to a medium-brown color (or sometimes lighter or darker, depending on the purpose). The point of a roux is to cook the flour before you add it to a liquid; otherwise you end up with a raw taste. But you can cook the flour without the fat by simply putting a few cups in a skillet and heating it over low heat until it turns brown. You have to pay attention and stir often, but it’s easy to do. I keep a jar of browned flour in my refrigerator and use it to thicken soups, sauces, and stews.