Swordfish is wonderful cooked like this.
In no time at all, you have something satisfying and truly special. It’s good enough for company and a terrific treat for everyone. We ate it all summer in Nantucket while I was growing up. It was simply grilled and spritzed with lemon. But my preferred method now is to blacken it. We coat the fish with a Cajun-inspired seasoning mix then sauté it in butter. I serve it with fresh tomato chutney. The chutney tempers the heat and is the perfect complement to the meaty fish.
Before we start, let’s get the Swordfish/Mercury issue out of the way.
As far back as 2004, there’s been a spirited debate: Should we lay off swordfish because of its mercury content. That controversy coincided with an FDA-issued document. The Agency recommended incorporating fish and shellfish into a healthy diet. It spelled out all the pluses. Seafood is low in saturated fat, high in omega 3s, fatty acids, great for heart health and young children’s growth and development. However, they went on to say that fish with elevated levels of mercury are not recommended for unborn babies, very young children, and nursing mothers. More recently however www.seafoodwatch.org, our go-to source for all things fish, has given its stamp of approval naming swordfish a “Best Buy” if you keep it to 12 oz. a week!
Blackening is something I learned from a Paul Prudhomme cookbook
“Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen” was first published in 1984, When I looked it up on Amazon, it’s available used for .66 cents. This recipe alone is worth far more than that. Normally, I would make my own seasoning, the one provided in the cookbook. It makes a lot of sense to make a big batch of the stuff and have it on hand whenever you want it. However, Chef Paul, who passed away in 2015, kindly provided us with a store-bought version called Blackened Redfish Magic which is part of his Magic Seasoning Blends. I note that Chef Paul’s seasoning is for redfish. I’ve only used this on Swordfish to great applause. To make your own, here’s the recipe. And after it some other Fish recipes you may enjoy.
Blackened Swordfish with Fresh Tomato Chutney
Swordfish 'blackened' with Cajun-inspired seasoning mix then sautéd in butter and served with a fresh tomato chutney that will temper the heat and is the perfect complement to the wonderfully meaty fish.
- For the Blackening Season Mix: 1 tbsp. Paprika
- 2 ½ tsp Salt
- 1 tsp. Onion powder
- 1 tsp. Garlic powder
- 1 tsp. Cayenne pepper
- ¾ tsp. White pepper
- ¾ tsp. Black pepper
- ½ tsp. Dried Thyme leaves
- ½ tsp. Dried Oregano leaves
- To Cook the Swordfish
- 4 tbsp Butter
- For the Fresh Tomato Chutney
- 4 On-the-vine Tomatoes, in large dice.
- 2 Shallots, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- a 2-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 whole cloves
- a 2-inch piece of cinnamon
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. Olive oil.
- Step 1 First, make the Blackening Season Mix
- Step 2 Mix all seasonings together in a bowl.
- Step 3 Place fish on a cutting board and generously coat both sides with the seasoning mix.
- Step 4 Set aside in the refrigerator while you make the tomato chutney.
- Step 5 The contrast between the spice of the fish and the relative sweetness of the chutney is what makes this dish so delicious.
- Step 6 Next, make the Fresh Tomato Chutney: In a skillet, heat the oil and add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Cook briefly.
- Step 7 Then add the shallot, garlic, and ginger and sauté over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.
- Step 8 Add the tomatoes and the brown sugar. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- Step 9 Remove from heat. Remove the bay leaf, the cinnamon stick, and the cloves. Put chutney in a bowl and set aside until you serve it with the swordfish.
- Step 10 Finally, cook the Swordfish
- Step 11 Heat 4 tbsp. of butter in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan until it sizzles and the foam subsides.
- Step 12 Cook swordfish for approximately 4 minutes a side turning only once.
- Step 13 Serve with fresh tomato chutney.
- Step 14 I served this with some grilled potatoes and sautéed spinach. So easy. So good.
- Step 15