Grilled Swordfish with Orange Scented Tapenade- for “3Ts”

This variation of tapenade meets the cranberry and citrus notes I pick up in this wine, making it a great candidate for sturdier seafood such as sword, sturgeon, or halibut. Swapping cherry syrup and/or dried cherries for cranberry and orange makes this a good partner for lamb, duck, or grilled Portobello chunks. 


1 cups oil cured olives, pitted

1 heaping ¼ cup orange flavored cranberries, soaked in ½ cup hot water

1 medium clove garlic, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon capers, salted preferred but brined is fine, soaked in 2 changes warm water 5 minutes each, then drained

1 teaspoon fresh savory (or marjoram, or thyme and oregano) or to taste, chopped very finely with a really sharp knife (If you only have dried herbs start with half the volume and work up as needed)

¼ cup orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed, or as needed

1-2 tablespoons white balsamic or white wine vinegar, or as needed

Black pepper to taste

Salt where needed

Olive oil as needed, preferably a milder one without too much bite and pepper to it- something like an Arbosana or Hojiblanca,

20 ounces swordfish (or other firm fish such as tuna, sturgeon, halibut, etc.) cut into 4 1-inch thick portions, trimmed of skin and bloodline


Put the garlic and cranberries, and 2 tablespoons oil into a food processor and process 10-15 seconds.

Add olives, capers, herbs, and a tablespoon of oil into processor and pulse to chop to a coarse paste.

With motor running, add orange juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Purée to form a loose paste. Stop motor and taste for balance. You may want to add more juice or vinegar, or herbs or pepper. The tapenade should have a balance of fruitiness from the olive, floral from the capers and herbs, and body from the garlic. All should be present, with no one element dominating the rest. Once completed, transfer to a jar. If not using right away, store in refrigerator for up to 2 months or more.

To complete the dish, heat a grill (or a 14-inch sauté or cast iron pan) until medium-high temperature. Clean grill or pan well.

While the grill heats up, season the fish with salt and pepper, then lightly oil. If you wish you could add garlic to the seasoning mix. Once the grill or pan is hot, cook fish, flipping half-way through. For swordfish and tuna, cooking time should be seven minutes per inch of thickness. For other fish it should be eight minutes per inch of thickness.

When fish is done, spoon tapenade over and spread around. Serve while fish is hot. This tapenade should be a little loose, so add oil and OJ if needed to loosen it up. Try serving this with salt roasted or double cooked potatoes, roasted pepper strips with oregano oil, and sautéed endive or escarole.

Serves: 4

Source: Chef Andrew E Cohen