Grilled Swordfish with Carrot-and-Walnut Salsa

Steeped in a savory kombu marinade, these swordfish steaks are paired with a nutty, slightly piquant gremolata-like salsa with roasted walnuts and Calabrian chiles.

Grilled Swordfish with Carrot-and-Walnut Salsa

Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Active Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 50 mins
4 servings

Simple, easy, and delicious is the mantra for summertime cooking, and grilled fish fits that bill. For 2013 F&W Best New Chef Jason Vincent, the summer of 2021 meant the post-pandemic reopening of his restaurant, Giant, in Chicago and the debut of this dish. After months of unpredictability, the ease of swordfish marinated in sake, grilled, and served with a zesty salsa delivered comfort and simplicity. The swordfish was such a hit, it’s remained on the menu year-round. “It’s pretty tough to look at the finished plate and not think, ‘That’s summer,’” Vincent says. 

Mild swordfish is steeped in a kombu marinade and punched up by a citrusy salsa with toasted coriander, makrut lime leaves, and peppery cilantro. To reach the salsa’s moderately crunchy texture, hand-chopping the nuts with a sharp, heavier-handled knife is key to preserving their integrity. Make sure your cutting board is stabilized with a wet kitchen towel or paper towel underneath to anchor it while chopping.


Marinated Swordfish

  • 1 (5- x 6-inch) kombu sheet

  • 1 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing and drizzling

  • 1/3 cup sake

  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

  • 4 (10-ounce) skin-on swordfish steaks (1 to 1 1/2 inches thick)

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Carrot-and-Walnut Salsa

  • 4 teaspoons coriander seeds

  • 3 makrut lime leaves

  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 2 cups chopped fresh cilantro, plus whole cilantro leaves, for serving

  • 1 cup unsalted toasted walnuts, finely chopped

  • 2/3 cup finely chopped carrots

  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest plus 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons jarred chopped Calabrian chiles

  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce

  • Lime wedges, for serving


Marinate the swordfish

  1. Bring a small saucepan filled with water to a boil over high. Stir in kombu. Remove from heat; let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain and chop kombu into 1/2-inch pieces. Whisk together olive oil, sake, lemon zest, and chopped kombu in a medium bowl. Sprinkle swordfish on all sides with salt; place in a shallow dish. Pour marinade over fish. (Fish should be mostly submerged.) Cover tightly with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to 18 hours.

Make the carrot-and-walnut salsa

  1. Toast coriander seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium, stirring often, until fragrant and slightly darkened, about 2 minutes. Remove from skillet, and set aside. In same skillet, toast lime leaves over medium, flipping occasionally, until leaves are fragrant and begin to curl up and darken, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside, and let cool, about 2 minutes. (Leaves will crisp as they cool.) Tear out center veins of leaves, and discard; set leaves aside.

  2. Crush garlic and salt together into a smooth paste using heel of a knife. Add toasted coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon at a time, gradually chopping them into garlic paste until well incorporated before adding more seeds. Add toasted lime leaves, chopping and crushing until mixture is very fine. (Alternatively, process coriander seeds and lime leaves in a spice grinder until very finely ground before combining with garlic paste.)

  3. Stir together garlic paste mixture, cilantro, walnuts, carrots, and lime zest and juice in a large bowl until well combined. Add olive oil, Calabrian chiles, and fish sauce, and stir until combined. Set aside.

Grill the swordfish

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high (400°F to 450°F). Remove swordfish from marinade. Place on oiled grates; grill, uncovered, until cooked through and grill marks appear, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer fish to a plate; let rest 5 minutes.

  2. Lightly brush fish with additional olive oil. Serve immediately with carrot-and-walnut salsa, fresh cilantro leaves, lime wedges, and a drizzle of olive oil.

To make ahead

Swordfish can be marinated up to 18 hours.

Suggested pairing

Wine Herbal, lightly nutty white: 2021 Bucci Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore

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