Grilled Swordfish with Rosemary Mayonnaise


There are as many accompaniments to grilled swordfish as there are combinations of ingredients, but the most successful in my restaurants have involved some form of ratatouille: eggplant either pureed and made spicy with coriander or roasted with garlic and herb oil, or mixed summer squash ragouts with butter and powerful fresh herbs. Because of its richness, swordfish certainly needs and can handle strong herbs, and I especially like rosemary with it. It is great with tapenade (a puree of black olives and capers) and really cries out for the saltiness and mystery of good anchovies. Buy canned salted whole anchovies, fillet them yourself with thumb and forefinger under running cold water, and hold them in oil. Far less salty or brine-filled than the canned fillets, they have a velvety texture and far more interesting flavor. Since Richard Olney showed me this method, I have won over hordes of people who “hate” anchovies. If you can find the rare pink swordfish from the Gulf Stream, buy that.

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  • 4 8-ounce pieces swordfish, 1 inch thick (or one 2-pound steak, to be carved when cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons mixed fresh thyme and marjoram leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6 medium Japanese eggplants, sliced lengthwise (or 1 large regular eggplant, cut into ¼-inch slices)
  • ¼ cup herb oil
  • 3 salted anchovies, filleted, soaked 10 minutes and drained (or 6 anchovy fillets)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, blanched
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup tomato vinaigrette


Rub the swordfish with a mixture of the thyme, marjoram and oil and let marinate for 30 minutes. Paint the eggplant slices with the herb oil and marinate 30 minutes.

Puree or very finely chop the anchovies and rosemary. Mix into the mayonnaise and let sit 30 minutes.

Start a charcoal fire or heat the grill or broiler.

Season and grill the eggplant on the coolest part of the fire for about 5 minutes on each side. Push to the side of the grill to keep warm. Cook the fish on the hottest part of the grill, turning it twice on each side to get grill marks if you want to, for no more than 5 to 6 minutes on each side, because swordfish should be medium rare. Cook a little longer if you have just taken the fish out of the refrigerator, but ideally the fish has been at room temperature for 15 minutes before you cook it.

Put the fish and eggplant on warm plates. Spoon some of the tomato vinaigrette over the fish and some mayonnaise over that. Serve both sauces separately.