This week’s French Friday’s with Dorie recipe choice, a delicious Mediterranean Swordfish with Frilly Herb Salad, instantly brought to mind our family’s supper table chatter when I was a kid. Throughout these impressionable years, my parents would unwittingly and not-so-unwittingly toss out those nuggets of advice, wisdom and “I think’s”, that helped shape the adult I became. But that was then, the Midwest in the Fifties and the Sixties. This is now. To lighten my load (those nuggets get heavy), it’s time to recycle and reboot. For now, just 3. Number 1 and 2, I’m on my own. The last, it’s Dorie to the rescue.
First, my father always told me to never, never buy a new car. “You lose too much value just driving it off the Lot,” he’d often remind me. “Always buy a good used car.”
Whether that’s still true or not, I wouldn’t know. My friends, colleagues and even my son-in-law, buy those sexy, sparkly new vehicles always advertised on Superbowl Sunday. I’m almost sure if I purchased a new car, paid cash, (always), and drove it off the Lot, the heavens would open up and rock and roll in despair. (2008, Lexus RX350, 79,351 miles, Used).
Two: always soar with the eagles. Again, my father. Translated, that means get up early: 5 A.M. Since I hailed from a rural Iowa farming community where many of the area’s residents soared, it seemed the norm. To this day, if it’s 5 A.M., my inner clock still insists the day must begin……or guilt rares its ugly head. That eagle-thing has plagued me my entire life. I’m currently working on a new inner-clock of my own. Haven’t I’ve earned the right (I ask myself)? Six A.M. is a win. Six-thirty A.M. is hedonistic. Sorry, Dad.
Third, my mom gets the credit here. If you look out your window and don’t see water, don’t buy, order or eat fish. No ifs, ands, fins or buts. Growing up in Iowa, we ate well but never anything that swam. Those were different times, before fish was shipped properly, safely and maintained its taste. You could, of course, buy frozen fish fillets-in-a-box. As I said, we never ate fish. My husband, Michael, was a midwestern boy and obviously his mother had served him fillets-in-a-box. The result? As an adult, if it was spelled f-i-s-h, he flat-out refused to eat it.
I like fish but am a newbie at cooking it. Although I look out my window here, see only mountains, no water, there is fresh fish to be caught. Since moving back to Aspen, my good friend, Judy Boyd, a talented caterer, has introduced me to her favorite purveyors and helped me source food products. That’s how I met Jose, the fishmonger at our local market two blocks away. He supplies me with sweet-smellin’ fish. This week’s swordfish was no exception.
For this recipe and because we’re going to cook it in a skillet, Dorie suggests 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick steaks, about 5 ounces each. (Jose was doubtful about this. A grimace. A frown.) The marinade, a combo of rosemary, lemons, capers, chiles and olive oil, provides it with the fragrance and flavor of the Côte d’Azur.
“It does double duty,” Dorie explains. “It moistens and boldly flavors the swordfish, then it turns it into a sauce, so that every last drop of goodness is captured.”
After marinating it for an hour (I did four), remove from the marinade to cook it in a skillet warmed with olive oil. You want it to be opaque in the middle – not rare – so cook at least three minutes on each side.To serve, heat the marinade and pour it carefully over the four servings of fish. Top each piece of fish with herb salad tossed in lemon juice and olive oil. Any veggie will work but green beans are my choice. This is a fabulous entrée to serve to your family or guests. So simple. So elegant. So you see, I am learning from the best. Dorie “does” fish very well.
I’m driving to California this week-end to help my granddaughter, Emma, celebrate her twelfth birthday. And, yes, I just checked, wearing clean underwear! (Thanks, Mom.)