We keep our grill warm even in the coldest months. Swordfish is meaty and thick and is available year-round, which makes it a perfect choice for grilling in any season. It is also caught on every coast in the country, which makes it relatively easy to find. This is a quick and easy meal packed with flavor, thanks to the skordalia, a Greek spread made with garlic, potato and blanched almonds. I also serve this with a simple homemade pilaf or Trader Joe’s wild rice pilaf.
Wine experts consider all the natural elements of the place where the grapes for a particular type of wine are grown — soil, climate, topography — and call it terroir (ter-war). I like to think there is harmony in a meal that has components from the same place, so I pair my Maine-landed swordfish and locally grown vegetables and herbs with skordalia made from Maine russet potatoes.
North Atlantic swordfish is an internationally managed fishery. The U.S. fleet is so small that we often leave a portion of our quota on the table. On the West Coast, the fishery is sustainably managed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council by way of the National Marine Fisheries Service under NOAA.
2 pounds swordfish steak, cut into 1.5-inch pieces
2 bell peppers (go for color!), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 sweet onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small yellow squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup oil and vinegar salad dressing (I use Newman’s Own)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, roughly chopped, plus more for optional garnish
4 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, for garnish
Heat gas grill to high or arrange charcoal with hot and warm zones.
In a medium bowl, toss vegetables in salad dressing. Thread vegetables on skewers and grill uncovered on high for about 5 minutes, until corners start to blacken and pepper skin starts to blister. If you thread each type of vegetable on separate skewers, you can cook each type to your preferred doneness.
While the vegetables cook, add swordfish to a medium bowl and sprinkle with salt. Add olive oil and oregano and toss to coat. Thread on skewers leaving a small gap between pieces.
Turn grill to low, rotate veggies, add fish and grill covered, rotating once, until the fish is cooked through (opaque white) but not dry — about 12-15 minutes total. Remove vegetables as preferred.
Plate with a pilaf and skordalia (recipe below), garnished with parsley and oregano to taste.
I had this garlicky condiment for the first time at a Greek restaurant here in Portland, Maine, and immediately made some to have at home. My kitchen has been stocked with it ever since. It is delicious on so many things — vegetables, bread, steak, chicken — but it really shines on grilled fish.
Makes about 3 cups
1 pound russet potatoes, whole with skin
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salt
3/4 cup blanched almonds (whole or slivered)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Add whole potatoes to a medium saucepan, cover with cold, salted water plus 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the potatoes are tender, about half an hour. Drain and cool. Then rub off the skins, chop roughly and purée with a food mill or ricer into a medium bowl or back into your saucepan.
In a food processor, combine garlic, almonds and olive oil. Add to your potatoes and then stir in the remaining ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This keeps in my refrigerator for weeks at a time in a canning jar. I have tried freezing this paste with mixed results. The taste is perfect, but the result is a little watery. If thawing, try gently warming the paste in a saucepan or double boiler and then whipping it in a food processor before serving.