Before we start, let’s get the Swordfish/Mercury issue out of the way. Our guests the night we served this, Julie and Geoff Smith, told us their children’s grandfather never fails to mention it every time it’s served to his grandchildren, Henry and Lucy. Here’s what I discovered:
The FDA issued a document in 2004 in which it recommends incorporating fish and shellfish into a healthy diet. It spelled out all the pluses associated with eating seafood—low in saturated fat, high in omega 3s fatty acids, great for heart health and young children’s growth and development. However, they go on to say that fish with elevated levels of mercury are not recommended for unborn babies and very young children so that expectant and nursing mothers and small children should avoid eating seafood high in mercury. Henry, 11, and Lucy, 9, are off the hook.
Interestingly, nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of mercury, some more than others. The mercury content of fish is based on their size and their age. And there’s where swordfish is, number 3 behind Mackerel and Shark and just ahead of tilefish. (Better seafood options if you are trying to avoid mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, Pollack and catfish.) If you are not in one of the above-mentioned groups, it’s likely a good idea to limit your intake of swordfish, for example, to 12 ounces a week. Or you may end up like Jeremy Piven and have to give up your Broadway career aspirations. You can read the entire piece on the FDA website at https://www.fda.gov/FoodSafety/ProductSpecificInformation/Seafood/FoodbornePathogens
1 tbsp. Paprika
2 ½ tsp Salt
1 tsp. Onion powder
1 tsp. Garlic powder
1 tsp. Cayenne pepper
¾ tsp. White pepper
¾ tsp. Black pepper
½ tsp. Dried Thyme leaves
½ tsp. Dried Oregano leaves
As previously mentioned, it makes sense to make this mixture in bulk. But the above portions are certainly enough for the 2 pounds of swordfish I cooked.
1. Mix all seasonings together in a bowl.
2. Place fish on a cutting board and generously coat both sides with the seasoning mix.
3. Set aside in refrigerator while you make the tomato chutney.
Recipe for Fresh Tomato Chutney
I made this for four. It was certainly enough for that number but you can easily double or even triple the recipe.
4 On-the-vine Tomatoes, in large dice.
2 Shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
8 whole cloves
2 inch piece of cinnamon
2 tbsp. kicap manis * or 2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. Olive oil.
2. Then add the shallot, garlic and ginger and sauté over medium high heat for 2 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes and the kicap manis or brown sugar. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Remove from heat. Remove the bay leaf, the cinnamon stick and the cloves. Put chutney in a bowl and set aside until you serve it with the swordfish.
Cooking the Swordfish
1. Heat 4 tbsp. of butter in a heavy bottomed sauté pan until it sizzles and the foam subsides.
2. Cook swordfish approximately 4 minutes a side turning only once.
3. Serve with fresh tomato chutney.
I served this with some grilled potatoes and sautéed spinach. So easy. So good.