By Chef Judi Gallagher –
It’s no secret that we all need to start thinking more about our food—from its source to how much we eat of whatever is on our plate. It’s scary how many foods these days are pumped full of hormones and preservatives and sugar—in fact, Mark Bittman just published a great op-ed in The New York Times about sugar and how toxic it is to our bodies (http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/27/its-the-sugar-folks/). Yikes.
As for me, I try to buy local, sustainably raised, organic produce, meat and other ingredients whenever possible—Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are great for that—and in general, I’m paying more attention to how and what I eat.
The good news is, so are chefs and restaurant owners. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, for example, now offers line-caught broiled Pacific swordfish on its menu (topped with warm fennel cream and served alongside Israeli couscous). You can find the recipe below.
Why are line-caught fish better than those caught from trawling with huge nets? Well, line-caught fish are generally from small-scale fisheries, and they’re free from stock-depletion problems that larger fisheries face. That said, you’ll want to be careful about the kind of line-caught fish you eat, too—for example, go for skipjack or yellowfin tuna caught by rod-and-line, not long lines, which may capture threatened species like seabirds, sharks or turtles. Again, you’ll want to make sure you buy your fish from small fisheries or from grocery stores that have good sustainable aquaculture programs in place. A little research is all it takes to find sustainable, line-caught fish near you, whether you want to cook it at home or have it prepared for you at a restaurant. And trust me, you’ll breathe a little easier when you eat something that you know is (a) good for you and (b) responsibly caught. Happy fishing!
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar’s Broiled Pacific Swordfish with Couscous and Fennel Cream Sauce
Fennel Cream sauce
½ ounce butter
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoon dry sherry
½ cup heavy cream
Pinch white pepper
3 ounces fennel root, roughly chopped
½ tsp. brandy
2 tablespoons white wine (recommended: Chardonnay)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon Pernod
Melt butter in a small sauce pot over medium heat. Add fennel and onions and cook for 5-6 minutes, until lightly caramelized. Stir often. Add brandy, sherry and wine—allow to light on fire, then simmer about two minutes, or until the flame is gone. Add cream, salt and white pepper and simmer four minutes more, or until cream is reduced by a quarter. Place the sauce in a blender with the Pernod and blend on high for 25-30 seconds. The sauce will have some texture. Reserve and keep warm.
Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add green onions, pine nuts and couscous and cook, stirring frequently, until couscous and pine nuts begin to toast and turn light brown — about four-six minutes. Add water, bay leaf, salt and pepper to the couscous and stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until couscous is tender and liquid is absorbed, about eight-10 minutes. Remove bay leaf; stir in chopped parsley.
¼ cups fennel cream sauce (recipe above)
1 recipe couscous (recipe above)
Season both sides of the swordfish with lime and garlic seasoning. Spray with cooking spray, then broil on each side for 2-3 minutes, or until the fish reaches 140 degrees on a hot grill. Heat herb oil in a small sauté pan over high heat, then quickly add tomatoes and cook for two minutes.
Warm the couscous. Divide among six plates; set swordfish over couscous. Divide the tomatoes over the swordfish on one side; ladle warm fennel cream sauce on the other side.
Chef Judi’s Grilled Wahoo
Some people will tell you that wahoo (called ono in Hawaii) is similar to swordfish and some will say mackerel, but it is neither. Wahoo is firm like swordfish but less oily than mackerel. Wahoo should not be cooked well done or it will be very dry. This is an adapted recipe from Bobby Flay.
2 tablespoons canola
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing dish
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 anchovies in oil, patted dry and chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 lemon zested and juiced
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat the grill to high. Brush both sides of the fillets with canola oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill until slightly charred and almost cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side, (it will continue cooking in the sauce). While the fish is grilling, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, anchovies and tomatoes and cook until slightly soft, about 4 minutes. Add the capers, olives, lemon juice, oregano and parsley and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer the fish to the sauce and let cook for 1 minute. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.
Snapper with Puttanesca Sauce
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tablespoon dried crushed chilies or crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1 tomato chopped
Fresh chopped parsley (for garnish)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 snapper fillets
1 tablespoon capers
1 cup putanesca sauce (store bought)
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion, garlic, chillies and capers and cook gently over medium heat until onion is soft. Add the tomatoes and wine. Reduce heat to low and simmer, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon as the sauce cooks. Once sauce begins to thicken add the fish fillets and push them down into the pan. Cover and cook over low heat until the fish flakes with a fork, about 15 minutes. Serve over fresh linguini and garnish with chopped parsley.