Sunday, April 6, 2014

Grilled Swordfish With Orange Lime Pesto

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The bad news is the kitchen is not finished.  It actually is, but they have to tear down the back splash and start all over again.  It seems the guys who put it up learned their technique in Kindergarten.  The good news is that I had saved this recipe in case things did not go according to plan.  So here we are...

Swordfish ranks up there with lobster, halibut and crab meat as far as the best of "luxury" seafood is concerned.  It wasn't always that way.  When I was a young girl, swordfish was plentiful and relatively inexpensive.  So was sole.  Both frequently appeared on my plate when Madame Mere decided I should be on a diet.  I got to hate sole but never swordfish.  It was meatier and stayed in my tummy far longer than the more delicate sole.  Who would have thought these two would one day be on my favorite's list and more expensive than steak!

Luckily, there are a couple of excellent chop houses here in Atlanta that serve very good meat and very fresh seafood.   Whenever we go and there is swordfish on the menu, I don't look any further.  What we get at the supermarket is not the swordfish I remember from my days in Connecticut.  Then, swordfish steaks were so big two people could eat out of one.  Now, they are babies!

In the early 1980's, when I was a young stockbroker at Merrill Lynch in Greenwich, Connecticut, my Quotron* buddy was the quintessential preppy and grill master par excellence.  I can't remember if he was from Nantucket, had a house there or just visited often.  In the late afternoon when things slowed down a bit, we would talk about cooking and dinner plans.  He was the one who taught me how to prepare swordfish this way.  After I tried it, I never cooked it any other way.  His method was simple:  Mix dill weed in mayonnaise and rub it all over the fish. It browned the outside and kept it really moist inside.  You would have never thought the steaks had been rubbed with mayonnaise!

Prepare the grill until it's hot and cook the fish about five minutes on each side, depending how thick the steaks are. Watch the side of the fish.  You will see clearly when the whole thing is done.  Look how juicy they come out.

The recipe below is a variation of the way it is cooked above.  After thirty two years I thought it was time to play with the original but not discard it.

As long as I live, I will always think of swordfish together with Summer, grilling, Connecticut and my friend Lang from Merrill Lynch. Thank you, buddy!

*A Quotron was the old machine we used to get stock quotes.  When I started in 1977 each machine was shared by four brokers.  We also had a ticker tape along the front of the  boardroom, where brokers sat in rows separated by these monstrosities.   By the time of this story (five years later!) the machines were shared by only two brokers.   It was still a war zone and a LONG time before each broker had his/her own computer at the desk.  (We also sent our orders via pneumatic tubes to a wire clerk in the back room!)  I am really dating myself.

Grilled Swordfish With Orange Lime Pesto
Serves 2

2 Swordfish steaks about 1 1/2 lbs total

Orange Lime Pesto:

2 Tbs. Mayonnaise
2 tsp.  Pesto
1 tsp. Lime rind, finely grated
1 tsp. Orange rind, finely grated

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the orange lime pesto ingredients in a bowl.  Rub a little over the steaks, both sides.  Set aside.  Preheat your grill to high.  Cook the steaks about 5 minutes on each side or until they are done.

Dollop half of the remaining pesto on top of each swordfish steak or serve on the side.

Recipe and photos Lindaraxa


  1. What a fun read about your life with ML and discovering a swordfish recipe from a fellow worker. As a southerner, I had never tasted swordfish until I met my Yankee husband. I instantly fell in love with it, only for it to be no longer sold in Texas during the seventies. I can't remember why it wasn't available, but it didn't seem fair just as I discovered it. Rubbing fish with mayonnaise didn't surprise me as Bahamians often do that to grouper. Your presentation is gorgeous.

    I hope you will be back in your kitchen soon. It must be frustrating. We did some remodeling a couple of years ago and requested heavy crown molding. No problem the contractor said. When he was putting it up my husband happened to see him studying a book on how to install it, so I completely sympathize with your tile guys skills. We called it OTJ training ;)

  2. Lost the last comment I made.

    This sounds delicious Julieta, will try it if I can find some decent Swordfish!

    I had some work done in my kitchen this winter and it is still unfinished. All the major stuff is done but the finishing touches ......still waiting.

  3. I love swordfish, any and all ways! Oh, I will definitely try this one; but, of course, I need THE sous-chef to help me!!! The only downside to ordering it in restaurants is that it can be dry: maybe order it "rare"?
    It was lovely lovely talking yesterday!


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