Swordfish reels in the picky eater

Lime-juice marinade lends a touch of tart to mild seafood

Go Entertain

June 03, 2006|By BETTY ROSBOTTOM | BETTY ROSBOTTOM,TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICE

My husband never met a steak he didn't like, but when it comes to fish, he falls into the picky-eaters category. When we were first married, I discovered that his curiosity was limited to shrimp and fried catfish - both staples of the South, where he grew up. But over the years I've introduced him to all manner of fish and seafood. What I've learned is that he likes just about any fish, as long as it has bold, vibrant flavorings.

A perfect example of the type of seafood dish he now adores is Grilled Swordfish With Fresh Corn Salsa. It also happens to be the dish I've chosen to anchor an early-summer dinner party. Swordfish is mild in flavor but in this version, I marinate it in lime juice and olive oil to add a slightly tart note, then I grill it to add smokiness. But it is the colorful corn salsa, which is quick to assemble, that makes this dish a winner.

My friend Matt Sunderland, a talented chef who often teaches cooking classes with me, created this delectable condiment. It is prepared with fresh corn kernels, which are sauteed for several minutes until lightly browned, then combined with chopped red onion and diced red bell pepper and tomatoes. Cumin, lime juice, hot red pepper flakes and cilantro round out the seasonings.

The salsa can be prepared early in the day and the fish marinated 45 minutes or up to 3 hours in advance. Grilling the swordfish, which usually takes under 10 minutes, is all that is necessary at serving time.

For my dinner, I'm planning to serve the fish with asparagus or sugar-snap peas along with couscous sprinkled with fresh chives. For dessert, I'll bake a blueberry tart. If you don't have time to turn out a confection, a purchased fruit pie would work fine.

Betty Rosbottom writes for Tribune Media Services. Recipes analysis calculated by registered dietitian Jodie Shield.

Grilled swordfish With Fresh Corn Salsa

Serves 6

Fresh Corn Salsa (recipe follows)

6 (7- to 8-ounce) swordfish steaks, 3/4 - to 1-inch thick

1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for oiling grill rack

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare Fresh Corn Salsa and set aside. Place swordfish steaks in a shallow, nonreactive dish. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grindings of pepper and pour over the swordfish. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes or up to 3 hours, turning once or twice.

Oil a grill rack and arrange it 4 to 5 inches from heat source. Prepare grill for a hot fire (high temperature). Sprinkle fish with salt and grill until firm and golden grill marks appear on underside, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and cook until flesh is opaque all the way through but still flaky, 2 to 5 minutes more. Steaks 1/2 -inch thick will need about 2 to 3 minutes per side; 3/4 -inch cuts will take longer. Do not overcook or fish will be dry. Divide salsa evenly and mound on each of the fillets.

Early-Summer Dinner Menu

Asparagus or sugar-snap peas

Couscous with fresh chives

Grilled swordfish with fresh corn salsa

Blueberry tart

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