For a fish taco with fresh, bold flavors, America’s Test Kitchen looked to the Yucatán Peninsula and the Pacific Coast for inspiration and fired up the grill. For simplicity they opted for skinless fillets instead of the traditional whole butterflied fish, and meaty swordfish to hold up better on the grill than typical flaky options like snapper and cod. Instead of using a citrus-heavy marinade for the swordfish, which add little flavor and cause fish to stick to the grill grate, they utilized a thick paste featuring ancho and chipotle chile powders, oregano, coriander, and just enough citrus juice to make it spreadable for flavoring it on the grill. The result is fish with a deep, flavorful charring without the sticking. Paired with refreshing grilled pineapple salsa, avocado, and crunchy iceberg lettuce, they create the perfect grilled swordfish tacos.
- vegetable oil
- dried oregano
- tomato paste
- orange juice
- corn tortillas
Steps for Making Delicious Swordfish Tacos
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil, ancho chile powder, and chipotle chile powder in 8-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and some bubbles form, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add oregano, coriander, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt and continue to cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer.
- Add tomato paste and, using spatula, mash tomato paste with spice mixture until combined, about 20 seconds.
- Stir in orange juice and 2 tablespoons lime juice.
- Cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly mixed and reduced slightly, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer chile mixture to large bowl and let cool for 15 minutes.
- Add swordfish to bowl with chile mixture, and stir gently with rubber spatula to coat fish.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter mounded with charcoal briquettes (7 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium-high.
- Clean cooking grate, then repeatedly brush grate with well-oiled paper towels until grate is black and glossy, 5 to 10 times.
- Brush both sides of pineapple with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Place fish on half of grill. Place pineapple and jalapeño on other half. Cover and cook until fish, pineapple, and jalapeño have begun to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Using thin spatula, flip fish, pineapple, and jalapeño over. Cover and continue to cook until second sides of pineapple and jalapeño are browned and swordfish registers 140 degrees, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Transfer fish to large platter, flake into pieces, and tent with aluminum foil. Transfer pineapple and jalapeño to cutting board.
- Clean cooking grate. Place half of tortillas on grill. Grill until softened and speckled with brown spots, 30 to 45 seconds per side. Wrap tortillas in dish towel or foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
- When cool enough to handle, finely chop pineapple and jalapeño.
- Transfer to medium bowl and stir in bell pepper, cilantro, and remaining 4 tablespoons lime juice.
- Season with salt to taste. Top tortillas with flaked fish, salsa, lettuce, and avocado.
- Serve with lime wedges and extra cilantro.
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