I am late to the swordfish party. As much as I enjoy seafood of all kinds, I am not very adventurous when it comes to cooking fish at home. The cooking itself is simple enough. Most cuts of fish are best served simply to let the flavour shine. What stops me from exploring is cost. A dinner for two featuring sustainably caught fish can easily cost me $20 for the fish alone. At the fishmonger, swordfish steaks definitely take up a place of pride as Dorie Greenspan wrote in Around My French Table. Thankfully, they are in season right now and I was able to get a gorgeous 200g piece under $10.
Another cost saving tip I learned from Greenspan is that rather than cooking the inch-thick swordfish steaks on a grill, the French prefers to serve thinner portions seared in pan. That’s music to my ears because I could stretch that fillet into a dinner for two by simply slicing it in half. With all other ingredients readily available at home, my swordfish dinner is unexpectedly affordable and elegant. Even the description of the dish sounds restaurant-worthy: Pan seared swordfish served with caper rosemary vinaigrette, frilly herb salad, and lentils with sundried tomatoes and black olives.
The caper rosemary vinaigrette double duties as marinade and sauce. It is an alluring mixture of lime zest, lime juice, shallot, caper, caper brine, rosemary, piment d’espelette, and olive oil. Like most good vinaigrette recipes, there is a balance between acidic and savoury. I would not hesitate to drizzle this on a salad.
Firm flesh fish like swordfish is great introduction material if you’re just learning to cook fish. First, the taste is mild. More importantly, it doesn’t fall apart easily during cooking! About 2 to 3 minutes of searing on each side turned the fish a lovely golden hue.
I struggle to understand Greenspan’s enthusiasm about the frilly herb salad. Mind you, I love herbs. But at the end of the day, it is still a pile of parsley, tarragon, and thyme tossed with a bit of lemon juice and olive oil. In the realm of herb salad, I much prefer the bold tabbouleh.
Taking cues from the Provence influenced vinaigrette, I served the swordfish with French lentils dressed with oil-cured sundried tomatoes, black olives, and red wine vinegar. The slight mineral tang of the lentils stood up nicely against the vibrant ingredients. It is not as starchy as root vegetable or grains so the lightness is a perfect choice for this summer dinner. The best part about this meal is that it can be served hot or room temperature. The extra flexibility means we can take the time to savour this sultry weather with a chilled glass of wine.
Don’t forget to check out other bloggers’ interpretation of this dish at French Fridays with Dorie!
More swordfish dishes at Dessert By Candy: