Meat, seafood, veggies and chicken. They’re all on the list for Grilling Month here on FoodieCrush. Last week I introduced you to this grilled pork chop, topped with grilled spicy balsamic peaches—huzzah! Week two is a chat about grilled fish.
The subject of fish couldn’t come at a more appropriate time because I’m in Cordova, Alaska on a tour of all things Copper River Salmon. I’m betting the farm that I’ll leave here with a belly-full of fish and some serious casting skills. Or fish eating skills. Either way, it all works because it’s Alaska after all.
Before I left for this trip, I prepped myself for some serious fish eating by whetting my fishy whistle with a perfectly grilled piece of swordfish. It was bathed in spicy and smokey paprika flavored butter. With rosemary. And a fresh fruit salsa. The combination of flavors, savory and sweet, all played perfectly into my fish eating plans.
Especially when my man helmed the wheel at the grill. With the help of our four legged sous chef who never misses a drop.
Grilling fish isn’t always an easy task, but my husband has become somewhat a master of his grilling domain thanks to a few rules that can either guarantee success or create a fish grilling challenge. I say let’s go straight to the front of the line and hit the success button and follow a few simple rules. It’s just so much easier to be a winner, don’t you think?
Choosing the right fish.
Thanks to its firm body, swordfish is an outstanding fish to cook on the grill. Salmon, tuna and halibut will also turn out a fine grilled specimen. More delicate fish like sole, trout and catfish are better left for indoor cooking in the cast iron fry pan.
Look for fresh fish that are bright in color and firm to the touch. It should actually look juicy. If you notice the fish meat separating from itself or discoloring, pass it on by. If you can’t find fresh fish, flash frozen fish from an upscale fish market can be just as high of quality as that which is flown in fresh at higher prices.
Flavoring the fish.
Marinade for a fish? It really isn’t needed. Heavy sauces can inundate and overwhelm the texture of fish and break down the fibers turning it into mush. Fish’s texture is far from that of a flank steak. So while you may be tempted to toss your swordfish in a teriyaki marinade and put in the fridge for an hour or so, I suggest you think twice. If you have a good piece of fish, a simple sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper is really all that’s needed before it hits the grill.
I prefer to add the flavoring as the fish cooks on the grill. Basting the outside of the fish—like with this smoked paprika flavored butter—adds flavor and moisture to the fish, and if done correctly, will add to the crispness of the exterior rather than mush it all up like a marinade would.
Grilling the fish.
Last week I told you about our farewell to our old grill and hello to our new Saber grill when I debuted grilling month with these grilled pork chops. They could be the best meat to hit our outdoor table in years. Until this swordfish hit the plates.
One big reason we’re having such success is indeed the new grill because we’re still following our old rules. One big reason is that Saber Grills uses a patented infrared technology that heats the grill to over 700 degrees, so now our grilled fish has a great sear on the outside while keeping in those tender and delicious juices on the inside. It’s a perfect combination for a delicious grilled fish.
Preheating the grill so the grates are nice and hot will produce the best sear and grill marks. I lightly oil my fish with olive oil, but also oil the grates with paper towels dipped in a bit of grapeseed oil or another high heat bearing oil with a low smoking point to ensure the fish doesn’t stick to the grates.
You only need to flip the fish once, and with a bit of basting your fish will yield a fabulous, juicy tang. With Saber Grill’s infrared cooking, the fish gathers a smoky taste once it’s juices meet the hot grill racks and the drips of moisture instantly turn into a steamy smoke that adds the classic grilled flavor.
Once the fish is set on the grill, don’t move it until you’re ready to flip it, and never press down on it with your spatula or turner. That move spells D-R-Y as you’ll be pushing all of the moisture out of the fish.
Grilled Swordfish with Smoked Paprika and Herbed Fruit Salsa
For the fish:
- 1 pound swordfish steak
- extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter or 1/2 stick
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 4 rosemary sprigs tied together with kitchen twine
For the salsa:
- 1/2 cup pineapple diced
- 1/4 cup cantaloupe diced
- 1/8 cup red onion minced
- 1/2 avocado diced
- 1 1/2 jalapeño minced
- 1/2 lime juiced
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 tablespoon mint chopped
- 1 tablespoon rosemary minced
- kosher salt
For the salsa, mix the fruit, jalapeño, lime and herbs in small bowl and season with kosher salt to taste. Add more lime juice if desired and refrigerate.
Rinse the swordfish and pat dry with paper towels. Lightly oil with olive oil and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Preheat the grill to medium high for 10-15 minutes. Melt the butter in a small pan or dish and whisk in the smoked paprika with the rosemary sprigs. Place the swordfish steak on the grill and use the rosemary sprigs to brush on the smoked paprika butter. Lay the rosemary sprigs on top of the fish as it cooks. Remove the rosemary sprigs and turn the fish after 4-5 minutes or when grill marks appear. Baste the other side of the fish with the smoked paprika butter and rosemary sprigs, lower the temperature to medium and close the grill lid. Cook for another 4-5 minutes or until the fish is opaque in center.
Remove from grill and cut the swordfish steak in half. Baste with additional smoked paprika butter and serve with fruit salsa.
Next week we’ll be talking veggies on the grill that go well beyond the boring kabob.
This post is in partnership with Saber Grills. As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. This post contains affiliate links. As always, all opinions are my own.