I love a good 30 minute meal, and this one definitely fits the bill. I created a variation of this Swordfish with Tomato Olive Relish when I was working at Whole Foods Market. I’m curious to check out their lowered prices, by the way!
I taught cooking classes there and I’d frequently get requests for quick dinners. I saw many, many customers stop by Whole Foods Market on their way home, often to gather ingredients for a quick meal. It was 6pm by the time many of these customers came through the doors, so time-saving ideas were quite popular.
Around the late afternoon rush each day, I’d stand there cooking, offering samples and recipe cards. Watching customers around free food was always pretty entertaining. Most people would ask if they could have a second sample, but plenty of folks just grabbed one anyway. I had quite a few of these “repeat customers” whenever I was making something like meat or seafood.
One time I made crab cakes, and I displayed a crab cake with garnishes to show customers the finished dish. Part way through the demonstration, I had to run back to the kitchen to grab something. I set out plenty of samples, but came back all of 30 seconds later to find a big bite taken out of the crab cake display, and the hungry customer nowhere to be found. I got a good laugh out of it once my initial annoyance dissipated.
This recipe for Swordfish with Tomato Olive Relish was quite popular when I was teaching classes, though I’ve swapped a few ingredients and changed up the technique to share with you here.
I love the idea of a blender doing the work for me, especially after a long day. A food processor would work great here too. I started with pulsing a garlic clove in the blender (here’s the one I use) until it’s chopped, then I added fresh grape tomatoes, olives, and capers. A few pulses in the blender creates a delightfully chunky sauce—no chopping required.
The recipe gives the option to use your choice of herbs for the sauce. I picked up this “Pasta Blend” from my local grocery store, which saved me from buying multiple containers of fresh herbs. I chopped up a little bit of all four herbs (basil, thyme, marjoram, and oregano) and added them to the sauce.
For fish fans looking for a heartier option, swordfish has a firm, meaty texture. It’s similar to tuna, but milder in flavor. You could swap in cod, salmon, whitefish, or really any fish here—just change up the instructions if the fillet isn’t quite as thick (the swordfish steaks were about ¾ of an inch thick). The sauce would be tasty on chicken as well.
I cooked the swordfish in a mixture of butter and olive oil. The butter promotes browning on the fish (provided you’ve patted it dry with a paper towel first) and the olive oil prevents the butter from burning while the fish is searing. This technique is great for chicken and steak, too.
For a side, I cooked ¾ of a cup of I Heart Keenwah Toasted White Quinoa (12oz Bag) with 1½ cups water and ½ teaspoon salt. I really like the I Heart Keenwah brand because the quinoa is toasted, eliminating that slightly bitter taste that raw quinoa has. It smells and tastes slightly nutty, too. I garnished the cooked quinoa with some extra thyme.
For the second side dish, I roasted a sheet pan of green beans. It’s my very favorite way to cook green beans—I love how they get soft and a little wrinkly, with toasted brown spots from the roasting. I spiced them up with red pepper flakes and kosher salt.
For meal planning purposes, this whole dinner should take about 30 minutes. Start on the green beans first and put then in the oven, then boil the quinoa with the water (follow instructions on the bag of quinoa). Then start the swordfish, and you’ll have dinner in the table half an hour later.
Swordfish with Tomato Olive Relish
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 7–8 oz swordfish steaks
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- ¼ cup kalamata olives or your favorite olive
- 2 teaspoons capers rinsed
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs thyme, basil, oregano, marjoram, or a mix of these, plus more for garnish
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- To serve: cooked quinoa or rice
- Heat a 10 inch skillet over medium high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the butter and olive oil.
- Pat the swordfish steaks with paper towels to dry, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the swordfish steaks in the hot skillet. Sear for 3–4 minutes on the first side.
- Meanwhile, place the garlic clove in a blender or food processor. Pulse until chopped. Add the grape tomatoes, olives, and capers. Pulse until roughly chopped (you want the mixture to be chunky).
- Flip the swordfish steaks and add the tomato mixture to the skillet. Cook for 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the swordfish is cooked through. Stir in the fresh herbs and serve with quinoa or rice.