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Grilled Swordfish, Basque Relish, Bitter Greens


Grilled Swordfish, Basque Relish, Bitter Greens

I grew up in the Japan of the Minamata scandal, and swordfish was immediately and firmly removed from our diet by our mother. Because of that, even though it is fine today, it remains a very special treat for me. Made as above, with a very punchy tomato and red pepper relish, it was an even bigger treat.


Swordfish is among the meatiest of fish and stands up well to the bold flavors of this spicy relish. I served it over bitter greens, but it would also taste great over polenta or wild rice.



1 swordfish fillet

1/2 red pepper, diced

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup diced white onion

1/2 cup chopped dandelion greens or kale (optional)

1 clove garlic, finely minced

2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped

Jalapeno or red hot chili, finely chopped, to taste

2 tsps red-wine vinegar

2 1/2 tsps olive oil

1/8 tsp smoked paprika

Salt and black pepper to taste


Using half a teaspoon of the oil, rub the swordfish fillet on all sides and salt and pepper generously on all sides as well. Set aside.


Heat one of the remaining teaspoons of oil in a skillet. Add the onion, the garlic, the anchovies, the paprika and a bit of salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until the onion starts to soften; a couple of minutes. Stir in the red pepper and the hot chili pepper cook for an additional minute or so, stirring so that the onions do not catch to the bottom of the pan. Taste and add more chili pepper if needed.


Add the tomatoes and the red wine vinegar and lower the heat. Stir well to combine and cover. Allow to simmer while you prepare the swordfish.


I cooked this in a stovetop grill pan but BBQ swordfish is the best. For stove top cooking, heat the last teaspoon of oil in the grill pan until it is shimmering and the pan very hot.


Place the swordfish on the pan and cook for three minutes and thirty seconds, undisturbed. Right before turning to cook the other side, add your chopped greens to the pan with the tomato and red pepper relish and stir before covering and allowing to cook some more. The swordfish should release from the pan with no problem. If it does not, let it cook for an additional 30 seconds or so until it does.


Turn it over and cook for an additional three minutes. Turn off the heat. Using tongs, position the skin edge of the fish against the hot grill pan. Hold for a minute or so, occasionally moving to a hotter part of the grill, to crisp up the skin.


Place the fish over whatever your accompaniment dish is and pour over the relish.




Inspiration recipe, here.

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