swordfish a la pardus
with summer squash carpaccio

August 19th, 2010 · 24 Comments

granted, not my best work with the new camera. but that night i was determined to eat hot food. an oft declared rarity for a food blogger. so instead of a well taken photo to entice you with, let me explain as best i can how to cook swordfish properly, as told to me by michael pardus, chef instructor at the culinary institute of america in hyde park.

you see, for me this is a big deal. for years swordfish had been low on my list of fish to eat, let alone cook. it was always kind of dry and uninteresting – flavorless if you will. and then michael cooked some up one evening and i was forever changed. it was moist, tender and flavorful which somehow in and of itself sounds a bit like an ad for cat food (and i do so wish i could have come up with better words) but believe me when i tell you, that these three words were never more true…

ok, the swordfish. the trick, the secret, the mystery – it’s a complete revelation. and here’s what you do.

you treat the swordfish as though you’re cooking a steak.

just start out with a piece of fish that’s at least an inch thick and let it sit in some olive oil, salt, pepper and whatever else you might be using such as herbs or lemon zest for about 15 minutes. get a good sear on both sides and then move the fish to an indirect heat source, either into the oven if you’re searing stovetop or to a part of the grill with no direct heat beneath it. let the fish cook until it’s about 5 minutes away from being done and take it off the heat and LET IT SIT as you would a ribeye. it will continue to cook, the juices will redistribute and it will be the best piece of swordfish you’ve ever eaten.

*cooks note – this piece of fish was less than an inch but my grill goes to 900 F so i was able to get the sear without overcooking. i think that within reason, the thicker the fish, the better. an inch and a half would be perfect. judging doneness is tricky unless you do it all the time, which i don’t so there’s always some anxiety involved. but if you can cook a steak properly you can do this as long as you know that the flesh of this fish is way more delicate and it will cook faster than a piece of beef.

so now you know.

this fish sat upon a bed of swiss chard simply sauteed with some olive oil and garlic, some salt and pepper – but let’s talk about the yellow squash for a moment shall we? it’s peaking nearly everywhere right about now and THIS is one of the things you must do with it. i got the idea from jennifer at last night’s dinner who got the idea from melissa clark who wrote about it in a magazine that’s going to have to remain nameless because if i typed the celeb’s name, my keyboard would explode in my face. ok?

anyway, jennifer described the dish as follows:

"It’s an extremely simple dish, ribbons of summer squash dressed with a drizzle of olive oil and a spritz of lemon juice, tossed with freshly grated parm and toasted pine nuts – just five simple ingredients, but they come together in perfect harmony. It’s particularly nice when you get a bite of everything together – the flavors and textures play really well together, with crunch and a slight bitterness from the pine nuts, the salty, pebbly parmesan, and the perky lemon dressing all jazzing up the mild, tender squash."

i highly recommend making this. it’s yet another example of the whole being so much greater than the sum of its parts. pine nuts are pricey right now but find them in bulk and just buy a handful. or splurge and just freeze the rest until you make this – again and again.

oh, and one last thing about the swordfish. if you happened to warm some olive oil in a small pan with some capers and anchovies and garlic and red chili flakes and lemon zest and parsley? perhaps even a chunked home fresh tomato from your garden thrown in there too? and drizzled that over the fish before serving?

it would be yum-O!

 

Tags: fish · vegetables

24 responses so far ↓

  • 1 nancy at good food matters // Aug 19, 2010 at 7:14 am

    Yikes! the dreaded Y-Word on ceF!!

    that plank of sword is stunning; I have not even thought about cooking that fish in a Long time–wonderful tip—treat it like steak! got it, and want it with the chunked tomato, too.

  • 2 jim voorhies // Aug 19, 2010 at 7:19 am

    Two links to Rach in a single post? Have you no shame? :)

  • 3 claudia // Aug 19, 2010 at 7:47 am

    nancy – that warm oil bath infused with all the aforementioned, draped across the top of that fish? oh my god…

    jim – none

  • 4 Robert // Aug 19, 2010 at 7:55 am

    The blogshere corrects its recent lean back to level again……

    My ah-ha moment came with a Peterson book on seafood, the world does indeed change.

    Pretty food. This might be the right dish for your pictorial spread in FHM.

  • 5 becky and the beanstock // Aug 19, 2010 at 8:50 am

    I dunno, I’d say you did okay with the camera because that slab of fish sure got me thinking. Thinking things like “I haven’t cooked fish in awhile, any kind of fish, and damn that Claudia has done it again and now I want THAT fish so I guess I’m going to have to get some and do what she says.” I’m no expert on cooking steak of course, but I think I can follow along. As always, nice to see you back in the blogosphere — it’s a happier place with your droll voice.

  • 6 Amy (Minimally Invasive) // Aug 19, 2010 at 11:05 am

    I am too stupid to live. A peek into my brain:

    “It’s lunchtime, but Claudia’s posted again, so let’s see what’s up in her world before running out. Oh, a swordfish tutorial. Oh… amazing-looking swordfish glistening in a warm oil bath that I have absolutely no hope of eating for lunch.”

  • 7 Melissa // Aug 19, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Treat it like a steak. Huh. I will absolutely do that.

    I’m sure your keyboard wouldn’t explode. I actually have one dish that I make of hers, though with ingredients heavily modified, that’s pretty good. And these days there’s ones I loathe far more, so I let her off the hook.

  • 8 Melissa // Aug 19, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Ones I loathe = “chefs” on TV.

  • 9 Heather // Aug 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I love swordfish so much! It’s just so notsustainable. Haven’t had it in years, tragedy.

    But shit, I bet this would be great with albacore.

  • 10 Jennifer Hess // Aug 20, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Oh, Claudia, I have so missed you. The swordfish looks fantastic, and thank you for the shout-out – I have to say this has been an experience, but I’m a bit eager to get back to cooking my own food ;)

    Heather, I’m not sure where you’re located, but in my part of the country, Whole Foods has been sourcing out harpoon-caught swordfish from Nova Scotia that are MSC-certified sustainable (and very tasty, as I’ve cooked it at home on a couple of occasions). As a large fish it’s not something we’ll eat often, but it’s a good choice for occasional indulgence. Cheers!

  • 11 yveala // Aug 21, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    yum-O … hmmm… yes this looks delish and i must agree – swordfish is rarely my choice but your new camera has done a wonderful enough job to convince me to TRY to duplicate..i’ll let you know how it turned out.
    great to see you back!

  • 12 Sally // Aug 22, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Made the squash carpaccio last night for my family. It was perfect next to ricotta manicotti. Yum, oh, ummm, yummm, ohhh, that’s it, oh, yeah! ymmmm, oh, ah, ah, mmmmmmmmmm…

  • 13 Angela@spinachtiger // Aug 22, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Just today I was talking about swordfish. I only ever ate it (many times) at the Quiet Woman in Newport Beach. It was their signature dish and I was reminiscing with a friend. I think they knew your secret. Treat it like a steak. Excellent idea and direction. Claudia, hope you are doing well.

  • 14 indie.tea // Aug 23, 2010 at 4:57 am

    I’m not much of a fish person, so I’ve always liked swordfish…for the reasons you dislike it, it is dry (not slimy) and not very strong. Your preparation of it looks quite delicious.

  • 15 Joseph // Aug 31, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Hmmm i’m not much of a fish person but this sounds pretty good.

  • 16 ruth // Sep 7, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Okay. so I could not find said recipe. wHelpwHelp!! Qwest-ion: is the squash cooked? It looks as if it is ‘grated’ (or whatever the term is for the long strips which come off.blahblah). The squash is cooked (by the looks of it, it is?), isn’t it? There is a flaccidity to it..hmmm. So. Anyone?anyone?

  • 17 Jessica // Sep 10, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    It looks delicious! I’ve eaten swordfish at restaurants both cooked well and not, so I always knew there had to be some trick to it.

    Thanks for the delicious recipes. I don’t know when I’ll do the swordfish, but the squash…it’s set for this weekend. Yum!

  • 18 Jonny // Sep 10, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    the last time I had swordfish, I (like Heather is trying to do above and for the same reasons) was made to feel awfully guilty about it, and, until you mentioned that this delicious-looking dinner was somehow connected to Rachel Ray, I was all for abandoning that guilt and eating endangered fish. Now I hate RR even more.

  • 19 Rita Reyes // Sep 17, 2010 at 7:12 am

    Thanks for the great blog! I love it.

    Rita
    Gourmet Cookies

  • 20 democommie // Sep 20, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Claudia:

    I am glad to see more of your wonderful cooking/commentary. When I heard about the movie, “Eat, pray, love.” I was hoping it wasn’t an adaptation (or ripoff) of your stuff.

    I had swordfish when I was in my mid-twenties and then never ate it again until I was about fifty. I would eat it more often but getting good, fresh fish here is not so much impossible as impossibly expensive.

    That dish looks WAY better than “Yum-O”;)

    Cheers.

  • 21 democommie // Sep 20, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Meant to add that the SSC looked really delicious. I have pine nuts, asiago (that’s bone dry gratable) and I’ll go get some squash and try that tomorrow.

    I also meant to put my correct e-mail address, but that sorta thing happens a lot when I type while thinking about food!

  • 22 Rita Reyes // Sep 27, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I love sword fish and squash! Congratulations on making one of the top blogs!

    Rita
    Great Gifts

  • 23 Mary // Oct 3, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Just found your blog and so happy I did!

    This sounds great! I can’t wait to keep browsing :)

    Thanks for sharing!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

  • 24 Karen Schuld // Oct 24, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    your recipes look so yummy!

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