Saturday, April 13, 2013

swordfish with chile pesto.

I was spoiled (like all New Yorkers) earlier this week when the sun shone bright and the air was warm and I could sit outside for 10 minutes during the middle of the work day to read a book and not need to wear a jacket.  And then psyke! The rains came and the clouds poured in and the temperature dropped so much that I needed to take that heavy black coat back out of the closet and throw it back on in order to leave the house without freezing to death.  (The weather is playing mean games with my head.)  Those few days of warmer weather convinced me that spring produce was coming.  That I was just a few short days away from seeing asparagus arrive and peas make an appearance and that soon all my meals would include freshly picked green produce.  This is a lie.  I still have a few more weeks and I am mad about this.  I am feeling duped and deceived but instead of spending the next few weeks sulking I figured I needed to look for new ways to find the taste of spring which is how I found myself consulting my file of Mexican recipes.  Some would consider Mexican food rather heavy but that is the more Americanized version of Mexican food.  Typical Mexican food is all about citrus and chiles and lean proteins.  Ingredients that pack a lot of punch and flavor.  This recipe for Swordfish with Chile Pesto is the perfect transition to spring dish.  It's light and easy (as the weather warms up cooking should become easier and quicker).  The pesto is smoky, spicy, and complex making it the perfect accompaniment to simple grilled swordfish and creamy avocado.  It's a new way to look at spring.  

Swordfish with Chile Pesto
Recipe via Tasting Table 

Serves 4 - 3 Tacos each (I also think you could slice the swordfish smaller and use 16 tortillas, up to you!)  

This makes a decent amount of pesto which is a good thing in my book.  I am envisioning using the leftovers to make a Mexican chicken salad or just using some as a condiment on a grilled chicken and avocado sandwich.  

Chile Pesto

Dried guajillo chiles, 5 (stems removed and seeds discarded)
Dried ancho chiles, 3 (stems removed and seeds discarded)
Water, 1½ cups (boiling)
Extra-virgin olive oil, ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon
Pumpkin seeds (pepitas), ½ cup
Limes, 3 (2 juiced and 1 sliced into wedges for serving)
Cilantro leaves, ¼ cup
Red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon
Garlic cloves, 3 (roughly chopped)Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon
Finely ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon


Swordfish, two 8-ounce steaks
Extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Corn tortillas, 12 (warmed for serving)
Avocado, 1 (halved, pitted and thinly sliced)

Make the pesto: In a medium bowl, add the Guajillo chiles, Ancho chiles, and boiling water. Cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap and set aside for 15 minutes. Use the tongs to transfer the chiles to a paper towel-lined large plate. Reserve ½ cup of the chile water and discard the rest.

In a small skillet set over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and the pumpkin seeds. Cook, using the wooden spoon to stir frequently, until the pumpkin seeds are golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pumpkin seeds to a blender or a food processor and add the reserved, softened guajillo and ancho chiles, ¼ cup of the chile water and the extra-virgin olive oil, lime juice, cilantro leaves, red pepper flakes, roughly chopped garlic, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.  Process until the pesto is smooth, adding more of the remaining ¼ cup of chile water if needed to thin and smooth the mixture. Use the rubber spatula to scrape the mixture into a medium bowl and set aside.

Make the swordfish: Season both sides of the swordfish steaks with extra-virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Place a grill pan over medium heat and add the swordfish. Cook until marked from the pan, about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the swordfish steaks over, cooking the other side until the fish is cooked through, about 2 – 3 minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board and rest the swordfish for 5 minutes before slicing crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces. Arrange the swordfish on the serving platter and serve with the chile pesto and the warmed corn tortillas, avocado slices, and lime wedges.             

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