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Swordfish: Back on a roll

Jill Wendholt Silv, Connecticut Post
Published 5:36 pm, Monday, August 31, 2009
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Like a number of fish in the sea, swordfish has had its ups and down.

Overfishing in U.S. waters during the 1990s led many restaurant chefs to boycott swordfish. The "Give Swordfish A Break" campaign marked the first large-scale effort to encourage consumers to support fish conservation. The move allowed endangered swordfish stocks to bounce back.

Since 2005, consumers who live thousands of miles from the nearest ocean have also had a new tool to help them identify the source of their swordfish: Country of origin labels are mandatory for fish and seafood sold in supermarkets.

Swordfish is a meaty fish that resists flaking when cooked on the grill. These Grilled Swordfish Rolls are an excellent source of selenium, niacin and vitamin B12, as well as a good source of zinc.

Health advisory: The Monterey (Calif.) Bay Aquarium (www.montereybayaquarium.org) designates U.S and Canadian swordfish caught by handline or harpoon as a "good choice."

A caveat: Concerns about elevated mercury levels in large predatory fish such as swordfish led government agencies to advise against serving to young children and pregnant women.

GRILLED SWORDFISH ROLLS

12 thin asparagus spears, trimmed

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

2 cloves garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 swordfish steaks (about 8 to 10 ounces each, cut 1-inch thick)

Place 4 (12-inch) pieces of cooking twine in cold water; set aside.

Fill a large saucepan with about 1-inch of water. Cover and heat over high heat until water boils. Add asparagus and cook, uncovered, 2 minutes. Using tongs, lift asparagus from boiling water, rinse in cool water and set aside.

Combine basil, garlic and salt in a blender or food processor. Pulse to finely chop. Add lemon juice and process. Drizzle in olive oil and process to blend.

Place fish on a sheet of plastic wrap on a board or tray, then cover fish with plastic wrap. Gently pound fish until about 1/4-inch thick. Cut each piece in half. Spray fish generously with nonstick spray coating, turning to cover both sides of fish evenly.

Reserve 1/4 cup basil mixture. Spoon about 1/4 of remaining basil mixture into the center of each piece of fish, spreading to cover the top of the fillet. Place 3 asparagus spears in the center of each piece of fish. Roll fish around asparagus, overlapping fish as necessary. Tie each to secure in a roll. Clip and discard ends of string.

Lightly oil grill grate or spray with nonstick spray coating. Preheat grill or allow coals to burn down to white ash.

Grill fish rolls over direct, medium-high heat, in a covered grill, 10 minutes, or until fish is opaque, turning to cook and brown evenly. Clip and discard strings before serving. Drizzle fish with reserved basil mixture. Makes four servings.

Nutrition information per roll ( about 4 ounces cooked fish with three asparagus spears each): 182 calories (40 percent from fat), 8 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), 44 milligrams cholesterol, 3 grams carbohydrates, 24 grams protein, 237 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber