Broiled Swordfish Provencal
by Charlie Burke

While “fresh” means the fish has never
been frozen; it does not guarantee that
it is of the highest quality.

Look for glistening, brightly colored fish
and do not hesitate to change from your
first choice if another looks better.
Always choose fresh over previously
frozen. The flesh should be firm and
bounce back if touched and should
smell only of the sea.

White fleshed species should have no yellow or gray discoloration. Build a
relationship with your fish monger, and you will be told what is best that day.
We do not hesitate to substitute fresh halibut, cod or, in the summer, bluefish,
which when handled correctly, is flavorful and not oily. Fresh striped bass is a
special warm weather treat in New England. We suggest you not buy Chilean
sea bass at the market or in restaurants because it has been over – fished and is
now endangered, in addition not being a local species.

Broiled fish fillets should be at least an inch thick, requiring a cooking time
sufficient to caramelize the surface and to develop the flavors in the sauce.
Broiled fish does not need to be turned; the top surface will be deeply browned
and is the only side seen by your guests. We like the combination of tomato,
garlic and herbs used in southern France, but white wine, capers and your
choice of herbs can be substituted. Simply rub the fish with olive oil and season
if you prefer to have no sauce. This technique remains the same, permitting
experimentation while providing reliable results, so feel free to add your
favorite herbs, wine or other ingredients to develop your own recipes.

For four:

2 pounds swordfish steaks, sliced at least 1” thick, removed from refrigerator
for 1 hour
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons each fresh oregano, rosemary and marjoram or
2 teaspoons dried
herbes de Provence
1 cup chopped tomato (best quality fresh tomato in summer or canned tomato,
such as Muir Glen organic tomatoes, if you do not have your own canned
½ cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons capers (optional)
1/4 cup chopped black olives such as Kalamata (optional)
Freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste

Preheat broiler and position rack approximately 3” from broiler element.

Salt and pepper both slices of fish and moisten with olive oil. Place remaining
olive oil and ingredients into a shallow oven - proof baking dish just large
enough to hold the fillets.

Broil for 10 minutes per inch of thickness (e.g. 12 ½ minutes for a 1 ¼” fillet).

Plate fish and divide sauce among them.

Serve this fish with a red wine, such as a Cotes de Rhone or a Rioja because the
Provencal sauce is too assertive for a white.

About the author
An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice president of
the New Hampshire Farmer’s Market Association ( and helps
run the Sanbornton Farmers' Market. Along with his wife, Joanne, he grows
certified organic herbs, greens and berries at Weather Hill Farm in Sanbornton,
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