Grilled Swordfish with Lemon, Dill & Cucumber Sauce; Plus Couscous Tabbouleh

You probably already know that you’re supposed to be eating fish twice a week. Fish are a lean, healthy source of protein. Keep in mind, mercury poisoning is still a concern when it comes to fish consumption, but there are ways to mitigate this risk. Because of high mercury levels in swordfish, limit consumption to once a week or less (I would go with the less concept)—and not at all if you’re pregnant. The FDA recommends only one 7-ounce helping per week of large fish, such as shark and swordfish.

IMG_7571If the weather is not cooperating outdoors, use an indoor grill pan to get similar results.

But, swordfish also offers many health benefits, especially for people who are following low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets. It has no carbohydrates and contains essential amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids. It contains a significant amount of fat—the majority of that fat consists of heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats. These fats aid in lowering cholesterol and the risk of coronary artery disease.

Delicate and light, this cucumber sauce has a loose texture that’s somewhere between a vinaigrette and a salad. It complements most any grilled fish, so feel free to substitute salmon, tuna or halibut steaks for the swordfish.


Along with the fish, more heart-healthy ingredients appear in the cucumber sauce and the couscous tabbouleh. To intensify the flavors of the couscous, I used homemade shellfish stock instead of water. And it seemed that 2 cups of parsley was overkill, so I incorporated only about 1/2 bunch and that seemed to be a good balance. Finally, since we had lots of sweet cherry tomatoes on the vine, I picked those for the tabbouleh instead of buying plum tomatoes.

Add in a side salad and you’ve got a healthy superstar meal!


Grilled swordfish with Lemon, Dill & Cucumber Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


For the sauce:

  • 1 medium English cucumber, peeled and finely diced to yield 2 cups
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh dill
  • 1 Tbs. minced shallot
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh mint

For the swordfish:

  • 1-1/2 Tbs. olive oil; more for brushing the grill
  • Six 1-1/4-inch-thick swordfish steaks (6 to 8 oz. each)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt


Make the sauce:

  1. Put the cucumber in a medium bowl. Add the lemon juice and the sugar, toss to combine, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Stir in the olive oil, dill, shallot, and mint, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Let sit for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.
  3. Taste for seasoning again just before serving and adjust if necessary.

Grill the swordfish:

  1. Clean and oil the grates on a gas grill and heat the grill to medium high, or prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire.
  2. Meanwhile, generously coat both sides of the swordfish with the oil and season both sides with salt. Let the fish sit at room temperature for 15 minutes (while the grill heats).
  3. Grill the swordfish steaks directly over the heat source (covered on a gas grill, uncovered on a charcoal grill), without touching, until they have good grill marks, 2 to 4 minutes.
  4. Flip the steaks and grill until the second sides have good grill marks and the fish is done to your liking, another 2 to 4 minutes. (Check for doneness by slicing into one of the thicker pieces.)
  5. Serve immediately, topped with the cucumber sauce.

Couscous Tabbouleh

With fresh lemon and plenty of herbs like mint and parsley, the tabbouleh is a wonderful complement to the fish.

Couscous Tabbouleh

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 6 Tbs. couscous
  • 1/2 cup shellfish stock (or water)
  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
  • 3 ripe plum tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 bunch chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice; more if needed


  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the couscous, 1 Tbs. of the olive oil, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
  2. Stir well, cover the pan, and let sit for 5 min. Fluff the couscous with a fork and spread on a large plate to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, season the tomatoes with 1 tsp. salt and a few generous grinds of black pepper. Add the couscous, parsley, scallions, and 1 Tbs. of the mint and toss.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and 3 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add to the couscous mixture and toss well. Taste and add more lemon juice if needed.
  5. Garnish with more mint if desired.

Both recipes are from Fine Cooking

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