Even fish-haters may enjoy swordfish for its rich, meaty flavor. Cuts of swordfish are often called steaks, and rightly so. This fish has a strong, very distinct taste that only intensifies when grilled. Unlike subtler-tasting fishes, swordfish stands up to grilling without falling apart or losing its flavor under the grill's smoky overtones. This means you can pair it with some pretty big flavors without losing the swordfish in the dish.
Because swordfish already has such a deep flavor, you don't need much more than a little salt and pepper. Olive oil brushed onto the skin before grilling helps the steaks get golden brown on the outside. Swordfish does, however, respond well to acidic flavors, like lemon and onion. Highly aromatic herbs, such as basil and garlic, are also complementary. When applied as a rub before grilling, these flavors marry with the swordfish's meaty taste and enhance it significantly. If you have time, marinating is always an option. For a simple marinade that will please the kids, choose a flavorful creamy dressing and soak the swordfish overnight in the refrigerator.
Swordfish marries well with acidic, tropical fruits such as papaya, pineapple, mango and kumquat. While sweet, these fruits are also slightly tart. The acids help keep the swordfish tender without overpowering the fish's flavor. Grilling the fruit together with the swordfish caramelizes the sugars in the fruit and brings out the savory aspects of the swordfish. Fruit chutneys and salsas, either raw or cooked, give swordfish an extra facet of flavor. Make a simple mango salsa with diced mango, tomato, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil and ranch seasoning mix.
When looking for veggies to pair with swordfish, think sub-tropical. Tomatoes, spicy peppers and crisp red onions might come together as a raw, spicy salsa to top your fish. Look to the warm Mediterranean region for flavor ideas. Olives, mixed into a red wine-soaked antipasto, give swordfish an international flair. Try kalamata olives, brined olives or black olives for the best flavor combinations.
For some, a meal isn't complete without a touch of starch. Think about starches that can stand up to swordfish and sit next to it as an equal. Combine orzo's dense texture and easily heightened flavor with a few fruits and veggies and a creamy dressing in a side salad, or spoon it over the top of the swordfish itself. Plantains -- denser and more savory than bananas -- give way to a slight sweetness when grilled, fried or mixed with other tropical fruits. For pasta lovers, choose hardy, dense pastas, like penne or mini-shells.
For the Kids
Transform your elegant grilled swordfish into a fun kid-friendly fish taco. While you feast on the steaks, chop the kids' swordfish into smaller pieces. Wrap the swordfish in warm tortillas with shredded lettuce, diced tomato, grated cheese, avocado and creamy ranch dressing.
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