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Mesquite Grilled Swordfish with Charred Tomato Salsa

This dish gets its distinctive smoky flavor from the mesquite chips and the flame–charred salsa, which also offers the heat of red chiles. After concern about dwindling numbers, the swordfish supply seems to be returning, which is why most chefs have ended their voluntary embargo of this rich and tasty fish.

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  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 cup mesquite wood chips
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Four 3/4-inch-thick swordfish steaks (about 6 ounces each)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for the grill
  • Charred Tomato Salsa
  • Warm flour tortillas, for serving


  1. Soak the wood chips in water for 1 hour; drain. Meanwhile, in a large, shallow baking dish, combine the lime juice with the olive oil and garlic. Add the swordfish, season with salt and pepper; turn to coat. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. Light a grill. If using charcoal, scatter the wood chips over the coals. If using a gas grill, place the chips in the smoker box or on a 12-inch square of foil; fold the foil into a 6-inch square and poke 12 holes in the top. Place the package near the flames and heat until smoking. Lightly brush the grate with vegetable oil. Grill the swordfish until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Serve with the Charred Tomato Salsa and warm flour tortillas.

Suggested Pairing

The velvety texture of the swordfish and the tart, smoky flavors of the salsa suggest a rich, fruity Sauvignon Blanc with brisk acidity and smoky overtones. Look for one from Italy or France.

Contributed By Photo © William Meppem Published June 2001

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