Grilled Swordfish with a Spicy Tomato Sauce

All Year

Before we start cooking, be aware that Swordfish is on the Greenpeace red list, so try to find the origin of your swordfish. Having done that assess the quality of the swordfish. No doubt it was frozen, so an extra reason to look carefully and smell. As always: if fish smells like fish, then don’t buy it.
If swordfish looks it has been pre-prepared (sometimes salt or smoke are used) or the flesh is not transparent: don’t buy it. For some reason you need to be extra critical when buying swordfish. But once you’ve found good, fresh swordfish, you have found yourself a great starter.
Also note that swordfish is a predator. Some organisations mention the risk of mercury when eating swordfish, so don’t eat it too often we would say.

If you scan the various recipes for swordfish, you will notice the massive use of marinades. We would not suggest using a marinade when preparing swordfish. The fish has a delicate, slightly sweet taste, which begs for a clever combination, not for a taste bomb like a marinade.
Often the fish is brushed with a mixture of oil and lemon. Sorry, wrong idea. Lemon is probably used to hide a fishy taste (in that case you shouldn’t have bought the fish). The lemon juice will burn when grilling because of the sugar in the juice, so your grilled stake will not just be grilled, it will also show traces of burned sugar. Not tasty, not healthy, not pleasant.
There are only three things you need to do pre grilling swordfish: prepare your tomato sauce, transfer the steak 30 minutes prior to grilling from the fridge to a plate and brush generously with a decent olive oil.

We enjoyed our grilled swordfish with a glass of Radacini from the Codru region in Moldova. The wine is made from chardonnay grapes and comes with a beautiful yellow colour. It made us think of apricots and maybe a touch of vanilla. It is not oaked, which is an exception for chardonnay. A wine with a round, velvety taste, but also fresh and fruity. The mouth feel is coating. The velvety aspect goes really well with the fish and the fruitiness is a great combination with the sweetness of the sauce. As an alternative go for an un-oaked, fruit-forward chardonnay.

Here is what you need:

  • Steak of Swordfish
  • Olive Oil
  • Shallot
  • Chilli
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • 2 Garlic gloves
  • 2 Anchovies fillets
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • Bouquet Garni (Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley)
  • Capers (in brine)

Start by slicing the shallot and glaze it gently in olive oil. Cut half of the bell pepper and the chilli in smaller chunks and add to the pan. Stir and then add the garlic. Cut the tomatoes in quarters, add the tomato meat to the sauce and press the remainder through a sieve, making sure you get all the lovely juices. Add the juice to the sauce. Add the bouquet garni and the anchovies. Leave on small heat for two hours.
Remove the bouquet garni, blender the sauce very well and make sure it is a spicy combination of tomatoes and a touch of bell pepper.
Brush the steak generously with olive oil, heat your grill (we use a Le Creuset pan, see picture) and grill for maybe 8 minutes. The meat of swordfish is firm and needs longer than you would expect when grilling fish.
Serve the fish on a hot plate with the tomato sauce. The capers are crucial; they add a bit of acidity, which works really well with the spiciness of the sauce and the gentle sweetness of both the fish and the tomatoes.

PS In case your swordfish looks great but is from the wrong region according to Greenpeace, simply buy the fish, enjoy eating it and donate some money to Greenpeace.