Grilled Swordfish with Clams and Broth-Like Miso Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:


    Main-course Servings

Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

Miso provides a simple and savory addition to the cooking liquid from fish and shellfish. Keep in mind, however, that miso is very salty, so it must be used sparingly, especially with the salty cooking liquid from clams or mussels. This technique—surrounding grilled seafood with miso- and shellfish-scented broth—can be used with any firm-fleshed fish. Shiso or kinome leaves are typical Japanese garnitures, but tiny watercress or mint sprigs will also work. The swordfish steaks may also be glazed with Teriyaki Sauce. If the ingredient amounts in this recipe are halved (cut the clams down to 12 and use smaller swordfish steaks), the dish works well as a first course.


littleneck clams, scrubbed 20 20
basic dashi 3 cups 750 ml
swordfish steaks, 6 to 8 oz (175 to 250 g) each 4 4
peanut oil or vegetable oil 2 tsp 10 ml
sansho powder or black pepper 1 tsp 5 ml
red miso 2 tbsp 30 g
kinome leaves, shiso leaves, or watercress sprigs 4 4


  1. Simmer the clams in a covered pot with the dashi for about 12 minutes. When the clams have all opened, remove the top shell from each clam and reserve the clams, nestled in their bottom shells. Slowly pour the cooking liquid into a small saucepan, leaving any grit or sand behind.
  2. Brush the swordfish steaks with the oil and sprinkle with the sansho powder or pepper. Grill or sauté the swordfish.
  3. While the swordfish steaks are grilling, work 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) of the clam cooking liquid into the miso and return this mixture to the rest of the cooking liquid. Gently reheat the clams in the miso broth.
  4. Place the swordfish steaks in wide soup plates and ladle the miso broth around them. Place 5 clams around each serving. Garnish with the kinome leaves.