Grilled Swordfish, Fresh Tomato Relish and Sautéed Ramps

We make grilled swordfish as soon as the weather is warm enough to fire the grill up – we use a quick marinade and serve it up with tomatoes and ramps.

Grilled Swordfish, Fresh Tomato Relish and Sautéed Ramps

I’m going to set a little scene for you. Ready?

It’s a warm, early summer evening and after days of torrential, flooding rains, the sky finally clears and you can see a million stars. You can smell the damp earth and the new leaves on the trees. You can hear the frogs that have just woken up from their winter-long sleep. You pull up to the lovely, perfect little restaurant where you’ve reserved a table, excited because you’ve heard great things about it and also because it’s been a long, hard winter and you haven’t gone out in what feels like forever. You hold your husband’s hand as you walk to the entryway, listening to a stream gurgling in the distance that you can’t see because it’s the country and it’s dark. You walk in and the place is adorable and there’s a seasonal cocktail menu written on the chalkboard above the bar and then they seat you at a table RIGHT NEXT TO PETER FRIGGIN DINKLAGE.

Yup. In the car on the way to the restaurant, Matt and I talked about how there was no Game of Thrones on Sunday because of Memorial Day and then they seat us right next to Tyrion Lannister himself. How tempted was I to say the waitress “Bring us bread, two of those little fish, and some bacon burned black?”  Very. But I restrained myself. Just barely.

Oh, and they also had grilled ramps. So, yeah. It was a good night.

In fact, it was their deliciously simple ramp side dish that inspired me to make ours in a similar way the next evening with the swordfish we had picked up from the farmer’s market.

The marinade for the grilled swordfish is incredibly simple and the whole thing takes less than twenty minutes to make, start to finish. What I like about the relish is that, of course it’s best with perfect, late summer tomatoes, but because it needs to sit in a little bath of basil and olive oil, even spring tomatoes end up delicious.  We make this all summer long, though of course the ramps are an early spring treat.

Grilled Swordfish, Fresh Tomatoes Relish and Sautéed Ramps
Soak the ramps in cold water to get all the soil off.
Nerd Tips:
  • This marinade is not just great for grilled swordfish, but for any kind of seafood you like to grill, including shrimp.
  • Get the grill really hot and don’t mess with the fish once you put it down. That keeps it from sticking.
  • If your tomatoes are a little under-ripe, you can sauté them for a minute or two in the olive oil to soften them up a bit. Add the basil off the heat so it doesn’t turn black.
  • Clean the ramps well because they tend to be quite dirty. I like to soak them in several changes of cold water and then spin them dry.
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Grilled Swordfish, Fresh Tomato Relish and Sautéed Ramps

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings: 2


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 5 to 6-ounces each swordfish steaks
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes yellow or red, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • Course sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound ramps cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  • Prepare the grill (medium-high heat) or heat an indoor grill-pan on high. Whisk the oil, mustard, garlic, lemon juice, and thyme in a small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Pour the marinade over the fish (or marinate in a zip-lock bag) and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes. (any longer and the lemon will start to cook the fish).
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add the tomatoes, oil, basil, and vinegar. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste. Stir together and let sit for a few minutes so the tomatoes soften a little.
  • Take the fish out of the fridge and wipe some of the marinade off with a paper towel. Grill the fish until just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side (depending on thickness of steaks).
  • In a medium sauté pan on medium-high heat, add oil and butter and melt until foaming. Add the ramps and sauté, turning around the pan until the bulbs are slightly soft and gently brown in spots and the greens are wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
  • To serve: Transfer the fish to plates and spoon some tomatoes (and the juices) over the fish. Garnish with the sautéed ramps and serve.
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