Grilled Swordfish with Carrot-and-Walnut Salsa

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Drenched in a flavorful kombu marinade, these swordfish steaks are beautifully complemented by a slightly spicy gremolata-inspired salsa with roasted walnuts and Calabrian chiles.

Simple, easy, and scrumptious – that’s the motto for summer cooking, and grilled fish certainly lives up to it. For 2013 F&W Best New Chef Jason Vincent, the summer of 2021 marked the post-pandemic reopening of his Chicago restaurant, Giant, and the introduction of this delightful dish. After months of uncertainty, the combination of sake-marinated swordfish, grilled to perfection and served with a zesty salsa, brought a sense of comfort and simplicity. The swordfish was so well-loved that it has become a year-round menu staple. “It’s pretty tough to look at the finished plate and not think, ‘That’s summer,'” Vincent says.

The mild swordfish is immersed in a kombu marinade and enhanced by a tangy salsa featuring toasted coriander, makrut lime leaves, and spicy cilantro. Achieving the salsa’s moderately crunchy texture is all about hand-chopping the nuts with a sharp, heavy-handled knife, which helps maintain their integrity. Don’t forget to secure your cutting board with a damp kitchen towel or paper towel underneath to keep it steady while you chop.

Active Time: 1 hrs 30 mins | Total Time: 1 hrs 50 mins | Servings: 4 servings


Marinated Swordfish

  • 1 (5- x 6-inch) kombu sheet
  • 1 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing and drizzling
  • 1/3 cup sake
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 4 (10-ounce) skin-on swordfish steaks (1 to 1 1/2 inches thick)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Carrot-and-Walnut Salsa

  • 4 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 3 makrut lime leaves
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups chopped fresh cilantro, plus whole cilantro leaves, for serving
  • 1 cup unsalted toasted walnuts, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest plus 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons jarred chopped Calabrian chiles
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • Lime wedges, for serving


Marinate the swordfish

  1. Bring a small saucepan filled with water to a boil over high. Stir in kombu. Remove from heat; let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain and chop the kombu into 1/2-inch pieces. Whisk together olive oil, sake, lemon zest, and chopped kombu in a medium bowl. Sprinkle swordfish on all sides with salt; place in a shallow dish. Pour marinade over the fish. (Fish should be mostly submerged.) Cover tightly with plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 18 hours.

Make the carrot-and-walnut salsa

  1. Toast coriander seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium, stirring often, until fragrant and slightly darkened, about 2 minutes. Remove from skillet, and set aside. In the same skillet, toast lime leaves over medium, flipping occasionally, until leaves are fragrant and begin to curl up and darken for 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside, and let cool, for about 2 minutes. (Leaves will crisp as they cool.) Tear out the center veins of leaves, and discard; set leaves aside.
  2. Crush garlic and salt together into a smooth paste using the heel of a knife. Add toasted coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon at a time, gradually chopping them into garlic paste until well incorporated before adding more seeds. Add toasted lime leaves, chopping and crushing until the mixture is very fine. (Alternatively, process coriander seeds and lime leaves in a spice grinder until very finely ground before combining with garlic paste.)
  3. Stir together garlic paste mixture, cilantro, walnuts, carrots, lime zest, and juice in a large bowl until well combined. Add olive oil, Calabrian chiles, and fish sauce, and stir until combined. Set aside.

Grill the swordfish

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high (400°F to 450°F). Remove swordfish from the marinade. Place on oiled grates; grill, uncovered, until cooked through and grill marks appear 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer fish to a plate; let rest for 5 minutes.
  2. Lightly brush fish with additional olive oil. Serve immediately with carrot-and-walnut salsa, fresh cilantro leaves, lime wedges, and a drizzle of olive oil.

To make ahead

Swordfish can be marinated for up to 18 hours.

Suggested pairing

Wine Herbal, lightly nutty white: 2021 Bucci Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore

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About the Author: Jenny Kristy

Spice Seeker, Recipe Weaver, Nomad Chef |With a passport bursting with stamps and a pantry overflowing with global spices, Jenny Kristy isn't just a cook, she's a culinary nomad. Her travels fuel her passion, transforming exotic flavors into recipes that tantalize and transport. She weaves magic in her kitchen, sharing her adventures through meals that whisper of Marrakesh markets and Tuscan trattorias. From teaching sushi to whipping up Moroccan masterpieces, Jenny ignites wanderlust and connects cultures, one delicious bite at a time.

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