Grilled Bonito - Learn How To Cook Bonito, The Best Bonito Recipe On The Web! (2024)

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This grilled bonito recipe is light and low in calories. It is also a recipe using Atlantic bonito freshly caught during my excursion with Fish On! when I went fishing for bonito. You can read all about my fishing experience here. The meat of a bonito fish has a firm texture with strong umami flavours, along the lines of tuna. It is the perfect alternative for all you meat lovers out there to get some nice protein on the plate. So, not only is the bonito rich in protein, it won't fall apart on the grill due to its texture. Altogether, grilled bonito is a beautiful healthy dish.

Grilled Bonito - Learn How To Cook Bonito, The Best Bonito Recipe On The Web! (1)

grilled bonito and fishing for bonito

As you know, I recently undertook an excursion to go fishing for bonito. Now, as soon as we caught the bonito we learned how to prepare it for the plate with the help of Chef Juan from the Bohemia Suites & Spa, a five star hotel in Gran Canaria. Chef Juan Manuel Bertolin Fuertes is an Aragonese chef who works at the Bohemia Suites & Spa. Having completed at the San Blas School in Teruel and the High School of Hospitality in Aragon, his technical and culinary skills soon caught the attention of professionals. His inspiration comes from spending his summers in his sister's kitchen as well as from his curiosity about the food from his grandmother Maria.

Grilled Bonito - Learn How To Cook Bonito, The Best Bonito Recipe On The Web! (2)

"I still remember myself running out from my house to find out what she was cookingand eat it with her. Her food had a special flavour,”he says.

Soon, he began to work in some of the best restaurants in Aragon. Today, he continues to seek the best combination of textures and flavours of food. This can definitely be seen at the Bohemia Spa & Suites restaurant menu. They offer a wide selection of fabulous seafood dishes with freshly caught fish. Hence, it was a pleasure to go with Chef Juan to the local market after my fishing for bonito excursion. Now I know exactly which herbs and produce to go for when it comes to a grilled bonito recipe or a grilled wreckfish recipe.

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excursion to the market

The market is called Mercadillo de Vega de San Mateoand it is located at Vega de San Mateo in the centre of the village. At this market, I was exposed to a beautiful selection of fresh produce, including vegetables, fish and local cheeses. So tempting! You can also indulge in the traditional, locally baked goods. When you visit the market, you will certainly get an understanding of just how fertile the island is. It is also a great way to experience the culture and blend in with the local crowd. Make sure you visit it!

Overall, it was a beautiful excursion. First I went fishing for bonito. Next, I took a masterclass on how to prepare and gut fish. Then, I went with a top chef to the local market to shop for the ingredients that pair well with the fish that we caught. Lastly, I learned how to cook it!

Grilled Bonito - Learn How To Cook Bonito, The Best Bonito Recipe On The Web! (4)

grilled bonito whole bonito fish recipes

Perhaps you have never heard of the bonito. Admittedly, it is not a fish which is caught on a massive commercial scale. However, every so often you will probably come across it at your local fishmonger. Bonito – its name comes from the Spanish word for beautiful – is actually a family of fish. The most common by far is the Atlantic bonito. Other types include the Australian bonito and the Eastern Pacific bonito. As you can tell, the bonito is home to those waters. Moreover, they are related to the tuna and mackerel family. So, you can expect the grilled bonito to cook similarly.

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Atlantic bonito fishing

The Atlantic bonito is native to the Atlantic Ocean, however, it can also be found in the Mediterranean Sea. The meat of the bonito has a firm texture similar to a tuna and is a dark reddish colour. This means that its taste is not quite as delicate as some of the more usual white fish that we grill or eat. The older the fish, the darker the meat will be. The younger ones will be lighter in the meat as well as in the flavour. The bonito can grow to a staggering 30 inches (75 centimetres) in length, although most of the ones caught and sold are only about half that size.

The bonito is known to travel close to the shore in large schools. It is quite a popular game fish for sports fishers, especially in the USA. If you or someone in your family enjoys fishing in your free time, maybe you can even catch one yourself. There's nothing better than enjoying a grilled bonito that you caught yourself! To learn more about the bonito, click here.

Also, check out this masterclass from my excursion where you learn to gut and prepare the fish from a top expert.

Grilled Bonito - Learn How To Cook Bonito, The Best Bonito Recipe On The Web! (6)

best bonito fish substitutes

If you can’t find bonito anywhere in the shops, look for fish such as Spanish mackerel, which has a similar type of meat. In fact, the two fish are so alike that I would recommend Spanish mackerel as the best direct substitute for the grilled bonito recipe. However, it is also relatively uncommon in the shops, so you might have to turn to a different type of mackerel. The easiest substitute would be the normal Atlantic mackerel for instance.

If you do switch the bonito for the mackerel, keep in mind that cooking time will be lower as the mackerel is a smaller fish. Also, mackerel have a lot of small bones so be careful with those when eating it.

Grilled Bonito - Learn How To Cook Bonito, The Best Bonito Recipe On The Web! (7)

a good fish to eat

Indeed it is! Before grilling the bonito, rub it with salt and pepper and any spices you might wish to use on the fish. My suggestions would be lemon, thyme or paprika and garlic. For Asian flavours, try a miso rub. After grilling the fish, drizzle with a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil and freshly chopped parsley. You can also use more fragrant herbs such as tarragon or dill. If you don't have tarragon, take a look at these excellent tarragon substitutes.

Alternatively, throw a generous amount of fresh watercress on top of the fish when serving. The watercress has a lovely bitter freshness that gives a good contrast to the meaty fish. In fact, I suggest you make this delicious, creamy watercress sauce. It pairs very well with darker types of fish. Even so, don’t forget that all-important lemon juice.

If you have a smoker at home and want more intense flavours, then inspire yourself with this hot smoked salmon recipe.

Grilled Bonito - Learn How To Cook Bonito, The Best Bonito Recipe On The Web! (8)

Atlantic grilled bonito serving suggestions

As with any fish, I believe that the sides should be of a somewhat lighter nature. Especially if you want to keep it a low-calorie meal. That being said, the grilled bonito is darker in the meat and fuller in flavour than most white fish. Therefore, it can handle bolder flavours in the sides.

Something green is always nice for a fish. It looks great on the plate and it freshens up your palate. A good alternative to boiled vegetables or a plain green salad could be my cucumber salad with avocado and cashews. Refreshing due to the cucumber, though full bodied due to the avocado and toasted cashews, this salad makes a nutritious side for the grilled bonito.

If you would like the meal to be even more filling, you can serve the grilled bonito with my pomegranate couscous salad. It is a combination that will certainly transport you to the Mediterranean seaside in an instant. The fresh cucumber, spring onion, pomegranate seeds and fresh mint are all refreshing!

A very simple alternative is to just grill some vegetables since you have the barbecue going anyway. Some bell peppers, courgettes and asparagus done on the grill are tasty sides for a grilled bonito. Make sure to get a bit of char from the grill on those vegetables and they will be irresistible.

Grilled Bonito - Learn How To Cook Bonito, The Best Bonito Recipe On The Web! (9)

wine pairing

Every now and again we can allow ourselves to add to the joy of a good meal by drinking a lovely wine with it. I reckon that the grilled bonito could be one of those meals. Because of the somewhat denser meat and fuller flavour, you should not go for too light a wine. Some light white wines may be great for white fish, but they will not quite do it for the grilled bonito. If you want to stick with white I recommend a full bodied one. For example a Chardonnay, perhaps with a bit of barrel aging to give it some weight.

Otherwise, you could go for a nice fruity rosé. In this case I would go for an overseas wine such as South African or Australian. Alternatively a Chilean. These should all pack some good flavours that will match the grilled bonito.


📖 Recipe

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Grilled Bonito

★★★★★5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Michelle Minnaar
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
Print Recipe


Grilled bonito is a healthy recipe that uses Atlantic bonito fish. If you've just fished and don't know how to cook bonito, then here's your answer!



  • 1 whole Atlantic bonito, cleaned and gutted
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
  • 1 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 green chilli, washed and finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Butterfly the fish.
  2. Brush the flesh with the oil and grill on the barbecue or under the grill for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Mix the garlic, chilli and lime and sprinkle on the fish.
  4. Serve immediately with a fresh salad and new potatoes.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: Spanish


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 203
  • Sugar: 1.1 g
  • Sodium: 598 mg
  • Fat: 17.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 5.1 g
  • Fiber: 1.2 g
  • Protein: 8.6 g

Keywords: bonito fish, bonito recipes, how to cook bonito

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Grilled Bonito - Learn How To Cook Bonito, The Best Bonito Recipe On The Web! (2024)


What is the best way to cook bonita? ›

Cook the fish over direct heat for about 3 minutes, until the flesh begins to char. Flip the fish over and cook an additional minute so that it is still slightly pink inside for medium-rare. Cook the fish 3 minutes longer for medium-done. Serve the grilled bonito garnished with lime wedges.

Why do people not eat bonito? ›

Bonito have dark meat that is very oily and carries a more fishy flavor compared to other species. These meat qualities make bonito an acquired taste and less favorable as table fare to the general public. On the other hand, die-hard seafood lovers may find bonito to be delicious.

What is the difference between bonita and tuna? ›

Bonito has a smooth texture and flakes easily. It has a more delicate flavor, and it is a juicy and pleasant fish to eat. Yellowfin tuna has a more intense flavor, and its texture is not as fine. Yellowfin tuna has a higher fat content compared to bonito.

What is bonito called in English? ›

The official English name for "Bonito" is still known as Skipjack Tuna or Striped Tuna.

Can you eat bonito fish raw? ›

Bonito is best eaten raw, pan seared or flash grilled (keeping the center raw). This is my favorite tuna, bar none. It is considered an under-utilized species in this country where the unsustainable bluefin and bigeye tunas get mot of the culinary respect.

What bait to use for bonita? ›

Best Baits for Bonito

The 1/4- to 1-ounce No Alibi feathers have a tantalizing pulsating action on the troll that makes them a top pick for bonito, mahi, and small bluefin. Unweighted, they'll swim just under the surface at speed, so fishermen rig them behind a drail or size 00 planer to get them down.

Is it safe to eat bonito? ›

Yes, bonito tuna is safe to eat. It is a healthy fish that is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. However, it is important to note that bonito tuna has a strong flavor and oily texture, which may not be to everyone's taste.

Is bonito a healthy fish? ›

The benefits of bonito fish are that it is quite rich and nutritious in protein and vitamin D. Acorn is a rich fish that contains nutritional values such as vitamin A, folic acid, potassium, phosphorus.

Is bonito high in mercury? ›

As with other top predators, may contain high mercury levels; follow consumer guidelines especially for pregnant women and children.

Which tuna has the most mercury? ›

There are two main kinds of canned tuna: chunk light and solid or chunk white (albacore). Mercury levels in canned white tuna, which is exclusively albacore, are almost three times higher than those found in smaller skipjack tuna commonly used in canned light tuna products.

What fish is mistaken for tuna? ›

Walu is commonly referred to as “white tuna,” but that name can be misleading. It is actually called escolar and is a delicious and sustainable Hawaiian fish.

What is tuna called in Hawaii? ›

In Hawaii, “ahi” refers to two species, the yellowfin tuna and the bigeye tuna. It has a slimmer profile than the bigeye tuna, with distinctive soft dorsal and anal fins and finlets are bright yellow. The dorsal and anal fins tend to lengthen with age. Smaller yellowfin are also called “shibi” in Hawaii.

Can I call my boyfriend bonito? ›

"Bonito/a", as applied to a person, translates mostly as "cute" in English. It's not inappropriate but odd from a cultural perspective to call a man “bonito”. It's more appropriate to call him “guapo” which is handsome.

What is bonita for men? ›

It means pretty, but in spanish we use bonito/Bonita for both genders so the fact that they call you pretty has nothing to do with you being gay. We dont have different words for a boy and a girl when we want to say they are beauriful, look good or are hot, we just change the gender.

What are bonita fish good for? ›

This fish cooks in minutes and tastes great with side dishes like fresh green salads and rice pilaf. Serving fresh baked bread always compliments bonito fish recipes, because of the dark rich flavor of the bonito meat.

How do you serve bonito? ›

Bonito tataki is usually served with ponzu dressing (citrus soy sauce) and finely chopped shallots (scallions), grated ginger and/or sliced garlic. But you can simply serve tataki with soy sauce if you want. In my recipe today, I did not use garlic but many people like bonito tataki with a bit of garlic.

What is bonito good for? ›

Bonito is a bony fish from the Tuna family. It is fished wild approximately 300 miles off the East coast of Japan where the seawater carries high levels of dissolved oxygen that boosts biological productivity. Bonito is used in Japanese cooking, but cats (and dogs) love the flakes just the way they are.

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