Grilled Swordfish Skin with Grapefruit and Rainbow Swiss Chard Stems

Amy Brandwein

Centrolina, Washington, D.C.

For many people, the best part of a fish is the crispy skin. Amy Brandwein dispenses with pretense entirely to make the fish skin the star of the show in this crunchy, citrusy appetizer. Brandwein advises that this is a great use of any skin you have left over from other swordfish preparations, but you can also help reduce food waste on the retail level by asking your local fishmonger if they’ll sell you any swordfish skin that would otherwise be heading for the trash. Try this recipe with salmon skin, too. This recipe also makes use of the colorful stems of rainbow Swiss chard; the next time you are sautéing the green leaves, save the stems for this recipe.


  • 1 (6x6-inch) piece swordfish skin, from a 5-pound piece of swordfish (ask your fishmonger since it’s often discarded when the fish are cleaned for market)
  • Stems from 4 leaves of rainbow Swiss chard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 grapefruit, skin and pith removed
  • 1/4 lemon
  • 12 pieces micro-shiso and pea shoots (about 1/4 cup)
  • 12 leaves African blue basil or regular basil


Prepare the fish skin: using a sharp knife, cut the swordfish skin into rectangles, approximately 2x6 inches each. Set aside.

Make the rainbow Swiss chard: bring a small pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Boil the chard stems until tender, about 2 minutes, and place in an ice water bath. Remove the stems after they’ve chilled, about 5 minutes. Let the stems dry on a dishtowel-lined plate. Cut the stems into matchstick-size pieces. Place in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper, and dress with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil.

Cut the peeled grapefruit in half. Slice into very thin pieces and set aside.

Grill the swordfish skin: season the swordfish skin pieces with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Heat a grill to medium heat. Cook the swordfish skin approximately 1 to 2 minutes on both sides until crisp. Alternatively, cook the skin in a hot sauté pan over medium heat.

Place the grapefruit slices on a serving plate. Add grilled swordfish skin on top, alternating with the Swiss chard stems. Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice on top and drizzle with some olive oil. Finish with the shiso and basil.


From Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food by The James Beard Foundation/Rizzoli Publishing.



4 appetizer servings