Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Grilled Swordfish Steak with Avocado Butter

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Grilled Swordfish Steak with Avocado Butter
Serves: 8
Grilled Swordfish Steak with Avocado Butter
 This is a simple, healthy and wonderful midweek meal for family or guests. Whether grilled, broiled, baked or poached, swordfish is a favorite of first-time seafood initiates as well as enlightened connoisseurs. Swordfish's meaty texture and mild flavor are two reasons for its popularity. In addition to good taste, swordfish offers a low-fat, low-calorie choice for health-conscious consumers. Swordfish, as one of the “fatty” fish – is rich in omega-3 fatty acids felt to be beneficial to heart and brain function. It is available year-round, in most of the world’s oceans but not all fisheries in all regions are well managed. Some of the gear used accidentally catches sea turtles, seabirds and sharks. Harpoons and handlines, (a type of hook-and-line gear) are the most environmentally friendly gear types. Most markets now list source of the fish and method of catching. Look for it or ask.

If swordfish were unavailable, substitutes would include marlin, shark (not as sweet or flaky), tuna (not as sweet), sturgeon, halibut or mahi-mahi. The following marinade and use of avocado butter also works well with boneless chicken – breast and/or thigh. When buying fish, it should look fresh – shiny and clean with no discoloration. Ask to smell it. Really, it is not only allowed and acceptable, but shows your fishmonger, how committed you are to buying his products. It should smell like clean water, like the ocean or even cucumber but should never, ever smell like fish. Cooking will not improve a bad fish. If there is liquid on the fish, it should be clear, not milky. If allowed to touch it – or ask the fishmonger to do so, the meat should be resilient enough so your indentation disappears.  If it remains, move on. In raw swordfish steaks, look for a swirling pattern. The raw meat will vary a bit in color from white to ivory look to pinkish orange. The color should be consistent and not dull, with no blemished areas. Once the swordfish is cooked, it will be beige.
Perfect swordfish!
  • ½ C Soy sauce
  • ¼ C + 5 Tb fresh lemon juice. divided
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 1 Tb Dijon mustard
  • ½ C canola oil
  • 8 – 6 oz fresh swordfish steaks
  • ½ C butter, room temperature
  • 1 large ripe avocado, peeled and mashed
  • 2 Tb parsley, minced

To make the marinade, whisk together in a small bowl, ½ C soy sauce, 2 tsp lemon zest, ¼ C fresh lemon juice, 3 cloves of garlic, minced, 1 Tb Dijon mustard and ½ C canola oil.  Place eight 6 oz fresh swordfish steaks in a glass or plastic container.  Pour the marinade over, lift fish, turn over, and make sure both sides are covered. Marinade for at least one hour; no more than 2 hours.
The marinade, pre-fish
Swordfish resting in the marinade
While the fish marinates, prepare your avocado butter. In a small bowl, mix and mash together ½ C softened butter, 1 large ripe avocado, 5 Tb fresh lemon juice, 3 minced cloves of garlic and 2 Tb minced fresh parsley. Blend well and form into shape desired and refrigerate to allow it to firm a bit. I used a small square plastic container, which I lined with plastic wrap to ease removal later.
Avocado butter
The butter in a mold--note plastic wrap to help with removal later

Avocado butter--the finished product
 Heat grill for 15 minutes – will work best if thoroughly cleaned and grates wiped lightly with canola or vegetable oil – and grates hot. You will want grill or coals at medium-high heat when adding the fish. Grill fish, brushing liberally with marinade, until done, approximately 10 minutes total time per inch of thickness. 
Swordfish on the grill with artistic smoke pattern on the left.
Once cooked the swordfish will be beige throughout. Remove from grill; allow it rest for a few minutes before serving. Either slice a chunk of avocado butter onto the swordfish steak before serving or place log on table for guests to serve themselves. The avocado butter freezes beautifully for use on your next fish or chicken. If you want to eliminate the butter – the fish also serves quite well with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice!
Avocado butter melting on the juicy swordfish
This is my favorite fish entrĂ©e for the non-fish eater. I have converted many with this wonderful mildly flavored rich fish enhanced with avocado and butter. Really – what could be better? Try it on your seafood initiates! As you can see from the pictures, I served this with broccolini – not only a beautiful addition to the plate but the palate as well. Wine pairing are fairly easy – a wonderful oaky California Chardonnay or a wonderful Oregon Pinot Noir. If you forgo the avocado butter and opt for lemon – a Sauvignon Blanc may be best. Lastly, if you were not blessed with an abundance of west coast wines, both white and red Burgundies from France would pair beautifully.

Give this a try very soon. You will not be disappointed.

Bon Appetit!



  1. Another spectacular meal with great photos, Larue! You have become an artist with your photography.


  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    I love the step-by-step instructions and photos, they are amazing. I have a family of fish newbies and can't wait to try this and many more of your recipes. Thanks again!

    Gastro love,

    The Beef-eatin' Okies
    (Kathy H)