Explosive Flavors of Thai Swordfish

Explosive Flavors of Thai Swordfish

Last month my husband and I went to Copenhagen for our 10-year anniversary and had a food extravaganza. As written in a previous post, we had dinner at Noma, the world’s #1 rated restaurant, which was fascinating. Definitely one of the most interesting and inspiring dinners we’ve ever eaten. I’d have to say our most delicious meal while in Copenhagen, however, was at Kiin Kiin – the world’s only Thai restaurant with a Michelin star. The experience was just awesome. The whole experience was great — from the warm welcome upon our arrival, to the series of unbelievably delicious snacks we were served in the living room-like lower floor, to the explosive and delicious flavors of the main meal upstairs.

Some of the ‘snacks’ we were served (there were a series of 10 in rapid fire, each being a single bite) included spiced lotus root fried to a crisp, a flan made with miso, a tiny cup of cold soup flavored with lemongrass, chicken satay, and a soy-flavored meringue. We enjoyed a very nice chat with Chef Henrik Yde, who was friendly and happy to talk about his visits to our home town, San Francisco.

Following our snacks accompanies by a great glass of bubbly, we were escorted to a table in the relatively small dining room upstairs. There are no choices to be made at Kiin Kiin…the menu is a 6-course tasting of what Chef Henrik has decided to cook. Trust me, that’s a great thing since his cooking is absolutely chock full of flavor! Literally every dish was delicious, perfectly prepared, beautifully presented and just wildly flavorful. I think my favorite was the inspiration for this recipe. It was a small piece of perfectly cooked swordfish, served with a mind-blowingly flavorful sauce of lime juice, fish sauce, some garlic and fresh cilantro and mint. The sauce was made tableside with a mortar and pestle, and I recommend you do the same with this recipe, although certainly a mini food processor will also do very well.

Swordfish with Thai Lime and Fish Sauce (serves 4)

4 filets of fresh swordfish, skin removed, weighing 6-8 ounces each
sprinkling of kosher salt
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup fish sauce
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 serrano chile pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Pat the swordfish filets dry and sprinkle the top lightly with kosher salt. Set aside and make the sauce. In a mortar, grind the garlic, chile and sugar until you get a nicely blended paste. Add the mint and cilantro, and continue to grind until well blended. If the mortar is large enough, add the lime juice and fish sauce, and blend well. Otherwise, scrape the ground ingredients into a bowl, add the lime juice and fish sauce, and mix well. [Note: you can put all ingredients into a mini food processor and blend until well mixed and herbs, pepper and garlic are all finely chopped.]

In a large sauté pan, heat the sesame and vegetable oils over medium high heat. When hot, add the fish filets and cook until done, turning once, a total of about 6-8 minutes depending on thickness of the filets. They should be just opaque throughout.

Place the fish filets on a plate, drizzle with sauce and serve with steamed jasmine rice. Sautéed green beans with chiles and peanuts with a bit of soy sauce and mirin (sweet wine) or sautéed bok choy would be great side dishes.

Bon appétit!

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