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Grilled Swordfish with Lime-Basil-Jalapeño Vinaigrette

Monday, 26 May 2008


Ever since I discovered the fish taco, a Cal-Mex specialty that originated around San Diego and Baja, it’s been one of my favorite summer dinners, especially for a crowd. The real thing is a soft tortilla wrapped around fried fish, but grilled fish is even better to my taste.


At a glance
Cooking Method
Heat Level
Main Course
8 to 10
For the Fish:
  • 1 1/2 pounds swordfish steak,

  • 1 inch thick

  • Grated zest of 1 lime

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

  • 2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and chopped

  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves

  • 1/2 cup mild vegetable oil, such as canola

For the Tacos:

  • Avocado-Tomatillo Sauce (see recipe below)

  • Iceberg lettuce, thinly shredded

  • Red cabbage, cored and thinly shredded

  • Red onions, thinly sliced

  • Scallions, thinly sliced

  • Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

  • Hot sauce

  • Mexican crema

  • 7-inch tortillas, flour and/or corn, grilled on high for 20 seconds
    on each side, just until warm and lightly charred

For the Tomatillo Sauce:

  • 8 tomatillos, husked and rinsed

  • 2 jalapeño chiles

  • 1/2 cup mild vegetable oil, such as canola, plus extra for brushing

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 4 ripe Hass avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into

  • 1/2-inch dice

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves



Place the fish in a large dish. Combine the lime zest and juice, chiles, and basil in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly pour in the oil and blend until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper, pour over the fish, turn to coat, and marinate for 10 minutes.

Heat your grill to high.

Grill the fish until lightly browned and firm on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the dish over, reduce the heat to medium or move to a cooler part of the grill, and grill until just cooked all the way through, 3 to 4 minutes more. Remove the fish from the grill and slice 1/2 inch think. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately with tortillas and garnishes listed above.


For the Tomatillo Sauce:

Heat your grill to high.

Brush the tomatillos and chiles with oil and season all over with salt and pepper. Grill the tomatillos and chiles, turning, until blackened on all sides. Remove from the grill and coarsely chop the tomatillos. Stem, seed and chop the chiles.

Combine the tomatillos, chiles, lime juice, and honey in a blender

and blend until smooth. With the motor running, gradually pour in the oil and blend until emulsified. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the avocados, onion, and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.



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