I lucked into some reasonably locally sourced swordfish, and decided to buy it. I haven’t eaten this particular fish for well over 15 or 20 years, but hey.
It is a large fish, so it is a mercury accumulator, so do keep that in mind. Also, once it is caught, its flesh turns rapidly into production of ammonia (as does shark and a couple other fishes I can think of). So cook the day you buy, and make sure you buy it FRESH or don’t bother.
The main focus of this recipe is the topping, and that it interplayed nicely with the fish. It turned out well, I think.
And so, the recipe below would work with a variety of other firm or solid-fleshed fishes, I think. Cod, for instance. Probably even shark, although I am so turned off from bad ammonia experiences with shark that I am unlikely to buy that ever again.
Thinking of the fruit in this, I was reminded of chutney, and so I dipped into my Indian spices to supplement the topping for the fish. This isn’t exactly going to be a chutney, but I bow my head in that direction.
Three or four servings, depending on your sides. (May I suggest steamed broccolini?)
For the fish:
Approximately 1 pound swordfish (or other)
1 tablespoon or so of either: coconut aminos, soy aminos or soy sauce (I’d opt for gluten-free)
Ground pepper to taste (I used the Trader Joe’s Rainbow peppercorns, which comes in its own nifty grinder).
For the topping:
About 1/2 teaspoon ghee (or butter, or olive oil).
1 shallot or very small onion, peeled and diced.
1/2 to a whole Asian (apple) pear. Cored. If you want to peel it, fine, but I did not. (I was going to use a whole pear but there was at least a quarter I cut out due to a big bad spot). Coarsely chop. You can always sub in an apple or another variety of pear, of course.
1/2 standard cucumber, peeled and diced.
1/4 -1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 slice (or more!) of lemon (that’s what I had to hand without slicing into a fresh lemon)
Fresh dill, the more the merrier.
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Ground pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
In a skillet:
Melt the ghee at medium heat, add the onion and ginger. Let the onion carmelize a little, using a spatula to keep anything from burning. Once carmelized add all the topping ingredients except the lemon and the dill.
While mixing these around, put the fish in a baking pan (along with the aminos and pepper) and place in the aforementioned oven.
The fish will need between 15 – 20 minutes of cooking time (assuming it is swordfish, which is fairly dense) depending on thickness. The topping will need about 20 minutes at medium-low heat — and you will need to be attentive to stir it so it cooks through. Adjust temperature as needed for the consistency you want.
When you think the fish is about ready, load the dill into the topping, and mix some more. Over-cooking fresh dill can sometimes dilute its effect.
To serve: pull out the fish, squeeze the lemon over it, let it rest a moment or two, then top it with the topping material!
I came up with the Indian seasonings for this due to the fact that the pear sounded almost like this could turn into a chutney, and I did have an Asian pear that was crying out to be used; or else re-fused into the compost pile, if I didn’t attend to it soonest. The topping does turn out chutney-like, but if you want to make it a more true chutney, you should probably start cooking it earlier on than I did. Maybe let it cook about 40 minutes. But that being said, I liked the mildly-soft, mildly-almost-crunchy results of the final preparation, and so I am posting it as I did this.
As a note, this preparation would overwhelm a truly delicately flavored fish. And I think the seasonings for something like salmon would go off into entirely different directions.