Grilled Swordfish with Salsa Verde

Pesce Spada alla Griglia con Salsa Verde

Broiled Swordfish

As Lent continues, so does our fishing trip. Today’s catch is swordfish, a large fish that can be found primarily in the coastal waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. A favorite of cooks everywhere, its firm, relatively oily flesh is most often cut into steaks and is considered perfect for grilling. Well, considering my recent (highly unusual) successes on the grill, I’d little choice but to put away the broiler pan and return to the barbecue one more time.

Now, though I may continue to grill throughout the Winter, there’s nothing complicated in what I do, for it’s too cold for fancy schmancy. Instead, it’s Grilling 101. Heat the grates. Go back in the house. Clean the grates. Go back in the house. Oil the grates. Put the fish on the grates. Go back in the house. Flip the fish after a specified amount of time. Go back in the house. Remove, rest, and serve – in the house.  The only prep work for the fish involves seasoning the fillets with salt and pepper and lightly brushing them with oil. No, it doesn’t get much easier than this. And, to be honest, preparing the salsa verde, green sauce, isn’t much more difficult, as you’ll soon see.

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Raw Swordfish with Salsa Verde

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Green sauce, in one form or another, is common to countries in Europe and the Americas. Easy to prepare, with ingredients common to each area, this sauce can be used as a dip, condiment, and/or accompaniment for meat and fish dishes. Even so, the green sauce you find in Frankfurt, Grüne Soße, is quite different from that which you’d be served in Mexico, salsa verde. In Italy, there is no one salsa verde recipe. It varies from district to district, town to town, and probably house to house. So, when you look at my salsa verde recipe, use it as a guide. If you don’t like anchovies, drop them but be sure to add a bit of salt to make up for the change. Want a little mint? Swap some of the parsley for it. Just keep in mind that Italian salsa verde is meant to be a relatively simple sauce. Try not to get too exotic with the ingredient list. And no matter what recipe you follow, be sure to let your salsa rest at least an hour — hopefully 2 — before serving, giving the flavors a chance to blend and mellow.

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Grilled Swordfish with Salsa Verde Recipes

Ingredients

  • swordfish steaks
  • salt & pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • lemon wedges

Salsa Verde

  • 2 cups fresh parsley, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp capers, rinsed
  • 2 – 3 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • zest of 1/2 lemon, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • pepper, to taste

Directions

for the salsa verde

  1. Place parsley, capers, anchovies, shallot, and lemon juice (or vinegar) into a food processor and run, forming a paste.
  2. Scrape the bowl’s sides and resume processing for a couple more minutes.
  3. While the processor is running, pour the olive oil in a slow stream into the bowl. Continue until well-mixed.
  4. Taste before seasoning with pepper.
  5. Cover and set aside. Refrigerate if not needed for hours, though, best when served at room temperature.

for the swordfish

  1. Start grill. Will require a med-high heat.
  2. When grill is ready, thoroughly clean the grilling surface before using a towel soaked in vegetable oil to coat the grill plates.
  3. Lightly coat fish with vegetable oil, season with salt & pepper, and place on grilling surface. Do not move or disturb once placed on the grill.
  4. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove from heat, cover, and let rest for a few minutes.
  5. Place swordfish filets on a serving platter and serve with salsa verde accompaniment

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Grilled Swordfish

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Notes 

Please note that the recipe for salsa verde requires 2 cups of chopped parsley and not 2 cups of parsley that you chop. Make that mistake and you’ll have one runny batch of salsa. Now, should your salsa be too thin for your tastes, there’s no reason to panic. You can always add more chopped parsley to the food processor and try to correct the problem. In Italy, some recipes call for a slice or 2 of bread to thicken the salsa. Having tried both over the years, I’ve come up with Option 3. Pour the salsa through a fine-mesh sieve, draining as much liquid as you wish. Once the salsa has been allowed to rest, taste it and correct the seasoning as required.  Believe me, that’s the easiest way around the problem and doesn’t involve a run to the grocery to buy more parsley.

Variations

This salsa verde is the one that I use when serving fish. When seafood isn’t on the menu, I’ll make a few changes, resulting in a salsa that’s a better fit for the protein being served. Instead of the lemon juice and zest, I’ll add 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar. I’ll, also, chop 2 cloves of garlic in place of the shallot. Whether you follow my suggestions, with just a few substitutions you can create a salsa verde to go with any dish.

So, maybe you’re thinking that as much as you like swordfish, this salsa verde thing just isn’t for you. Not to worry. The Bartolini kitchens aim to please. Perhaps you’d be happier with a different cuisine. Might I suggest taking a trip to a kitchen located on the other side of the World? This Hong Kong kitchen is run by a blogging buddy, BAM, who recently shared a GF recipe for swordfish cooked in the Thai style. Believe me, this is one recipe and post you don’t want to miss.

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It’s déjà vu all over again … 

Pasta alla Norma

Pasta alla Norma

A couple of weeks ago, I sent you to Naples for a peek at my Pasta Puttanesca recipe. This week, we’ll head to Sicily for a look at my recipe for Pasta alla Norma, another of Southern Italy’s great dishes. This meatless pasta features chopped eggplant and is garnished with ricotta salata, a firmer, saltier version of the creamy ricotta that we all know and love. If you’re interested, you can see the recipe by clicking HERE. 

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Cannelloni

Bartolini Cannelloni

Your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Next week we’ll be taking a break from our fishing trip in honor of the pending St. Joseph’s Feast Day. 

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Grilled Sturgeon — Storione alla Griglia

Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of Lent for Western Rite Christians. In Catholic homes, it is a day of abstaining from meat, as are all the Fridays leading up to Easter Sunday. Although I consider myself a Recovering Catholic, I do think it a good idea to go meatless, for a number of reasons, and am trying to do so one day a week. So, whether you’re a practicing Catholic or just want to cut down on the amount of meat you eat, the Kitchens are here to help. Over the next several weeks, I’ll post a series of meatless recipes where fish is the primary protein. Well, that’s the plan anyway …

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Today’s recipe is not one from the Bartolini playbook. I don’t recall sturgeon ever being on the menu when I was a boy. I do enjoy sturgeon, though, having ordered it at restaurants several times as an adult. Recently, when my fishmonger ran a sale on the fish, I couldn’t resist purchasing some. While wrapping my purchase, he suggested I grill it. Now, those of you who have written posts featuring grilled fish have read my comments in which I confess an utter lack of grilling skills, especially when it comes to seafood. Fearing another disaster, I nevertheless took the fish monger’s suggestion as a challenge and fired up the grill that evening. Well, what can I say? Not only did the fish cook perfectly, it actually bore grill marks instead of sticking firmly to the grill plates. I have since returned to the grill and had equally good results, as you’ll see in the weeks ahead.

Once grilled, you’ll need some sort of sauce to compliment the fish. I’ve been served this sauce, or something closely resembling it, in restaurants several times. It couldn’t be easier to prepare and the amount of each ingredient may be modified to suit your own preferences. It’s, also, tasty enough that you can use it for just about any fish that makes its way to your dinner table.

And by the way,  Happy Birthday, Sis!

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Grilled Sturgeon with Lemon-Caper Sauce Recipes

Ingredients

  • sturgeon fillets, about ½ pound each, skin removed 100_1696
  • salt
  • pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil

Lemon-Caper Sauce

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest from ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 small clove garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Directions

  1. Start grill. Will require a med-high heat.
  2. When grill is ready, thoroughly clean the grilling surface before using a towel soaked in vegetable oil to coat the grill plates.
  3. Lightly coat fish with vegetable oil, season with salt & pepper, and place on grilling surface. Do not move or disturb once placed on the grill.
  4. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove from heat, cover, and let rest.
  5. While the fish rests, melt butter in a small fry pan over med-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for about a minute. Add the lemon juice, zest, and capers, continuing to sauté for another minute. Remove from heat, add parsley and gently stir.
  6. Place sturgeon fillets on a serving platter, spoon lemon-caper sauce over the fillets, and serve.

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Notes 

Sturgeon is a meaty, delicate tasting fish. It can be served baked, fried, smoked, or grilled. It’s flesh is more dense than say, cod, so it won’t flake as one might expect. Keep this in mind when you prepare sturgeon because it may become a bit tough with a more pronounced fish flavor when overcooked.

It really does pay to heed the experts and ensure that your grill plates are as clean as possible and well-oiled before you begin grilling any type of fish. Believe me, a light cleaning and oiling just won’t do. And be sure those grill plates are good and hot. Meet these 3 basic requirements and you’ll notice a marked improvement in your grilling.

One of the reasons I’ve chosen to go meatless one day a week is to reduce the impact on Mother Earth of raising meat, no matter the kind. I’d be robbing Peter to pay Paul, however, if I chose endangered seafood to eat instead of meat for that day. There are now a number of seafood apps available for your smartphone or tablet that will let you know whether a particular sea dweller is endangered and offer substitutions when possible. Just go to your virtual app store and do a search for “seafood”. The rest is up to you.

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It’s déjà vu all over again … 

Since we’re going meatless, we might as well take a look at some of the Kitchens’ previously posted meatless recipes, too. This week’s Blast from the Past will send you to my Pasta Puttanesca recipe. Originating in Naples, this flavorful pasta features anchovies, olives, and capers, all simmered in a rich tomato sauce. Not only that, its aroma is certainly one of a kind. You can find the recipe by clicking HERE.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Pasta with Sardines and Pickled Cherry Peppers

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