While summer conjures sunshine and buttery lobster rolls, fall in New England leads with a more subtle and sophisticated – and often underestimated – flavor: swordfish. For those landlubbers that might be unfamiliar, swordfish season runs late July through October as they migrate up from the gulf; by the time they reach our shores, they’ve fattened up and boast a meaty texture and mild flavor compared to its bolder brethren.
“I first started cooking swordfish when I was in San Francisco,” says Newport Executive Chef Joseph Thompson. “Swordfish, or pesce spada, seemed like a good option for those who were middle-of-the-road as to if they really enjoyed fish or not.” Today, Thompson is the culinary creative behind the menu at One Bellevue, the restaurant located within the Hotel Viking that features modern takes on traditional dishes from both land and sea, all of which incorporate local ingredients. Thompson’s swordfish plates are no different: He uses independent vendors and local fishermen like Foley Fish out of New Bedford.
“Sword is a fish that pairs well with bright flavor notes – citrus for example – and earthy flavors such as roasted tomatoes, greens, and root veggies,” offers Thompson. At One Bellevue, he rotates the preparation depending on the season; sometimes it’s a playful spin on surf ‘n’ turf topped with truffles and black garlic butter, and in cooler seasons like fall, expect Block Island swordfish with tarragon and chervil butter.