When we lived in Maine, we dreamed of growing several herbs that just weren't happy with our wintry climate. We did everything we could to coax rosemary and basil plants through the winter, so we could cook with them, or simply to brush our hands against a sprig and dream we were in Paradise… instead of our frigid, ice-coated ring of Dante's Inferno.
To make our lives happier in that cold clime, we eventually added a "conservatory" to the west side of our home - a place of warmth and sunshine. "Conservatory" is certainly an exaggeration for our half octagon bump-out that barely accommodated two chairs, a tiny table, and all our potted plants.
|Easter dinner in the conservatory. Note the jasmine, |
another plant that didn't like our winters, and the forced forsythia.
Cathy gave me the recipe but it is long lost, so I’ve reinvented it, using my mother's marinade for swordfish steaks, and then creating a lemon-butter sauce for serving. I grilled grape tomatoes as a side, and they were such a good complement that they have become part of the recipe.
Whether you live south of the equator and are enjoying high summer, or are up here in the north enduring winter and dreaming of Italian gardens or the Côte d'Azur, you should make this. I assure you that you will be transported. If you can't barbecue in the winter, these can be done on a grill pan on the stove, or in the oven under the broiler.
And - as a nice side benefit - the cooking/burning bay leaves smell like incense.
Swordfish Skewers with Bay Laurel and Lemon-Mustard Sauce
1 1/2 pounds swordfish steaks, skin removed
1/2 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
40 grape tomatoes (approximately)
24-30 fresh bay leaves *
4 tablespoons butter
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 metal skewers **
Cut the swordfish into equal cubes - about 1 1/4-inch - and place them in a glass dish. Pour over the olive oil, then squeeze over the lemon juice. Season with the salt and set aside to marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
When marinated, remove the cubes from the marinade and add the tomatoes to the marinade, and toss. Using 4 skewers, place the swordfish cubes on the skewers with a bay leaf between the cubes; start and finish each skewer with the swordfish. Set aside on a platter.
Divide the grape tomatoes among another 4 skewers, and add them to the platter with the fish. Pour any remaining marinade over the fish and tomatoes. Allow to rest at room temperature while you heat the grill to high.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the grated zest, lemon juice, dried mustard, and salt. Whisk together; keep warm.
Grill the swordfish skewers for a couple of minutes on each side - your timing will vary depending on the thickness of your swordfish and the heat of your grill. The bay leaves may catch on fire (that's when you can enjoy the scent of incense!) but that is not a problem. Test a cube before removing from the fire. When done, place the skewers on 4 plates and drizzle with the lemon-butter sauce with tomatoes and add a rice pilaf on the side.
* Fresh bay leaves are now popping up in grocery stores in their fresh herbs section. If you need to use dried bay leaves, soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to skewering them but be prepared - they will burn.
** I prefer metal skewers; no matter how long I soak the wooden ones, they burst into flames.