Recipe: Swordfish with Spicy Tomato Salsa

When trying to be more healthy, the rolodex in my mind instantly turns to fish. Vegetarian is always goswordfishod, of course, but fish has additional nutritional benefits that always end up winning out.

I decided to try something that had its roots in some traditional flavors, but mixed up just enough to create something unique.

The recipe is very simple too.  It’s a swordfish steak, marinated in lime juice.  If you don’t like swordfish, you could probably use any firm, white fish such as haddock. If you don’t like fish, chicken would be your best alternative, but that also makes it a completely different dish. :) On a second run through of the recipe, I tried swapping the lime juice marinade for balsamic vinegar. The result was pretty good, but the lime juice imparted a better flavor.

Which makes sense, because the salsa on top of the fish has lime juice. I’m not sure if “salsa” is the best name for it – it carries implications that don’t match what this is. “Salad” doesn’t work either, for the same reason.  But, “salsa” was the closest, so I’m sticking with that.

It has both cooked red onion, and raw – cooked for sweetness, raw for the relatively mild but pungent onion flavor. I also used both a red and a green jalapeno – one with the seeds for spiciness, one with no seeds just for the flavor.

All of this is served on a bed of green beans. I picked up a bag of frozen haricots verts, dropped them in a saute pan with 1/4 cup water, let them steam for 4 minutes or so, then let the water evaporate.  Drizzling on some olive oil, I let the outsides crisp up and caramelize a bit, before sprinkling with salt and pepper.

The detailed recipe for the swordfish follows.

Serves 1.

1/2 pound swordfish steak
2 limes
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 red onion
2 jalapeno peppers
olive oil
salt & pepper


1. Rinse the swordfish steak and pat dry. Place in a ziploc bag, and squirt the juice of one of the limes over top. Seal the bag while trying to keep as much air out as possible.  Toss gently to coat the fish with the lime juice, and marinade for about 30 minutes. Don’t leave it too long, though, as the acid will actually start to cook the fish!


2. While the fish marinades, prepare the salsa. Cut the tomatoes in half and place in a bowl. Salt to taste.

3. Heat a skillet on medium heat with about a tablespoon of olive oil.  Finely slice half the red onion. Lightly saute until just softened and sweet. Add to the bowl with the tomatoes.

4. Finely slice the remaining half of the red onion. Add to the bowl with the tomatoes.

5. Finely dice the jalapeno peppers, keeping as much of the seeds as you’d like. (Rough guide: Mild = no seeds; Medium = only one with seeds; Hot = both with seeds.) You can also char the outside skin of the jalapeno if you don’t want the raw pepper.  Add to the bowl with the tomatoes.

6. Squeeze the juice of the second lime over top.  You can also add the zest from the lime, if you wish.  Drizzle with olive oil, and season with more salt and pepper to taste.  Toss to combine and refrigerate until ready to use.


7. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Remove the swordfish from the marinade, and season both sides with salt and pepper.

8. When the pan is hot, add the swordfish. Let it sear and get some nice caramelization before turning down the heat a bit. (You don’t want it to burn!) Let it cook for 5 minutes, for a 1 inch thick steak.

9. Turn the heat back up and flip the fish. Let it sear again, then turn down the heat again, and let it cook for an additional 5 minutes (for a 1 inch thick steak).

10. Check for doneness: the fish should be opaque, and should easily flake with a fork. If it needs longer, give it a few minutes.  When it’s ready, turn off the heat and cover the pan. Let sit for 3-5 minutes.


11. If you made the green beans, start with a bed of beans. Place the swordfish on top. Finally, top with as much of the salsa as you’d like. Enjoy!

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