Swordfish Souvlaki with Vegetables and Barley Salad

Salmon souvlaki. Photo by E4024 via Wikimedia Commons

The Greek diet is well-known for its health benefits. Fresh fish is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Choose fish that are wild-caught and sustainable. For farmed fish, look for the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified farmed responsibly label and for wild fish the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) when shopping for fish. More information about sustainable fish is available online at www.asc-aqua.org and www.msc.org.

Swordfish Souvlaki

2 pounds swordfish steaks

Greek sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Rinse and pat dry the swordfish steaks with a paper towel. Cut the swordfish steaks into even-sized pieces and season the swordfish with salt and pepper. Skewer with flat metal skewers so the pieces will not rotate when you try to turn each skewer.

For the dressing:

4 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 tablespoons lemon zest

2 teaspoons cumin

2 garlic cloves minced

1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

2 lemons, cut in half

2 medium eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch-thick slices

1 bunch scallions, trimmed

1 pound cherry tomatoes

Greek extra virgin olive oil for brushing the fish and vegetables

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, coriander, lemon zest, cumin, minced garlic, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Heat to high and clean grill, and oil it 10-15 times to get a good coating on the grill so the fish will not stick. The oil creates a nonstick barrier. Reduce heat to medium high.

Skewer the cherry tomatoes to make them easier to grill and turn all at once. Brush the fish and vegetables with olive oil, the eggplant slices, skewers of cherry tomatoes, lemon halves, and scallions, placing the eggplant first on the grill since it will take longest to cook, then the cherry tomatoes, the fish skewers, lemon halves, and the scallions. After turning once, remove the vegetables when done, the scallions first, lemon halves, tomatoes, then the fish. If preferred check the temperature with a food thermometer to be sure the fish is done. It should read 140 degrees F. Finally remove the eggplant.

Squeeze the grilled lemons into the dressing made earlier, and then chop the cherry tomatoes, the scallions, and eggplant and add to the bowl with the dressing. Plate the vegetables first and then add the fish on top. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if preferred.

Barley Salad

2 cups pearled barley

6 cups water

Greek sea salt

3 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Freshly ground pepper

2 cups cherry tomatoes

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 cup crumbled feta

1/2 cup olives

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (optional)

In a large saucepan, combine the barley, water, and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce to medium and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes.

Allow the cooked barley to cool slightly, then transfer to a salad bowl. Add the olive oil, vinegar, tomatoes, red onion, feta, and olives. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh mint, if using. Drizzle with additional olive oil, if preferred. Serve immediately.