Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grilled Swordfish with Lemon, Basil, Caper Butter

At this point in the summer, you might have grown tired of the standard salmon on the grill.  Even with variations such as a cedar plank or the very yummy, rosemary-mustard brown sugar glaze, it's time for something else.  We need another tasty ocean creature to throw on the grill, so...enter the swordfish.  It's healthy, sustainable, yet it's not super cheap- cause you of course are going to your fishmonger for some fresh, good stuff.  If you're thinking of defrosting some shit from a cardboard box, throw out your grill and go to the nearest Long John Silver's.  Swordfish is a firm fish with a mild to medium flavor that can be simply grilled and livened up with a flavored butter- the lemon and basil scream summer, the capers bring a briny, oceany, tangy profile for your enjoyment.  Fresh basil and good quality capers are important, just like any other recipe with so few ingredients, the quality of the ingredients (uh, see quote at right) will usually determine the outcome. 
If you ever desire a quick way to boost the flavor for a grilled steak, a piece of chicken or some sea or lake food, a compound butter is what you need.  Even Rach could do this, and she would carry all the ingredients from the fridge at once!  That's pure talent.  But seriously, it's quick and easy.  Like mashing some with roasted garlic to add to a baked potato.  Or mixed with a crumbles of Gorgonzola with cracked black peppercorns atop a grilled ribeye steak.

Here's one of my favorite food people discussing compound butter

Grilled Swordfish wth Lemon, Basil, Caper Butter
2 servings

3 TB butter, unsalted, softened
1 TB chopped fresh basil
1 ts brined capers, chopped
1 ts lemon juice
2 swordfish steaks, about 6 oz, 1" thick
reserved lemon wedge

Preheat the outdoor cooker or an indoor grill pan to just under high.  In a small bowl, combine the butter, basil, and drained chopped capers with a fork.  Whisk in 1/2 the lemon juice (that's a half ts, for those in the accelerated mathematics program) and then chill in the fridge while denaturing the protein over heat. 

With your fish at room temperature, coat with the remaining lemon juice, EVOO and season with S&P.  Cook over high heat until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.  Watch carefully to avoid flareups, have that spray bottle of clean water handy.  If you want the fancy crosshatch grill marks, shift 45 degrees after two minutes on each side, I usually don't bother.  Let rest for 5 minutes, then add a generous serving of the flavored butter.  Give a good squeeze of the lemon, suggestions are to serve this with a salad, some rice, another starch, whateva you want- I went with some fresh veggies slathered in a homemade vinaigrette. And some vino, you bet. 

This is the type of meal to have a glass of wine with.  A Pinot Gris from Oregon? Of course I would.  A Pinot Blanc? Okay.  Chardonnay? Yes. I'd go for a good Chardonnay to pair with this swordfish. Don't be afraid to enjoy Chardonnay, it's okay to do so, even in public.  I see more and more on restaurant wine lists, and it's not just the really good French stuff.  Lately I've enjoyed a grocery-store staple, Robert Mondavi, to a vintage from the stellar California vineyard, Bogle- both under $15.  Americans have turned up their noses to Chardonnay for the past decade or so, but it's certainly gaining some ground back with newer styles to entice wine drinkers.  I hope Pinot Grigio is the next to fade, most of it is just so similar tasting and lacking in anything but a one-note flavor. 

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