Swordfish has had a bumpy ride over the last 20 years as differing opinions as divergent as those expressed by Sea Web, to my Dad, to the “get ‘em while you can” camp were publicly debated. For better or worse, Sea Web prevailed in the 90’s thanks to a stunningly effective advertising campaign which was picked up by national media (who says advertising doesn’t work?) and all agree that now the mighty swordfish is on the rebound.
We are fortunate that the best wild swordfish in the world can be caught here at home, off Montauk, off the South Shore and in Rhody waters off Block Island. Specialty purveyors offer it to consumers and restaurants alike, but there is nothing like getting it fresh off the boat.
Growing up on Shelter Island we were lucky enough to eat a lot of very fresh fish before this all got so controversial. We had a big household – 11 to 13 including cousins, Grammy, babysitters etc. – so we were very good customers at Bob’s, the local fishmonger. If one of his captains brought in a nice swordfish, Grammy got the first call. She would always snap it up and we would get several 3 inch steaks which Daddy and Uncle Jay grilled up with something approaching reverence.
Swordfish is a mighty, meaty fish with some oil which holds up well for grilling. One of our favorite dishes is swordfish bruschetta, a dish that’s been around since ancient times. The Romans and Greeks knew exactly what to do with the swordfish that was caught in their waters. They tossed it in olive oil, grilled it, and served it with the wonderful ingredients they had on hand; tomatoes, basil, fresh pepper, sometimes garlic, all on toasted bread, a perfect swordfish bruschetta.
We especially like swordfish bruschetta because if we are feeling lazy we can pick up the most delicious bruschetta at our local Italian market and have a meal in literally 10 minutes. But we prefer to stoke the anticipation by preparing it all at home – especially this time of year when the garden is bursting with tomatoes and basil.
When choosing a wine, we’ve heard and agree that pairing a wine with swordfish is very much like pairing a wine with lamb. A nice Sancerre Rouge, Pinot Noir, or even a Sancerre or Sauvignon Blanc if you prefer white, works well.