Friday, January 16, 2009

Swordfish Baked in Foil with Mediterranean Flavors and Tabbouleh for Tyler Florence Fridays

For this weeks Tyler Florence Fridays pick, I bring you two recipes, both healthy and low in fat. Tyler, like most of my favorite chefs, makes a fair amount of "indulgent" recipes, but the healthy ones are there if you look for them. I found these recipes on the Food Network site, both from his Food 911 show. The first recipe, Swordfish Baked in Foil with Mediterranean Flavors, is from an episode entitled "Low Cal High Flavor" (here) and for a side dish, we have Tabbouleh, from an episode entitled "Falafel Fanatic" (here). (So, how can I get Tyler to make a 911 call to my kitchen?!)

I was lucky when I went to look for swordfish at Whole Foods and found they had some local swordfish, (called shutome here in Hawaii), on sale too. I love it when I can buy local Hawaii caught fish, which unfortunately is not always an easy thing to do here. The color of shutome varies from white to pink and it has a firm texture and a mild taste. It is often eaten raw, grilled or smoked. It should be cooked all the way through but it can get very tough and dry if over-cooked, so baking it in a foil packet really helps keep it moist by locking in the juices. 

Swordfish Baked in Foil with Mediterranean Flavors
Tyler Florence
Serves 4

4 fresh baby artichokes, trimmed and quartered
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 lemon, sliced thin
1/2 cup black olives
1/2 bunch fresh basil
8 sprigs fresh thyme
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 fish fillets, about 6 ounces each
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl combine the artichokes, tomatoes, lemon, olives, and herbs. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss together. Take an 18-inch piece of aluminum foil and fold it in half crosswise. Fold a 1-inch strip on each side over twice, once to close and once to seal; you should now have a pouch. Repeat for 3 more pouches. Season the fillets with salt and pepper and place 1 into each pouch. Add 1/4 of the artichoke mixture to each pouch. Fold over a 1-inch strip of the top twice to seal.

Place the packets onto a sheet pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish. Carefully open the pouches and place the fish and vegetables onto warm plates. Spoon any juices that have accumulated over the fish. Serve immediately.

Swordfish Notes/Results: Absolutely delicious!  The flavors were wonderful and the fish was so tender and moist. The fillets I had were probably closer to 8 ounces (the smallest ones they had), so I ended up cooking them about 30 minutes which turned out to be perfect. There were no baby artichokes to be had so I used canned ones which worked out fine. I rarely think about doing it, but I definitely need to cook more fish in foil packets like this as the amount of flavor you get, the lower fat and calories (about 1 tsp olive oil for each fillet) plus the zero clean up with the packet is ideal. I served it with the tabbouleh below but the juices from the fish would also be great spooned over rice. Two thumbs up on this recipe and it is a definite keeper.

Tyler Florence & Joanne Cianciulli
Makes 4-6 servings

1 cup bulgur wheat (fine-medium grind)
2 cups hot water
1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 2 cups)
1 bunch green onions, white and green part, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 hothouse cucumber, halved, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
2 large bunches fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 bunch fresh mint leaves, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons, juiced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Put the bulgur in a large bowl and pour in the hot water. Cover with a dish or plastic wrap and let stand for about 30 to 45 minutes to rehydrate. Drain in a strainer, pressing with the back of a wooden spoon to squeeze out as much water as possible. In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, onions, cucumber, parsley, and mint. Toss the salad well to incorporate the ingredients; season with cumin, salt and pepper. Add the bulgur; moisten with the lemon juice and olive oil. Fold everything together to incorporate the ingredients. The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours. Serve at room temperature.

Tabbouleh Notes/Results:  Good overall, very fresh tasting and satisfying. My one complaint would be it was almost too lemony for me and I am a big fan of the lemon. I would make it again but use just one lemon instead of two so the flavors of the parsley and mint can stand out a bit more.  I made this the day before, allowing the flavors to meld and was happy to have the leftovers as it is a great healthy salad for lunch and side dish for dinner. One and 1/2 thumbs up on this one, only because of the excess lemon.

Overall Results:  A healthy meal, that was both satisfying and delicious, proving you don't have to deprive yourself on that path to good health. In addition to the fish and tabbouleh, I had some "gigantes salata" or "giant bean salad"  prepared by Whole Foods. (I couldn't resist it when I was buying the kalamata olives for the fish).  

Don't forget to check out the other Tyler Florence Friday participants and see what they made and thought of their recipe selections this week at the TFF site here.  You can also get all the details to join TFF--where you choose what Tyler recipe you make!


  1. That is such a wonderfully summery meal. So healthy, vibrant and exciting.
    Makes me long for sunshine..
    Your pairings are perfect, although it is hard to imagine too much lemon! Maybe they were using the small, stingy lemons that are up here in the northern side of things..
    Is the second packet for me?

  2. mmm both sound delicious, I like cooking in foil too, nothing to clean up afterwards!

  3. Wow - you sure had a terrific dinner! And to top it off, easy cleanup too!

    I agree with Natashya, can there be too much lemon? But I guess in this case, yes!

  4. Hmmm. I'm sensing a lot of Middle Eastern cooking going on here, perhaps inspired by "The Language of Baklava"? Yum.yum.

  5. Great way to cook your fish, I've done the same method with my favorite fish, salmon! Those mouthwatering pics of yours make me hungry to go buy some fish!

  6. You are totally inspiring me to try to cook more fish. Your dishes are always so wonderfully colorful. I guess it is easy enough to cut down on the lemon, although that's kind of counterintuitive to me :-)

  7. What a very impressive, delicious dinner. So many flavors going on. It looks wonderful. And how great that you could get local fish.

  8. WOW! That looks amazing and so gourmet!! I have never made swordfish before. What does it taste like? Your photos are awesome!

  9. The combination of the two Tyler recipes sounds like a nice pairing. I have a recipe for salmon en papilotte from Julia Child. I love fish prepared that way. I think Tyler's version looks even better because of all the tasty add-ins. Artichokes... lemon... delicious!

  10. Your sword fish is great and I cook it often this way but I avoid cooking directly in aluminum foil after reading that it may cause Alzheimer so I wrap it in parchment paper first and then in aluminum foil. Tabbouleh is my favourite salad and so healthy.

  11. both sound delicious. i love swordfish and i've been wanting to make tabbouleh for a while.

  12. Those swordfish steaks are stunning! I don't often order swordfish because they look so white and wooden on the plate, but yours look just delicious.

    If I were going to buy a Tyler Florence book, where should I start?

  13. Natashya--thanks! I am usually crazy about lemon but maybe mine were much bigger than the ones Tyler used?!

    Kat--you have to love how easy it is!

    Megan--I never would have thought so but this was just a tad too much for the other flavors.

    Rachel--yep, I have to get in the mind set! ;-)

    Kim--yum--salmon would be great this way too!

    Cathy--fish is so good! I am always in the add more lemon and garlic camp too--so this was a surprise.

    Reeni--I know, I was so excited to find it local and fresh here.

    Susy--It is mild and slightly sweet--very tasty!

    Matt--thanks! the artichoke hearts were very good in it. Tyler did do well!

    Ivy--thanks! great tip to know too.

    Karen--thanks! both were very good.

    Foodycat--I lucked out on the swordfish. My Tyler picks would be Eat This Book and his new Stirring the Pot. If you go online at Food Network there are tons of his recipes too.


Mahalo for visiting and for leaving a comment. I love reading them and they mean a lot!

All advertising, spam, inappropriate (or just plain rude) comments will be promptly deleted. I do appreciate your right to free speech and to your opinion but I'm not into mean, rude, or mean snarky (non-mean snarky is just fine!) ;-)