A potent mixture of cilantro and warm spices flavors swordfish steaks and also dresses the grilled eggplant salad.
Grilled Swordfish with Eggplant, Tomato, and Chickpea Salad
SERVES 4 FAST
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Since meaty swordfish stands up so well to grilling, we decided to cook swordfish steaks simultaneously with some eggplant for a quick and elegant grilled dinner. We gave a flavor boost to the fish by coating it with a paste of cilantro, onion, garlic, and warm spices which bloomed over the hot fire, reserving part of the paste to dress the eggplant salad. We removed the fish when the interior was just opaque since it would cook a little more from residual heat as it rested while we prepared the accompanying vegetables. After grilling the eggplant until soft and charred, we chopped it into chunks and mixed it with juicy cherry tomatoes and canned chickpeas, then dressed it with the remaining cilantro mixture for an easy and vibrant salad. If swordfish isn’t available, you can substitute halibut.
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
½ red onion, chopped coarse
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper
4 (4- to 6-ounce) skin-on swordfish steaks, 1 to 1½ inches thick
1 large eggplant, sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds
6 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed
1. Process cilantro, onion, 3 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne, cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon salt in food processor until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Measure out and reserve ½ cup cilantro mixture. Transfer remaining cilantro mixture to large bowl and set aside.
2. Brush swordfish with reserved ½ cup cilantro mixture. Brush eggplant with remaining 3 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper.
3A. FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour two-thirds evenly over half of grill, then pour remaining coals over other half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
3B. FOR A GAS GRILL Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn other burner(s) to medium-high.
4. Clean cooking grate, then repeatedly brush grate with well-oiled paper towels until black and glossy, 5 to 10 times. Place swordfish and eggplant on hotter part of grill. Cook swordfish, uncovered, until streaked with dark grill marks, 6 to 9 minutes, gently flipping steaks using 2 spatulas halfway through cooking. Cook eggplant, flipping as needed, until softened and lightly charred, about 8 minutes; transfer to serving platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil.
5. Gently move swordfish to cooler part of grill and continue to cook, uncovered, until fish flakes apart when gently prodded with paring knife and registers 140 degrees, 1 to 3 minutes per side; transfer to platter and tent loosely with foil. Let swordfish rest while finishing salad.
6. Coarsely chop eggplant and add to bowl with cilantro mixture along with tomatoes and chickpeas. Gently toss to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
NOTES FROM THE TEST KITCHEN
Fish is notoriously susceptible to overcooking, so reheating previously cooked fillets is something that makes nearly all cooks balk. But since almost everyone has leftover fish from time to time, we decided to figure out the best approach to warming it up.
As we had suspected, we had far more success reheating thick fillets and steaks than thin ones. Both swordfish and halibut steaks reheated nicely, retaining their moisture well and with no detectable change in flavor. There was little we could do to prevent mackerel from drying out and overcooking when heated a second time.
To reheat thicker fish fillets, use this gentle approach: Place the fillets on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, cover them with foil (to prevent the exteriors of the fish from drying out), and heat them in a 275-degree oven until they register 125 to 130 degrees, about 15 minutes for 1-inch-thick fillets (timing varies according to fillet size). We recommend serving leftover cooked thin fish in cold applications like salads.