Spice-Crusted Swordfish #French Fridays with Dorie

We have been on a roll this month making fish recipes for French Fridays with Dorie. I couldn’t be happier. Fish is delicious, cooks quickly, is low in calories and high in nutrition. Yes, it is much better for you than any meat.

Spice-Crusted Tuna was the recipe for this week, but I am an extremist when it comes to tuna. I either like it raw or cooked and chopped up into a salad of some sort. I don’t like the seared outside, raw middle taste or texture combination that this week’s recipe called for…so I substituted swordfish, which was on sale, and it is a deep sea fish. I figured that the seasoning would work well on any cold water fish.

The recipe called for grinding up the seasoning in a mortar and pestle… really? Seriously mortar and pestle? Maybe for crushing mint leaves for a Mojito or making an occasional guacamole…but to crush cardamon pods and peppercorns? It’s the 21st century… I used a coffee grinder!

In the summer I often cover fish with rubs before cooking it on the grill, so I found the instructions for this recipe to be a bit odd. Spread oil over the fish and then rub on the spices? When I checked the P & Q someone had trouble with the seasoning staying on the fish. I wasn’t surprised. Most rub recipes that I’ve ever used call for drying the fish well with paper towels, and then rubbing it with the seasoning before putting it in a hot skillet with just a coating of oil. I used this technique and the seasoning stayed on well. A note: I also used dried ginger instead of fresh grated ginger which is wet. I wanted the rub to be totally dry so it would stick without a problem. 

The spice mixture was subtle. It didn’t have enough POW for my husband, but the rest of us liked it. I do usually associate strong flavors with rubs, but I thought that this flavor mixture enhanced the taste of the fish, instead of overpowering it the way some strong rubs can do. 

Thanks to Dorie’s Olive and Orange Salad I am really into citrus salads for the winter. I served the swordfish with this Mark Bittman recipe: Winter Citrus Salad and Honey Dressing, along with Saffron rice. The beauty of cooking fish is that it takes so little time to prepare, you can have it for a midweek meal, and feel like you’ve gone out to an elegant restaurant. 

Spice-Crusted Swordfish
by Diane Balch at simplelivingeating.com
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: saute entree gluten-free swordfish French winter
1) Grind: cardamon, peppercorn, and coriander seeds in a coffee grinder or mini-food processor. If you don’t have these spices in seed form, use one teaspoon of each pre-ground form. The flavor isn’t quite as intense when the seasoning is pre-ground, but add a little more salt and it will taste fine.
2) Mix ground seasoning with ginger and salt.
3) Heat EVOO in a large cast iron skillet or other non-stick skillet on medium high heat.
4) While the skillet is warming dry the fish well with paper towels and rub each side with the spice mixture.
5) Test the skillet by dropping a little water in the pan. If it sizzles up the skillet is ready. If not you may want to turn up the heat.
6) Place the fish in the skillet, cover and do not move for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes flip with a large spatula, cover and do not move for another 5 minutes. Cut into the thickest piece of fish center to see if it is opaque. If it is or it is almost opaque. Remove the fish from the skillet. Let the fish rest for 2 minutes it will continue to cook.
Serve with saffron rice, rice pilaf (potatoes would work well too) and a citrus salad or other vegetable with a hint of citrus.

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