It’s hot… and if you’re anything like me you’ll be looking for something light to eat in the evenings and often my mind wanders to fish. As a fresh fish I’m not always that fond of swordfish, but it cures beautifully, and its meaty texture stands up well to the curing process. The key here is the balance of flavour from the chutney, the anise flavour and acidity are important as they balance the sweetness of the tomatoes and the slight saltiness of the cured fish. The No.8 in the chutney provides backbone and depth to the dish.
Ingredients (serves 6 as a tapas):
1 bulb fennel
20g fennel seeds
100g Preserved tomatoes in oil (sun blush or homemade)
100g tomato concentrate
75ml date vinegar (cider will work too)
2 300g swordfish steaks
100g Tempus No.8
6 Lime wedges
Finely dice the fennel bulb and add to a heavy bottomed pan with the no.8, a dash of neutral oil and 10g of the fennel seeds. Sweat on a low heat for 10 mins until the fennel is soft and translucent and the no.8 has melted. Stir regularly to stop the fennel from catching.
Then add the date vinegar and reduce by half
Add the tomato concentrate and preserved tomatoes and cook on a very low simmer for a further 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
Allow to cool – this can be made well in advance and will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge covered by a thin layer of oil
Whilst the compote is chilling you can cure the fish
Liberally sprinkle the fillets on both sides with salt, sugar and fennel seeds – cover and refrigerate for 1hr
After an hour, remove from the fridge and wash thoroughly to remove cure, pat dry.
Cut the fillet into the required size pieces and grill – I cooked it over charcoal on a konro grill, but a griddle pan will work just as well.
Sear on a high heat for a minute either side – it will dry out if overcooked, so slightly under is preferable.
To serve, top the fillet with a spoon of the chutney, sprinkle with chives and finish with a good squeeze of lime juice.