[100] Broiled Swordfish Steak

How to Cook Everything, Revised Edition by Mark Bittman

It seems only fitting that a “milestone post”, my 100th recipe for this challenge, should incorporate a variety of the things I think about while working on this blog.

For starters, and most importantly, Mr. Bill. He picked out this swordfish months ago (no joke) when we were at Whole Foods. I had never had swordfish before, while Bill had when he was younger. He’d loved it, but figured he’d never have it again because he figured it’d never be a sustainable fish to eat. To see harpoon-caught swordfish in Whole Foods, marked as sustainably harvested, blew his mind. Enough so that we pulled up “Seafood Watch”:http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/SeafoodWatch/web/sfw_search.aspx?s=swordfish on my phone to see what it said. He was stunned, but pleased to see that they agreed.

Sustainability, of course, and what that means, is another big topic that I think about (and occasionally write about) when working on this blog. It’s a sticky topic that I don’t have a good handle on, but one I’m also interested in and concerned with. So, it’s definitely exciting to see a favorite fish actually be deemed a good choice by a third party (in this case, Monterrey Bay Aquarium), but it leaves me wondering. That fish had to be brought to me via refrigerated cargo shipping (plane, train, truck, something, since it’s clearly not locally-caught), which I suspect is pretty energy intense. That fish is a high-level predator, of which there are always fewer than lower levels on the food chain; this portion is a big part of why Bill figured he’d never see it considered a “safe eat”. That said, fish is tasty, healthful (I’m told), and a dude with a harpoon may screw up, but he’s going to have a lot less by-catch than a net. In theory, this scales up to a bunch of guys with a bunch of harpoons.

Those are some of the BIG issues that come into play when I go to plan my menu, go shopping for my menu, cook or sit down to write a post. There are little issues too. Issues like, “Damn, I don’t feel like cooking tonight” or “I cannot focus on my writing long enough to type ‘hello’, much less get a whole post out!”

Or, in the case of the swordfish, “Where the hell did I put that recipe??”

See, we bought a LOT of swordfish, back when it was in season (along the time of zucchini season), and I picked up a recipe from the seafood counter at the same time. It involved swordfish, barley and zucchini and made Bill and I both drool. My intent for the first batch of swordfish was to make that recipe, even though it wasn’t going to count for the challenge.

I’ve lost and found it about three times. This most recent loss, though, seems to be permanent. I cannot find that piece of paper anywhere. For cooking in January, that’s okay. I’m probably not making a lot of zucchini-based dishes right now. However, at some point I’d like to try again. Probably with fish I buy then, but even so.

So, I ended up going with my old faithful. The book that, at this point, is starting to show some serious use. The book that, at this point, is amazingly unscathed for all the cooking out of it I’ve been doing. So far, it’s only seen some bent pages, some splatters and some minor water damage. The book that, at this point, I’m probably going to marry.

Yep, we’re back to How to Cook Everything. And I’m going to, once again, suggest that if you don’t have it you should buy it. Especially if you’re not a great cook but you enjoy the process, you’ve just gotten a new, hot steady, and you’re about to have some disposable income increase in the next few months.

Even if you’re not that person I really just randomly made up, if you don’t have this book, you should get it. But don’t marry it, because you have a new steady.h2. Ingredients

2 1” thick swordfish steaks, ~1 ½ lbs
juice of one lime

2 tbsp soy sauce

lemon or lime wedges

h2. Instructions

Heat a charcoal or gas grill or the broiler until quite hot & put the rack fairly close to the heat, 3 – 4” at the most. Soak the steaks in a mixture of the lime juice & soy sauce for 15 – 30 minutes, if desired.

Grill or broil the fish, brushing once or twice w/the soy-lime mixture. After 4 min the fish should be nicely browned; turn it. 3 min later, check for doneness by inserting a thin-bladed knife; when the knife meets little resistance and just a touch of translucence remains, the swordfish is done. Serve immediately, with lime or lemon wedges.

h2. Cooking and Consumption Notes

h3. Cooking

Okay, today’s post is mostly the lead-in to the recipe. One, I hope that stuff is interesting to you and two, there’s just not a lot to be said for the cooking.

Marinate. Broil. Don’t over-marinate, because it can negatively impact the fish’s texture (or so I’m told). Don’t overbroil, because burned fish tastes bad and makes your house smell worse. True fact.

h3. Consumption

Oooh, I did fail to mention one tiny “cooking” detail above. Of course, it’s because I didn’t realize I’d screwed it up until Bill and I sat down to eat.

Don’t cook the swordfish until it’s fully defrosted.

Seriously, I thought it was! Our fridge is clearly too cold, because nothing defrosts in just a day. I know this, but rarely remember to start defrosting something more than a day out, so I always end up finishing the defrosting in a cold water bath with a small amount of running water. There’s a lot of poking and squeezing at the meat to see if it’s fully defrosted. And, unfortunately, in this case, I misjudged.

So what felt like “resistance” and looked like “translucence” was simply “oddly cold fish”. It wasn’t still frozen in the center by the time we sat down to eat (a hot broiler will do that), but it was weirdly lukewarm compared to the outside.

It wasn’t good. It was bad. Honestly, actively bad.

However, it was also late and we were also hungry. Bill swore to me it wasn’t terrible, and I appreciate that. He also repeatedly said that he was just glad to come home and have dinner already going.

But we ate a lot of salad. The salad that’s next to the deceptively pretty swordfish in this photo.

Let this be a warning to you. Defrost thoroughly or be disappointed in your dinner!