With Sweet-Pepper Butter

A turn-of-the-century brainchild of Alexander Filippini, a longtime chef at the world-famous Delmonico’s, this simple and luscious recipe was picked up and reprinted by a big Boston fish dealer, Freeman & Cobb, in their 1913 tract Recipes for Sea Food. The tone of the original recipe has a “written for the professional” quality to it, so it seems to me a good representation of the best of unaffected and intelligent shore resort dining in the period.

  • 1 large, or a few small, red or yellow sweet pepper(s)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
  • 2 pounds bluefish fillets
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Parsley sprigs and lemon wedges for garnish

Blister pepper over an open fire or in the broiler until quite blackened. Close it up in a paper bag for ten minutes to sweat, then rub off the burnt skin. Remove stem and seeds, and pound the flesh in a mortar or whiz it in a food processor. When finely pureed, work in the butter. Set aside.

Preheat baking pan in the broiler. Wipe the fish dry then sprinkle with salt and pepper and massage it in with the olive oil. Carefully lower fish onto hot pan and replace it into hot broiler until fish is nearly done, around 6 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and spread fish with sweet pepper butter. Replace in oven on lower rack for a couple minutes, basting with any butter that has seeped into pan. When pepper butter has begun to cook and the fish just flakes in the middle, turn oven off and leave it for another minute or two, then serve, garnished with parsley and lemon wedges.

Serves 4.

-PM