Grilled Swordfish with Parsley Herb Salad

French Friday’s with Dorie –

Grilled Swordfish with Parsley Herb Salad

Dinner Special!

This Grilled Swordfish with Parsley Herb Salad (prepared and presented here as part of our French Friday’s with Dorie project) is exactly the type of dish I seek out to add to our weeknight menu planner. The preparation has all of the simple panache of a restaurant entrée but with enough ease of preparation to allow you to get on the table in mere minutes.

If swordfish weren’t so damn expensive I would say it was perfect Monday through Friday fare. Unfortunately, the rising food prices of desirable foods such as grilled swordfish is what keeps me trotting off to work each morning, Monday through Friday, so I can continue to enjoy them.

When I see grilled swordfish these days on the menu  it gives me something of a “vintage food” vibe (although perhaps not quite as ‘vintage’ our recent Retro-tastic ™ Pie Plate Salad.) I recall the days when a thick cut of swordfish steak wasn’t the extravagance it is today and, in fact, it was as inexpensive as it was ubiquitous on restaurant menus. Here in Southern California the ideal cut had it served as a baseball sized, thick chunk (think steakhouse style filet mignon) and not as the budget conscious slices preferred by more conservation-minded (and sensible) Europeans.

A good, fresh swordfish needs very little help. All that is really needed is a light oiling and dusting of herbs before grilling or, even better, a light lemon-y herbed marinade soak, especially if the cut is at all thick. Back-in-the-day restaurant menus would frequently feature swordfish topped with copious amounts of chunky, fruity, cilantro-y, “haute cuisine” salsa mixtures that would all but take over the plate and palate. (I worked at one restaurant in the early eighties that claimed it was “famous” for its “Swordfish Veracruz”. As good as it was (and it was!) there was no ability to actually taste the fish itself. We were all sure chef had gleaned it from the many Old El Paso Recipes he must have found featured on the back of salsa jars or Cracker Barrel cheddar cheese wrappers. See “vintage cooking“.)

Grilled Swordfish with Parsley Herb Salad

The fish shines here with a perfect amount of flavoring and ‘sauce’ and never once gets too aggressive or threatening. Rosemary, lemons, capers, piment d’espelette, olive oil and that’s it. Marinate a couple hours or all day if you can but 30 minutes is a minimum. Dorie’s has a winner here with this easy grilled swordfish preparation.

Mediterranean Swordfish with Parsley Herb Salad

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 14 minutes

Yield: 4Servings

Mediterranean Swordfish with Parsley Herb Salad

Original Recipe found here at The Orange County Register

This is what you will need:

  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • About 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 4 teaspoons caper juice (from the jar)
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons for sautéing, divided use
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Big pinch of piment d'Espelette or dried red pepper flakes
  • Teensy pinch of sugar
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, divided use
  • 4 swordfish steaks, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, about 5 ounces each. Larger cuts can be easily cut after cooking however
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves (from 1 big bunch parsley)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed mixed fresh herb leaves, such as oregano, marjoram, tarragon (just a little), thyme (also just a little) and chervil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

This is how you make it:

  1. Whisk all ingredients for fish except the 2 teaspoons rosemary and the fish in a nonreactive, 9-by-13-inch baking dish where the steaks can be laid down in a single layer. Similarly you can put them in a Zip-lock plastic bag and shake them around to mix. Put fish in pan (or bag) and turn it so that it is well coated with marinade. Cover with plastic or seal in bag and marinate, turning it a couple of times for a minimum of 30 minutes at room temperature. (Fish can marinate up to 4-8 hours in the refrigerator but bring to room temperature before proceeding.)
  2. Make the salad by toss all herbs together in a bowl. Dress the salad with the lemon juice and oil just before serving.
  3. Heat outdoor grill or grill pan to medium high and prepare grates for grilling.
  4. Remove fish from marinade and scrape any ingredients that have stuck to the fish back into the marinade; reserve marinade. Using paper towels, lightly pat fish dry.
  5. When the grill is hot and lightly oiled, put fish on the grates to sear. Cook for 3-4 minutes depending on thickness and then carefully turn fish and cook for 3-4 more minutes on other side. You want the fish to be opaque in the center – swordfish is not one of those fish best served rare. Make a small cut in the center of the fish to check for doneness; depending on the thickness of your fish, you many need to cook it a little longer. Transfer fish to a platter and cover loosely.
  6. Heat the reserved marinade in a microwave oven or in a small saucepan over medium heat until it's hot but not boiling. Drizzle it over swordfish and sprinkle with the reserved 2 teaspoons minced rosemary. Top each piece of fish with a little mound of salad. Or vice-verse.


On another exciting note, I’m still on cloud nine since learning that Sis Boom Blog walked off with Best of Show at the 2013 Orange County Fair this year. I haven’t yet been ‘on site’ but my spies were nice enough check out the judges display of the category winners and then send me pictures and tweets to share with me the good news. I am particularly proud that the Coeur à la Crème post (also for French Friday’s with Dorie) won for the Blog Post: Memoir or Personal Story category because, well, that is what I try to do here. Mostly.


OC Fair notificaiton 2

I imagine this is how Moses felt:

dorie tweet


This Grilled Swordfish with Parsley Herb Salad  was an assignment for French Friday’s with Dorie, a cooking group working its way through Dorie Greenspan’s culinary tome “Around My French Table”. We generally avoid including the recipes in our posts. However, wherever there has been a significant adaptation by me or where the recipe has already been publicly posted by Ms. Greenspan or her publishers or by hundreds of other bloggers I will either include it here (only when adapted) or provide a direct link to it. Please feel free to contact me via the link provided on my page if you need any assistance finding a French Friday with Dorie Recipe. You should buy the book though.

It will change your life as it has mine.


About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don’t know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]” means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small ‘boom’ in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a “food blog” or even myself a “food blogger”.

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  1. Congratulations, Trevor. Both posts are excellent and you were most deserving to win the top spots in both categories. Placing second to you was quite an honor knowing your writing, story telling and photography skills. You are a triple threat, as they say in the biz, as the Best of Show represents. I’ll always be in amazement how the OC Fair and our competing blogs has led to a beautiful friendship.

  2. Congratulations on the win! AND the Dorie tweet 😉 This swordfish + salad looks pretty tasty. I don’t cook swordfish that often because of the cost. But I do like to treat myself every once in a while.

  3. I am not surprised at all that you won. I wish you had the time to write more. You are very talented. (remember I was a high school English teacher my opinion carries weight) I think you could be the David Sedaris of food blogging if you set your mind to it… I’m just so glad I get to LOL (literally) over your posts… So glad that you are with us.

  4. First, congratulations on your wins at the County Fair. You deserve it! You must be positively thrilled, and to hear from Dorie Greenspan is a real treat. How nice of her!

    I love the fairs. I used to enter the LA County Fair, and I had a ball. Let’s see those ribbons! I recall that they were displayed during the fair’s run and after its closing, mailed to the winners. Does the Orange County Fair handle their awards in the same manner?

    What a beautiful and very classy dish. Nice job. I’m with you on the price of swordfish. It is prohibitive. I actually do not eat fish, but when I look for it for a treat for Bart or for guests, I just flip at the cost of swordfish. It looks like you did a great job with it.


  5. Congrats Trevor – well deserved 🙂 Loving the new site, by the way, congrats on that too 🙂 Oh, and nice swordfish!

  6. Skipped this one but yours turned out great!

  7. Congrats all the way around. Well deserved.

    Swordfish and “salsa” – how could I have forgotten that? Although, if I had to relive a dish from “days of old”, I would far prefer the swordfish over any thing out of a Jell-o mold…

  8. First off, congratulations on your prize! It doesn’t surprise me in the least that you would win..your blog is interesting, beautiful and fun! I like the new setup. I’ve been wanting to make a change myself and you are giving me inspiration. The swordfish looks great. I remember when it was a staple. My aunt and uncle went out to eat every Friday night and she always ordered swordfish. I had angst over the swordfish (yes I said angst over the fish) this week but pressed on and was glad I did. I hope you will be at the September conference and willing to share your photo secrets with us!!!

  9. Congrats on the big win and shout of from Dorie G!

    Also, swordfish … haven’t had it in soooo long. Now I’m gonna start checking the prices here in Philly. I love a fish with minimal prep, and yah, what’s up with these huge softball portions of it stateside?

  10. Félicitations. I certainly remember that Post, Trevor, and can see why the judges agree with all of us at FFWD that your Blog and particularly that Posting deserves the Best of Show award. It’s nice that Dorie noted your Win because it is a win for her also. I also enjoyed this week’s fare – the swordfish. I understand that in the Fall it is priced a bit lower but, like Sea Bass, it’s an expensive fillet. Your description in the first paragraphs is perfect and how I felt about this recipe. Simple. Elegant. Less is more. Still am loving your new graphics.

  11. I loved the swordfish too. Yours looks perfect! Congratulations on the win – you deserve it!

  12. Congratulations, you have done a wonderful job and certainly deserve it. Great swordfish too, we loved this one.
    I remember having swordfish, way back when, as blackened swordfish and it was quite the thing then. Have a great weekend.

  13. I am so proud to be friends with the Queen of the Fair!!! Much deserved wins, I have zero doubt. Lovely presentation on your swordfish dish …I will definitely make this. But I can’t help but wonder how it would taste if you substituted filet mignon for the fish, a peppercorn sauce for the marinade and a potato puree for the salad? Probably pretty darn good.

  14. Congrats on so many levels, Trevor! Your swordfish looks perfect!

  15. Congrats on the your Best of Show win…I think you’re always best of show! Your personality comes through in every post, and that’s what makes them so much fun to read. So nice that Dorie noted your win…a double winner!

    Your swordfish looks scrumptious!

  16. Another win? I’m not surprised. I remember that post because you and I weren’t so different at 25. I’ve got an evil doctor in my past too. GREG

  17. Congratulations. You’re an outstanding writer and I had no idea (only having recently been introduced to your blog) that you’re an OC guy. Mes plaudits, monsieur. Chapeau !