Our BBQ Bonanza continues this week with a sustainable seafood lesson. If you have ever tried to figure out what makes a fish choice sustainable, you might have felt that choosing fish is anything but a walk on the beach. Our guest poster this week is the inimitable Amy McCoy, who was inspired by a much-needed tumble in the waves of Block Island.
photo by Denise Woodward, ChezUs.com
I will never forget Amy's hilarious post three years ago about DIY Turkey in a Hole in the Ground. Since then, she's become a published cookbook author. Her Poor Girl Gourmet makes a perfect housewarming gift for your niece or nephew just setting up their own apartment. I incorporated her Chicken in Cider Gravy recipe in my Sustainable Meats Class. It always pleases.
Amy brings us a swordfish recipe inspired by local Block Island swordfish. Her sensible approach to sustainability is one that's near and dear to my heart. Here's a post with five tips for making Small Steps that Make a Difference.
Amy is the author of “Poor Girl Gourmet: Eat in Style on a Bare-Bones Budget” (Andrews McMeel, 2010), and the blog Poor Girl Gourmet, where she shares budget-friendly recipes, tales (sometimes of woe) of raising chickens and turkeys, keeping bees, and particularly woeful this year, gardening (Blight! Chipmunks! Squash bugs!).
Amy was scheduled to speak about eating on a budget at the International Food Blogger Conference in New Orleans, LA on August 28 (curse you Irene!), and her recipes and writing have appeared in many newspapers across the country.
Block Island Swordfish with Fennel and Tomato
Guest post by Amy McCoy
Fish has been stressing me out for a few years now. And I say this without so much as a hint of hyperbole; such a worrier am I.
I want to eat fish, but I want to do the right thing. I don’t want the oceans depleted, and, quite honestly, pulling out a chart that delineates what’s okay to eat and what isn’t takes a little of the joy out of fish eating. And what I like most about food – the making and sharing of food – is the joy of it all.
So stressed I have been.
But then I read a few words of wisdom from fellow BBQ Bonanza contributor, Mark Scarbrough, that boiled down to this: calm down, make good choices, and enjoy yourself some fish, already, darn it.
So I stopped with the stress (sometimes it only takes one slap to snap me out of it). And decided to apply a trusted mantra to fish shopping: Buy local.
Fortunately, living in southeastern Massachusetts, local isn’t too far away – generally less than an hour by car, and sometimes, it’s an additional 13 miles by ferry. If a jaunt to Block Island is in order. Oh, which it was this past week. Which it was.
Block Island is a quaint, well-preserved Victorian-era village surrounded by rolling hills dotted with stonewalls and stunning golden cliffs rising up above its beaches. The water is colder than on the mainland (of course), and if you aren’t careful, you may find yourself smacked down to the sandy shore by a giant wave. It’s a lot easier to get smacked down and find the wave giant if you’re short. Not that this happened to me, um, two days ago, or anything.
It also happens to be quite the swordfish harvesting ground, with “BI Swordfish” signs posted at local fish markets - on the mainland as well as the island - causing glee at the mere sight (and angst-free glee at that, for it is local). And that’s all before you’ve laid eyes on the fish.
As it happens, harpoon and hand line swordfish are both “best choices” on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guide (okay, so I checked my chart – I admit it. There’s still some guilt, despite my best efforts at being effortless in fish shopping).
Back home with my Block Island swordfish, I decided to add homegrown fennel and tomatoes (it doesn’t get much more local than your own backyard – and it helps to keep the cost down, too), grill ‘em up, then add the grilled veggies to a pan of sautéed shallots with white wine, crushed red pepper flakes, and oregano (which is also homegrown, and threatens to overrun our property, prolific as it is) for a rich, yet summery sauce.
Swordfish with Grilled Fennel and Tomatoes
- 1 pound swordfish steak, approximately 1-inch thick
- 1 medium bulb fennel, trimmed of fronds, sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch wedges.
- 4 medium tomatoes (approximately 2 pounds), sliced in half lengthwise
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium shallot
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- 1 cup dry white wine
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Be sure that your grill is clean, and has been lightly oiled. Preheat the grill to medium high.
- Toss the fennel and tomatoes in a medium mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then season them with salt and pepper.
- Brush the swordfish all over with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.
- Place the fennel and tomatoes on the grill, and grill until they are lightly charred and the tomato skins are beginning to peel, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Remove the fennel and tomatoes from the grill. Using a fork or tongs, remove and discard the tomato skin.
- Before starting the swordfish on the grill – or simultaneously, if you are fortunate enough to have a side burner on your grill – start the sauce.
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallot, and cook until it is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the fennel, tomatoes and any accumulated juices, then add the crushed red pepper flakes and oregano. Next, pour in the wine, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Place the swordfish on the grill, flipping midway through the cooking time, and grill it until it is opaque and is easily cut with a fork, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
- Remove the swordfish from the grill, then cut it into 4 more-or-less equal sized pieces. Place the swordfish pieces in the saucepan, and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve the swordfish forth, topped with sauce.
This dish goes well with grilled potatoes, and can also be served stew-style: I recommend toasting (on the grill, of course) a slice of country bread, rubbing the bread with garlic, then placing it into a bowl and topping with fish and sauce. No guilt there at all, I can assure you. Only glee.
Great News from Our Sponsors
...is giving away another set of their terrific barbecue sauces (exclusively available for us); each winner will receive:
- one bottle of Carolina sauce (for dressing pulled pork);
- one bottle of pomegranate chili sauce (versatile sweet/sour/spicy);
- and one bottle of jerk marinade (meat brine or stew base or ceviche base).
Comment on BBQ Bonanza August posts also enter you to win Fire it Up: 400 Recipes for Grilling Everything. (Even includes recipes for goat! Donuts, I kid you not, and scallops with grapefruit mojo. Really there ARE recipes for grilling everything!)
The good people at OXO have graciously added this Four Piece Grilling Set to our August Contest!
How to win one of these THREE prizes:
- Enter a comment in any August BBQ Bonanza post.
- Write your own post on the theme of Sustainability at the Grill and link back here. You'll get a second entry!
- Hit the Silk Road! Find the phony location of a Silk Road yurt, post the true and the false locations in your comment here, and gain another chance to win.
- Tweet, RT (#BBQBonanza), post to Facebook.