Thursday, February 21, 2013

Swordfish with a Caribbean Flavor

Still need to finish the Pho post, but I wanted to get a few recipes up this morning before I forgot them.

The inspiration for this meal was pretty simple. Dad wanted swordfish for his birthday, mom wanted to try a new recipe for asparagus, and I needed something to tie them together. We play kind of quick and loose with the definitions of different cuisines, so we'll call this a Caribbean-inspired dish. Not terribly accurate, but it looks like an island dish.

Swordfish and Purple Yam Sauce
So what's on the plate?

The base is a quick-pickle of carrots and daikon radish. Next is the swordfish, topped with mango salsa made with charred red onions. The sauce is made out of purple yams and habaneros, and the asparagus is cooked in butter and soy for a nice umami kick. Dad cleaned his plate, so we must have done well.

Listed in the order you should prepare them, here are the recipes.

Mango Salsa
1/2 red onion, charred
1 small mango
1 jalapeno, seeded
2 TBSP Cider Vinegar
1 TBSP Agave Nectar (or about the same of brown sugar dissolved in a little water)
Salt and Pepper, to taste

The real key to getting a good flavor here is charring the onion. Peel and cut into thick slices, 1/2 inch or so. Brush the slices with oil, then grill over high heat until each side is blackened. You don't want to cook the onion completely through, just soften it a bit. You'll end up with a little sweetness where it cooked, but a good onion kick inside.  Set aside to cool, and dice the mango and jalapeno. Save a few nice rings from the onion, and dice the rest. Combine all ingredients, salt to taste, and put in the refrigerator until time to serve.

Quick-pickled Vegetables
2 Carrots
1 Small Daikon Radish
2 TBSP Rice Vinegar
2 TBSP Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Julienne vegetables. Mix vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and whisk until smooth. Dress vegetables at least 20 minutes before serving and chill. This would work with just about any vegetable. The dressing is a much lighter and tangier version of a vinaigrette and adds a nice bit of bite to the raw vegetables.

Purple Yam Sauce
2 TBSP Purple Yam Powder (look for it at the International Market)
4 TBSP Water
1 TBSP Agave Nectar
1 TBSP Habanero Sauce
Splash of cider vinegar
Pinch of salt

Purple Yam Powder, as I found it, is typically used to make a dessert pudding. But spiced up with habaneros, it makes a great sauce as well. Mix powder and water over a medium flame. Heat and stir until thick and smooth. Add agave, habanero, vinegar and salt and whisk again. Keep warm over very low heat until ready to serve.

Grilled Swordfish
4 Swordfish steaks (6-8 oz each)
2-3 TBSP Apricot preserves
Salt and pepper

Melt preserves in microwave or over low heat, just long enough to make them runny. Brush over both sides of fish and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat for 4-5 minutes per side. Top with a reserved charred onion ring filled with mango salsa.

Soy and Honey Asparagus
1 lb Asparagus
2 TBSP Honey
2 TBSP Soy Sauce
2 TBSP Butter
1 Clove Garlic

Mince garlic. Melt butter over medium heat and whisk in soy, honey and garlic. Add asparagus, toss to coat, and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. This is not an original recipe, but I'm not sure where Mom found it. If anybody wants to claim it, let me know and I'll link to your site.

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