Monday, June 29, 2015

Sous Vide Cooking: Swordfish with Olive Gremolata

The Art and Ease of Sous Vide Cooking:
Swordfish with Olive Gremolata
Serves: 4
Difficulty: Easy
Sous vide temp: 130 degree F; Time: 30 minutes
Traditional cooking method also included
Swordfish with Olive Gremolata 

Sous vide is a French phrase that is translated as “under vacuum.” However, the defining feature of the method is not packaging or vacuum sealing; it is accurate temperature control. A heating element can warm a water bath to any low to moderate temperature you set, and keep it there for hours – or even days. For more information on the how’s and whys of sous vide, please see post: All About Sous Vide at

Sous vide is especially useful for cooking seafood, for which the window of proper doneness is often vanishingly small when traditional methods are used. When you fry a piece of fish, the flesh is most succulent and tender within a very narrow temperature range. Because the cooking temperature of the pan is considerably hotter than the ideal core temperature of the fish, the edges will inevitably be far more cooked than the center when pan-fried. Traditional cooking with a range, oven, or grill uses high and fluctuating temperatures, so you must time the cooking exactly; there is little margin for error. With just a moment’s inattention, conventional cooking can quickly overshoot perfection. This is particularly problematic with fish…especially lean fish, which can dry out quickly. Sous vide cooking is ideal for such fish, in this case swordfish, but also albacore.

Swordfish was taboo for a while, but now many varieties, especially domestic ones, are sustainable. In particular, the North Atlantic swordfish have really rebounded thanks to a 1999 international plan that rebuilt this stock several years ahead of schedule.

  • 6 Tb extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (divided)
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • ¾ C coarsely torn in small pieces fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tb chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 Tb coarsely chopped green olives (such as Castelvetrano)
  • 1½ Tb coarsely chopped golden raisins
  • 2 8-10-oz swordfish steaks, skin removed, 1-1½ inches thick
  • Lemon wedges for serving
  • The Sous Vide Gizmo and Technique

Swordfish with Olive Gremolata:
Prepare the swordfish by removing the dark red bloodline. There is nothing unhealthy but it does have a fishier taste. If cooking sous vide you may need to cut the steaks in half to fit into your individual bags and subsequently the pot. Regardless of cooking method, rub steaks with 1 Tb olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
To cook swordfish sous vide: Add 1 tsp of lemon zest and lemon juice to oiled and salted swordfish steaks, place a single sprig of thyme on fish and carefully place in your 1 quart zip-lock back or vacuum seal according to manufacturer instructions. Preheat your sous vide bath to 130 degree F.

If using zip lock bag, carefully lower the bag into the heated water using the water to displace the air surrounding the fish. At this point, one can carefully seal the Ziploc bag making certain it is completely closed and air is removed. Or, one can secure the edge of the package and clip it to the side of the sous vide bath/pot. Now set your timer for 30 minutes (range of 20-45 min). Remove bags from bath. After you take the food out of the pouches, pat it dry, either with paper towels or clean kitchen towels. I tend to dry it off at least 5-10 minutes before I will sear it, allowing the remaining moisture to evaporate and the fish to cool slightly.
Cooking the chicken in a Ziploc bag by sous vide
The goal of post sous vide browning is to create the crust while heating the interior of the food as little as possible. The main keys to accomplishing this goal are dry foods, high temperatures, and short times. Moisture that is on the surface of the food will prevent it from browning, increasing the cooking time needed, and potentially heating the food further. Properly drying the food after sous viding is critical but easy.
Swordfish post sous vide....ready to sear
Using a cast iron or other thick, heavy sauté pan, heat over medium-high to high heat, add a thin film of oil (vegetable or canola oil work well), and heat until it just starts to smoke.  Add the dry fish to the pan, being careful of splattering, and cook for 30-45 seconds per side, just until the fish browns.
Searing the fish...and much more appetizing!
To grill: Prepare grill for medium-high heat, oil grate. Place seasoned and oiled swordfish on preheated grates. Grill until swordfish is lightly charred and just cooked through (fish will feel firm), 6-8 minutes per side.

To make gremolata: Mix breadcrumbs with 1 Tb oil in a medium bowl, season with salt and pepper. Toss them in a skillet, stovetop or on the grill, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer toasted breadcrumbs back to bowl and let cool. Add parsley, olives, raisins, remainder of lemon zest, and 4 Tb oil to breadcrumbs and toss to combine. It should be moist and hold together.  Set gremolata aside until ready to serve.
Ingredients for the gremolata

Making the bread crumbs

The gremolata is ready

Transfer cooked swordfish to a platter or dish and top with gremolata. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.  This is a spectacular fish with a light, flavorful garnish.  You will not be disappointed!


No comments:

Post a Comment