Swordfish is often championed as the steak of fish. This is what we used to tell customers at the fish store when I was a butcher there. It is hearty, juicy, sturdy for grilling, in fact, it is best on a grill. Swordfish is not of the sweet, white, delicate fleshy meat family. Its taste is more distinct, yet not so distinct as to be fishy. This departure from the usual suspects makes it an ideal blank slate for creativity in order to accentuate the delicate natural flavors of the fish.
Swordfish can endure substantial weight, but you don’t want to overpower it. This is why I chose to build a sweet relish with red onions, cilantro, fresh corn, fresh pineapples, pickled jalapeno pepper atop a base of black beans. Each ingredient in this chorus has its own distinct voice, but the cumin is what unites it. It weaves its way through the medley, teasing out the sweetness of the corn and pineapples, fanning the heat of the pepper and encouraging the earthiness of the beans without coming on too strong. Cumin is essential, be generous with it. Then drizzle the finished product with the juice of a lime.
If you can’t grill this beauty outside on the barbeque, then searing and baking is the next best thing.
- 1 pound swordfish
- 1/2 cup cilantro stems removed
- 1 small red onion chopped
- 2 corn on the cob boiled until you can smell it (5-6 mins)
- 1 cup black beans or 1/2 a can
- 1 cup of fresh chopped pineapples
- 1 tablespoon pickled jalapeno peppers chopped finely
- 1 tablespoon chipotle chili pepper
- 3 cups water for boiling corn
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
Preheat oven to 350F. Rub swordfish with salt, pepper and chopotle chili powder. Sear for a minute or two on each side in a very hot pan. Insert into preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Use a knife to cut kernels off cooked corn cob and into a bowl. Using the same bowl, mix in chopped onion, cilantro, chopped pineapple, corn kernels, jalapenos and cooked beans. Add cumin. Add lime juice. Mix well.
When fish is ready remove from oven. Top generously with relish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, lime or chipotle as needed.
Baked Stuffed Pear:
The perfect accompaniment for the fish was something simple. I was going to go for a simple green vegetable, but I stumbled upon the idea for a stuffed pear while browsing the interwebs and I had to try it. It is so simple that I felt like I couldn’t feature it as a star, but this brilliant side can certainly stand on its own as a dessert or even an appetizer. It is kind of a variation on the same theme.
The sweet mild pear is baked and embellished with goat cheese, crushed walnuts and dried cranberries. Sometimes perfection is implicit in its own simplicity.
- One ripe pear
- 1 tablespoon goat cheese
- 1 tablespoon crushed walnuts
- 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
- 1 pinch cinnamon (optional)
- 1 pinch nutmeg (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Split pear down the center. Cut out the core from both slices. You will be able to see its outline. Make sure you scoop out enough to put the ingredients into it. Place face down on a baking sheet for 30 minutes (If you’re making this as a side dish with something else, it can share the oven). When you pull it out of the oven, flip them face up, add goat cheese, crushed walnuts, cranberries and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg if desired.