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Grilled Pumpkin Swordfish with Green Masala Sauce on a square plate

Pumpkin Swordfish with Green Masala Sauce

A rare but delicious delicacy – Pumpkin Swordfish is in season (well, kind of) and it’s the best swordfish you ever ate!
With a gorgeous “pumpkin” color ~ it’s a sweeter variety that is more buttery in flavor with a juicy texture.


Of course you can use this recipe with any swordfish… I’m just showing off my catch!

Grilled Pumpkin Swordfish with Green Masala Sauce on a square plate
Grilled Pumpkin Swordfish lightly seasoned and grilled with a vibrant Green Masala Sauce enriched with Coconut Milk                                                                                                                                                                                                        

The availability of “Pumpkin” swordfish is tricky, when fishermen catch this rare variety – it’s a surprise!

I lightly seasoned my fillets, not to overpower the natural sweet taste of the fish and grilled it indoors using a cast iron grill pan (instead of my BBQ ~ winter in CT is cold!) I plated it with a delicious, flowing Green Masala Sauce.

The sauce is made by blending fresh herbs and Indian seasonings, then heating it so the flavors pop – and adding coconut milk for a creamy consistency.

A cut of rare Pumpkin Swordfish
This is the color of Pumpkin Swordfish!

I found mine this past weekend – caught in Cherry Point, South Carolina and brought to my local Farmers’ Market in Greenwich, CT by The Local Catch.    


The Method:
Lightly season the swordfish – not to overpower it’s natural sweet flavor.
Grill to perfection, paying attention not to overcook it.
Make a Green Masala Paste in a blender – then add coconut milk and seasonings to a pan – makes a delicious Green Masala Sauce with a creamy consistency – and cook gently, not to dull it’s vibrant green color.

This is where I scored this fish:

I found my Pumpkin Swordfish this past weekend – caught in Cherry Point, South Carolina and brought to my local Farmers’ Market in Greenwich, CT by The Local Catch.
Rich, the owner of The Local Catch, chatted with me about this uncommon fish.
A little background –  The Local Catch is based in Rhode Island, catches and sells fish from their boat and neighboring fishermen friends in the region. Expanding his sales, and excluding middlemen, he has been selling at numerous farmers’ markets, and this has been a great boost to his sales.
Yay for us who live near one… fresh caught fish – and on your table the next day! And, you help your local commercial fishermen stay in business.

Captain Rich explained “the best time of year for local swordfish is July through December, but occasionally we do get some by-catch throughout the year.” Does the color of the swordfish meat can vary depending on what the fish has been feeding on?  The orange color of pumpkin swordfish some say indicates that it has been feeding off of krill and shrimp for its distinct color.
Although Rich thinks it is its own subspecies, and I’m leaning toward that theory too. Could this catch also abundant when the moon phase is high? Another theory I’ve heard!
He never knows when a fisherman will bring in “pumpkin” sword – and it can sell out quite quickly, with the price tag of $21 a pound… it’s a steal for the quality.

Why is the orange color a valued pick?
The taste! Pumpkin Sword is known for its sweet taste and tender, juicy meat – see what a beautiful sheen it has!
Some say it’s almost like getting a very high-end steak that melts in your mouth.” Swordfish meat is relatively firm, and can be cooked in ways more fragile types of fish cannot.

Ingredients for Green Masala Paste on a wooden board.
Ingredients for the Green Masala Paste – including whole garam masala – which I process in a spice grinder
The finished Green Masala Paste – think of it as an Indian-Style pesto!

Green Masalas are used in curries and stir-fries. I make a Green Masala Paste with green herbs and spices, and make a sauce with it. Nothing can beat home-made masalas, especially the flavors they impart when they are freshly blended.
Masala is a kind of mixed spices used in a curry to add more flavor and taste to it.
The word masala simply means “spices,” and garam translates to “hot.” So – garam masala is a blend of ground spices used extensively in Indian cuisine.

Green Masala Paste (left) with Green Masala Sauce - just off the stove
Green Masala Paste (left) with Green Masala Sauce – just off the stove

*Garam Masala Seasoning is a vibrant mix of spices with a slightly warming, sweet, pungent taste which includes:  coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, black & green cardamom, mace and bay leaves. I bought mine in whole form from Kalustyan’s in NYC, and ground it in my spice grinder.

Grilled Pumpkin Swordfish with Green Masala Sauce on a square plate

Pumpkin Swordfish with Green Masala Sauce

A rare but delicious delicacy – Pumpkin Swordfish is in season (well, kind of) and it’s the best swordfish you ever ate!With a gorgeous “pumpkin” color ~ it’s a sweeter variety that is more buttery in flavor with a juicy texture.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Pumpkin Swordfish Fillets preferably ¾ inches thick
  • 1/2 teaspoon  garam masala seasoning* see note
  • 2 teaspoons neutral oil such as expeller pressed safflower oil

Green Masala Paste: Makes 2/3 cup

  • 1 cup parsley or cilantro washed & dried (firmly packed)
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves washed & dried; packed (Use additional mint leaves for garnish)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger peeled and chopped 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh garlic peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon hot green chiles stemmed and chopped –jalapeño or serrano (serranos are hotter!)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala seasoning
  • 6 tablespoons neutral oil such as expeller pressed safflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons filtered water

Finish the Dish:

  • 2 teaspoons neutral oil such as expeller pressed safflower oil
  • 1/4 cup onions peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk not “lite”
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure cane sugar

Instructions

Prepare the Swordfish:

  • Cut fish into 4 even pieces (from 2 “steaks”) Clean and dry – place on a plate, rub in 2 teaspoons of oil, sprinkle one side with the garam masala. Alternately, you can season with salt & pepper. Add to a plate to fit, set a side (or refrigerate.)

Make the Green Masala Paste:

  • Place the next 8 ingredients in the carafe of a blender. Blend from low heat to medium, scraping down the carafe once with a rubber spatula.
    Run on medium speed for about one minute until it is smooth and a vibrant green. Can be made a few days ahead; place in a glass container with a good seal in the refrigerator.

Make the Green Masala Sauce Sauce:

  • To a medium sized 1  1/2 quart pan, add 2 teaspoons of neutral oil, set heat to low. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes until translucent, but not colored. Add 1 teaspoon of garam masala, cook for 30 seconds, so the flavor just pops.
    Add 4 tablespoons of the Green Masala paste – stir for 30 seconds. Add the coconut milk – bring to a simmer, stir well and remove from the heat. (Cooking too long will dull the vibrant green color.)
    Add the lemon juice, sea salt and sugar; stir in. Taste for seasonings.

Cook the Swordfish:

  • Heat a cast iron grill pan, or your favorite pan with a small coating of neutral oil to medium – high heat. (Can use your outdoor bbq too!) When hot, add the swordfish, seasoned side down and cook until very golden in color.
    Turn over with a metal spatula and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook until almost cooked through – you do not want to overcook swordfish – it will continue to cook a bit off the heat. Season with a sprinkle of sea salt.

To Serve:

  • Add a pool of the sauce (a good portion) on individual plates or platter. Reheat the sauce gently if needed. Top with swordfish and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Another nice garnish is thin-cut, julienned scallions (add to ice water and it will curl nicely!)

Notes

* Garam Masala Seasoning, used in Indian cuisine, is a vibrant mix of coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, black & green cardamom, mace and bay leaves. I bought mine in whole form from Kalustyan’s in NYC, and ground it in my spice grinder.
This recipe may not be reproduced without the consent of its author, Karen Sheer.
COURSE: Main Course
CUISINE: American, Indian Influence
KEYWORDS: Green Masala Blender Sauce, Green Masala Sauce, Pumpkin Swordfish
Nutrition Facts
Pumpkin Swordfish with Green Masala Sauce
Amount per Serving
Calories
656
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
50
g
77
%
Saturated Fat
 
14
g
88
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
6
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
26
g
Cholesterol
 
150
mg
50
%
Sodium
 
214
mg
9
%
Potassium
 
1191
mg
34
%
Carbohydrates
 
6
g
2
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
47
g
94
%
Vitamin A
 
1665
IU
33
%
Vitamin C
 
24
mg
29
%
Calcium
 
62
mg
6
%
Iron
 
4
mg
22
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Grilled Pumpkin Swordfish with Green Masala Sauce on a square plate

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