Saturday, August 2, 2014

Grilled Swordfish Tacos

Who doesn't love a good taco? The key to a good fish taco is to use a meaty, substantial piece of fish. So we'll skate past all of the light, flaky fishes and head for swordfish. Not just a cut of swordfish, but swordfish steaks. Big, huge, honkin' swordfish steaks. Fire up the grill and off we go. This Cook's Illustrated recipe serves six.

 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup orange juice
6 tablespoons lime juice (3 limes)
2 pounds skinless swordfish steaks, 1 inch thick, cut lengthwise into 1-inch-wide strips
1 pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, cored, and each quarter halved lengthwise
1 jalapeño chile
18 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, plus extra for serving
1/2 head iceberg lettuce (4 1/2 ounces), cored and thinly sliced
1 avocado, halved, pitted, and sliced thin
Lime wedges


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil, ancho chile powder, and chipotle chile powder in 8-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and some bubbles form, 2 to 3 minutes. Add oregano, coriander, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt and continue to cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer. Add tomato paste and, using spatula, mash tomato paste with spice mixture until combined, about 20 seconds. Stir in orange juice and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly mixed and reduced slightly, about 2 minutes. Transfer chile mixture to large bowl and let cool for 15 minutes.
  2. Add swordfish to bowl with chile mixture, and stir gently with rubber spatula to coat fish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  3. Open bottom vent on your grill completely. Light large chimney starter mounded with charcoal briquettes (7 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
  4. Clean cooking grate, then repeatedly brush grate with well-oiled paper towels until grate is black and glossy, 5 to 10 times. Brush both sides of pineapple with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Place fish on half of grill. Place pineapple and jalapeño on other half. Cover and cook until fish, pineapple, and jalapeño have begun to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Using thin spatula, flip fish, pineapple, and jalapeño over. Cover and continue to cook until second sides of pineapple and jalapeño are browned and swordfish is done, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer fish to large platter, flake into pieces, and tent with aluminum foil. Transfer pineapple and jalapeño to cutting board.
  5. Clean cooking grate. Place half of tortillas on grill. Grill until softened and speckled with brown spots, 30 to 45 seconds per side. Wrap tortillas in dish towel or foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  6. When cool enough to handle, finely chop pineapple and jalapeño. Transfer to medium bowl and stir in bell pepper, cilantro, and remaining 4 tablespoons lime juice. Season with salt to taste. Top tortillas with flaked fish, salsa, lettuce, and avocado. Serve with lime wedges and extra cilantro.

Pairing: If you are going to drink wine, I would recommend an unoaked Chardonnay. But my first choice would be an ice-cold Pacifico!

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