Of the many pieces of equipment in our kitchen, there are a few I consider essential. One of these is our cast iron grill pan – it’s a great tool for cooking food quickly, and as much as I love the rich soups, stews and braises we’ve been eating, sometimes it’s nice to have something lighter. I can cook a couple of pieces of fish in the grill pan with just a touch of oil and have our meal ready in a flash.
I seasoned a couple of swordfish steaks with kosher salt and cracked black pepper, then coated them lightly with a bit of extra virgin and placed them into the hot grill pan. The fish cooked for about 5 minutes per side – and as I’ve said before, when it goes into the hot pan, don’t move it around until you’re ready to flip it; you want it to sear and get grill marks so it doesn’t fall apart.
While the swordfish cooked, I put together a salsa verde, which has become one of my favorite accompaniments for fish. I combined about 2 cups of fresh herbs (we had flat-leaf parsley, thyme, sage, dill and fennel fronds on hand, so I used all of those) with two fat cloves of garlic (peeled and smashed), a chopped shallot, and 2-3 tablespoons of capers. All of that went into the mini-chopper with a pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper, and I pulsed it until it was a chunky paste. In a separate bowl, I whisked together the juice of a lemon with a tablespoon or so of sherry vinegar and a few tablespoons of olive oil, then added the herb-garlic-caper paste to that and mixed it well.
When the swordfish was done, I plated it and topped each steak with a generous spoonful of the salsa verde. The combination of the fresh herbs, briny capers, lemon and vinegar really highlighted the richness of the fish. I served this with a simple salad, but you can certainly cook some rice, couscous, or a vegetable to go alongside in about the same time as it takes to prepare the fish and salsa.
Winter’s short days and blustery weather may keep us from grilling outdoors, but it’s nice to know we can get a taste of warmer days with a grill pan and a hot burner.