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Swordfish with Panzanella


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  • 3/4 ¾ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups whole fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, halved horizontally and seeds squeezed out
  • 1/2 ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 ½ jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded, cored, and finely diced
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Pinch of hot red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 ¾ cup tomato juice, or more as needed
  • 3 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 ½ pound day-old or slightly stale country-style bread, crust removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Four 6-ounce center-cut fillets of swordfish, no thicker than ½ inch
  • Fresh basil sprigs, for garnish


Servings 4


Step 1

To make the basil oil:

In a blender, process the olive oil, basil leaves, garlic, and salt for about 2 minutes, until smooth and emulsified. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days in a tightly lidded container.

To prepare the panzanella:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Core the tomatoes and cut into 1-inch dice. Transfer to a bowl and add the sliced onion, jalapeño, basil, parsley, pepper flakes, tomato juice, vinegar, and about 1 tablespoon of salt or to taste. Toss well and adjust the seasoning with pepper and more salt. The tomato salad is best on the second day but can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

In another bowl, toss together the bread cubes, garlic, olive oil, and parsley. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring and turning to encourage even browning, or until lightly browned and crisp. Remove from the oven, transfer to a large plate or platter to cool, and set aside.

To prepare the fish:

In a shallow nonreactive dish, mix together the extra-virgin olive oil, thyme, and parsley. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the swordfish fillets and turn several times to coat. Cover and set aside at room temperature for up to 2 hours or in the refrigerator for 8 hours. (If it’s a very hot day and your kitchen is warm, do not leave the fish at room temperature for more than an hour or so.)

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill so that the charcoal or heating element is medium-hot. Very lightly spray the grates with vegetable oil spray to prevent sticking. Alternatively, preheat the broiler.

Lift the fish from the marinade, let it drip off, and season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes on one side. Turn over and grill for 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until the fish is opaque nearly all the way through.

Just before the fish is done, add the croutons to the tomato salad and toss well. There should be a lot of juice, but if not, add a little tomato juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Cut the bottom out of a plastic 1-pint container to help form the salad on the plates.

Position the pint mold in the center of one of the 4 plates. Pack the panzanella salad into it, allowing juices to flood the plate. Lift off the pint mold and repeat on the remaining plates. Rest a fish fillet on top of the salad and garnish each plate with a sprig of basil tucked behind the fish and a drizzle of basil oil.

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