- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 30, 2006

My husband never met a steak he didn’t like, but when it comes to fish, he falls into the picky eaters category.

After we were married, I discovered that his curiosity was limited to shrimp and fried catfish, both staples of the South where he grew up. Through the years, I’ve introduced him to all manner of fish and seafood.

What I’ve learned is that he likes just about any fish, as long as it has bold, vibrant flavorings.

A perfect example of the type of seafood he now adores is grilled swordfish with fresh corn salsa. It also happens to be the dish I’ve chosen to anchor an early summer dinner party.

Swordfish is mild in flavor, but in this version I marinate it in lime juice and olive oil to add a slightly tart note, then I grill it to add smokiness. But it is the colorful corn salsa, which is quick to assemble, that makes this dish a winner.

My friend Matt Sunderland, a talented chef who often teaches cooking classes with me, created this delectable condiment. It is prepared with fresh corn kernels, which are sauteed for several minutes until lightly browned, then combined with chopped red onion and diced red bell pepper and tomatoes.

Cumin, lime juice, hot red pepper flakes and cilantro round out the seasonings. The salsa can be prepared early in the day and the fish marinated 45 minutes or up to 3 hours in advance. Grilling the swordfish, which usually takes under 10 minutes, is all that is necessary at serving time.

For my dinner, I’m planning to serve the fish with asparagus or sugar snap peas along with couscous sprinkled with fresh chives. I’ll bake a blueberry tart for dessert, but if you don’t have time to turn out a homemade confection, a fruit pie from a good bakery would work fine.

Grilled swordfish with fresh corn salsa

Fresh Corn Salsa (recipe follows)

6 7- to 8-ounce swordfish steaks, 3/4- to 1-inch thick

1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for oiling grill rack

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare fresh corn salsa and set aside. Place swordfish steaks in a shallow nonreactive dish. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup oil, lime juice, ½ teaspoon salt and several grindings of pepper and pour over the swordfish. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes or up to 3 hours, turning once or twice.

Oil a grill rack and arrange it 4 to 5 inches from heat source. Prepare grill for a hot fire (high temperature). Sprinkle fish with salt and grill until firm and golden grill marks appear on underside, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and cook until flesh is opaque all the way through but still flaky, 2 to 5 minutes more.

Steaks ½-inch thick will need about 2 to 3 minutes per side; 3/4-inch cuts will take longer. Do not overcook or fish will be dry. Divide salsa evenly and mound on each of the fillets. Makes 6 servings.

FRESH CORN SALSA

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 to 3 large ears)

1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and then diced (about 1/4-inch dice)

½ cup chopped red onion

½ cup diced tomatoes, seeds and pulp removed (about 1/4-inch dices)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or more

½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add corn and saute, stirring often, until just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove to a nonreactive bowl.

Add red bell pepper, onion, tomato, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, lime juice, pepper flakes and remaining oil. Mix well. (Salsa can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before using.) At serving time, stir in cilantro and season with more salt and an extra squeeze of lime juice, if desired. Makes about 3½ cups.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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