SICILIAN SWORDFISH STEAKS  WITH BASIL-ORANGE PESTO

SICILIAN SWORDFISH STEAKS WITH BASIL-ORANGE PESTO

Although we call for swordfish steaks here, feel free to substitute other firm fish steaks including tuna, halibut, salmon, etc. A loaf of crusty bread and a salad featuring halved cherry tomatoes, chopped hearts of romaine lettuce, and small balls of fresh mozzarella dressed with a simple vinaigrette would complement the fish nicely.

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Ingredients

  • For the pesto:
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (1 large bunch)
  • 1 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley or baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts, toasted
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, asiago, or romano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea), or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • For the fish:
  • 4 swordfish steaks, each about 6 ounces and 1 inch thick
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • Coarse freshly ground black pepper
  • Orange wedges, peel on, and basil sprigs, for serving (optional)

Preparation

Start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 400 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.

In the meantime, make the pesto: In a blender jar or food processor, combine the basil, parsley, walnuts, orange juice, and orange zest and blend until finely chopped. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil in a stream until the mixture is emulsified. If it seems too thick, loosen it up by adding a small bit of water—a tablespoon or so. Scrape into a bowl and stir in the Parmesan. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed. The cheese is salty on its own, so go easy on the sodium.

Rinse the swordfish steaks under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Brush both sides with olive oil and season with salt and coarsely ground black pepper.

Arrange the swordfish steaks on the grill grate. Grill for 12 to 15 minutes, turning once with a thin-bladed metal spatula, until the swordfish is opaque and breaks into chunks when pressed with a fork. If desired, stick the probe of an instant-read meat thermometer through the side of the fish toward the center: You want a temperature of about 140 to 145 degrees F.

Transfer the steaks to a platter or plates. Drizzle with the prepared pesto and garnish with orange wedges and fresh basil, if desired.