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Grilled Swordfish

One of the joys of summer on the East End of Long Island is the local seafood and vegetables. I have memories of many nights of eating on the screened-in dining porch off our old house on Georgica Pond. For me, there is nothing better than a dinner of grilled swordfish paired with fresh tomatoes and lightly steamed corn—corn so sweet you don’t even need butter. This is a variant of that classic meal, where the use of pine branches adds a deliciously woody smokiness to the fish.

In my novel Indiscretion, much of the action seems to revolve around food, whether cooked at home or consumed in restaurants. The heroine, Maddy, is a great amateur cook. In fact, when we first meet her, she is marshaling a squad of helpers in her kitchen during a party that her husband Harry has organized. She cooks because it gives her pleasure but also because it is a way for her to express her love for those she loves. In the first part of the book this is a meal she prepares for friends who have slogged their way out from New York on the Long Island Expressway on a Friday in July. It is a simple dinner but, along with a cocktail to take the edge off and a few glasses of cold white wine, on a summer night in the Hamptons nothing could be more perfect.


2 one lb. swordfish fillets

Salt and pepper (to taste)

1 lemon

Dry pine branches approx. 12 inches long

Long-handled folding grill


Salt and pepper the swordfish to taste. Open folding grill. Line with several pine branches (2-3 should be sufficient.) Place swordfish on bed of pine branches. Lay a few more branches on top. Close grill.

Hold over an open fire pit for 2-3 minutes per side. (It is best to cook over an open fire pit or charcoal grill, but an electric grill will suffice if no alternative.)

Remove from grill and plate.

Squeeze lemon and serve.

Serve, as mentioned above, with tomato slices and lightly steamed corn on the cob. A warm baguette would also be a nice addition. For dessert, fresh fruit with vanilla ice cream.