Grilled swordfish. Oh yeah.

SlabsBy Lewis

Lookie there. Them’s slabs of swordfish I bought at Coastal a while back. Again, I’m late with the post. Can’t remember the last time I cooked swordfish. Nice stuff. But not that pretty steak you’d have on your plate in a restaurant. Got to Coastal late in the afternoon, all the pretty cuts were gone, I suppose. Doesn’t matter. The guy just grabbed the hunk of fish and sawed off two slabs for me. Coastal kicks ass, no? I think so. That’s where I go for my fish. Never done that much fish until about a year ago, now I’m trying to work it into the regular rotation.

Anyway, see that big red spot in those slabs? You’ll want to cut that out. Full of blood, that little part, and the majority of humans don’t find that piece of meat too tasty. Kinda bitter. So, cut it out, set it aside, cook it up for your kitty cats, K?

Now what we’re gonna do here is grill these suckas. Nice, meaty fish like this and tuna hold up real nice on the grill. And I happened to find a little recipe from Wolfgang Puck of all people in the newspaper a while back. Here it is:


Makes 4 servings.

4 fresh swordfish fillets, about 1 inch thick, about 6 ounces each


Freshly ground black pepper

3 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne strips

¼ cup fresh lemon or lime juice

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Tomatillo vinaigrette:

¼ pound fresh tomatillos, husks removed, or fresh firm Roma (plum) tomatoes, cored

6 sprigs fresh cilantro

1 garlic clove

½ teaspoon chopped jalapeno chile pepper

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided use

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar


Freshly ground black pepper

Fresh basil sprigs, for garnish

Looks like it’s quite a production, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. Just read along. Sure, this post is over 1,000 words. But relax. You prep everything else while the fish is marinating, and there’s plenty of down time to suck down a few beverages or plan your next meal. Very easy workload.

So, after the dissection (and after stripping off the skin, too, with my ultra-sharp Dexter Russell six-inch chef’s knife) those hunks o’ meat look like this:Cut

So bundle ‘em like this:

For the marinade, follow along. Dinner was for two, so I halved everything. Following the recipe, I lightly salted and peppered the fish, plucked a couple leaves from the basil plant I purchased at the St. Paul Farmers’ Market, sliced ‘em fine, and sprinkled on. Then took the lemonSoaking
juice/extra-virgin olive oil mixture (which should look similar to a mustard sauce when mixed together) and dumped it over the fishies in my glass pie baking pan. Turned ‘em a couple times, made sure they’re coated, then sealed the mess with plastic wrap and stuck it in the fridge. Puckster says marinate for two hours, but I don’t think I held out that long.

For those unfamiliar, that’s a tomatillo (at left).

And that’s a tomatillo, sans the husk.Shucked

I used two. Pull the husk, wash ‘em, core ‘em, stick ‘em in a pan with a garlic clove, the cilantro, yer diced up jalapeno (I made sure I rid the thing of any seeds or innards—that lady friend ain’t a fan of high heat (sigh!)) and drizzle with some of that extra virgin olive oil and toss the mess into a 400 degree (F) oven to soften everything up.

About 10, maybe 15 minutes later, take it out and spoon it all into your handy mini-Cuisinart and puree.In_the_cuisinart

Run the junk through a medium strainer and voila. There’s the beginnings of your vinaigrette. Now, again, remembering this is only for two, whisk (or be cool like me and use a fork) 1 tablespoon of champagne white wine vinegar. Gotta believe standard white wine vinegar would be just fine here, I just happened to have what the recipe calls for.

Now the recipe (halved) calls for an additional ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil to be gradually whisked in. That seemed a little much. So I just eyeballed it till I thought I had a decent enough amount for the two slabs o’ fish, tasted it, seasoned with a little salt and pepper, and called ‘er done. The flavor: The first thing I tasted was the vinegar, but then swiftly followed by everything else. A cool sensation; a little parade for the tongue. Set it aside.

Now the really easy part. Puckster sez about 7-8 minutes for a 1 inch slab. That’s pretty much the standard from everybody, including my fish heroine over at Beyond Salmon. Eyeballin’ it, my slabs aren’t quite an inch, and my grill has exactly two settings: Inferno and Medium High. It’s not the best. But you make due. I keep a close eye on everything that hits it.

So there. For those of you that don’t know already, when you light your grill, let it heat up good (I’ve got a gas grill, for you charcoalers, let your coals get that white-ash dusting all over them, that’s when they’re good to go and any lighter fluid stench is burned off) then take your wire brush to the grill, get the crap off it, then soak a paper towel with vegetable or olive oil (I use vegetable, it’s cheaper) and swab that sucker quickly—do it for anything yer grilling, it helps prevent sticking. I only say this because I’ve recently watched a few friends who are knowledgeable cooks in the kitchen throw slabs of wonderful meat on the grill and leave a third of it on there when they try the flip. SWAB THE RACK WITH OIL.

I dialed the burner down as low as it could go (you’ll have to figure out where your grill temperature is at—for the charcoal, keep a close eye on things, especially if you’re cooking in an alley with one of those little Weber Smokey Joe’s as I used to do). Threw the swordfish steaks on there, they were sweating on top after about four minutes, so I flipped them, eyeballed ‘em for another two minutes, did the slice-open test, looked good (white-ish throughout—lady friend doesn’t like anything looking opaque (sigh)), so I yanked ‘em off.

Spoon a bit of vinaigrette on a plate and set the swordfish on top of it, and you’re done. Nice, light summer meal. I overdid the vinaigrette here; I had the other slab all plated pretty garnished with the basil sprigs but the lady friend had already devoured half of it by the time I grabbed my camera.

A nice salad with a sweet dressing goes real nice with this. The vinaigrette was great, cut the marinade nicely. Only thing I’d do differently is cut back on the lemon juice in the marinade.
Go forth with the swordfish.

Oh, yea. Don’t forget about them dark parts you cut out. Just toss ‘em on the hot grill for a while and serve…

1 comment for “Grilled swordfish. Oh yeah.

  1. June 10, 2006 at 2:50 am

    yeah looks like its fun

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