Grilled Fish with Citrus Herb Crust

Grilled Fish with Citrus Herb Crust Recipe - final photo

Last week my kitchen got more action than I think it’s ever gotten in its life. The previous owners weren’t big cooks and since we’ve moved in, cooking has mostly been at our outdoor kitchen by the pool. Last week’s occasion was a 5-day visit from Adam and Joanne, a couple who cooks, blogs, commutes and works together. Now, that’s a lot of ‘together’ time and they somehow make it work flawlessly. What’s their secret?

They’re madly, deeply in love with each other. It’s so crazy sweet and endearing. The way they steal glances at each other melts butter!

I can’t wait til they make babies.

Oh, but that’s the mamma side of me talking.

For the past couple of months, Adam and Joanne have been such a tremendous help, taking on tasks that I’m not good at (remembering details!) or don’t particularly enjoy personally (editing and uploading photos!). They’ve given me and my family a wonderful gift….time. We’ve been able to create a nice rhythm of working via email, text and occasionally, phone, since they live in Virginia. Those lucky ducks also get to do some of the traveling for me – they both got to visit the beautiful and bountiful Washington state winery region and in a couple of weeks, I’m sending Joanne to Italy in my place on a trip to the Parma region while I head to New York City to host and emcee the annual Dumpling Festival for the 3rd year in a row.

She’s my body double — I need to find one of those Mission Impossible masks for her, but unfortunately, she’s like a whole head taller than shorty me.

While they were here, we cooked like crazy! I also made them smoke….

…cheese….which was a sorta a big fail. The cheese ended up tasting more like wood than smoke, even though we only kept the smoke on for less than 20 seconds. We haven’t given up – Adam & Joanne took the gun home to experiment with.

But what was a major win was this Grilled Swordfish with Citrus Herb Crust — in fact, it was the week’s winning dish. After playing with the complicated kitchen toys like the Smoking Gun, Sous Vide machine, it was the simplest recipe of all that was our favorite. 10 minute prep, 10 minute cook.

It’s from a new cookbook called The New Sonoma Cookbook by Dr. Connie Gutterson, which is the companion cookbook to The New Sonoma Diet (which I have not read nor followed, so I don’t really know anything about the diet). However, the cookbook, regardless of whether or not you’re on that particular diet, is a stand-alone cookbook full of simple recipes featuring good, wholesome ingredients.

The original recipe uses salmon and different herbs, but our version featured minced fresh herbs from the garden, orange and lemon citrus zest and a rub of olive oil on a thick slab of fresh swordfish.

How to make Grilled Fish with Citrus Herb Crust

The combination of orange and lemon zest brightens the flavor of grilled fish, and the vibrant herbs just sing “summer.”

This recipe is not only simple (there’s only a handful of ingredients, and you can throw it together at the last minute), but also flexible — use whatever fresh herbs you have in the garden or refrigerator. We’ve used basil, oregano and parsley, but cilantro, dill or chive would be great, too. As for the fish, we were lucky to snag some fresh swordfish, but salmon, halibut or grouper is equally good. You can even use the same technique for grilled shrimp on skewers.

To cook the fish, here’s a tip: Grill it on medium-low heat to keep the fish moist, as high heat will tend to dry out the fish and burn the herbs, and that would make it slightly bitter.

Take some fresh herbs, any herbs and mince. We used oregano, parsley and basil. Zest a lemon and orange. Salt and pepper.

Olive oil to give it some sticking power.






Grilled Fish with Citrus Herb Crust Recipe -5328

Grilled Fish with Citrus Herb Crust

Servings: serves 4

Prep Time:10 minutes

Cook Time:10 minutes

The New Sonoma Cookbook by Connie Gutterson.


1/2 cup minced fresh herbs (basil, oregano and parsley)
2 to 4 swordfish fillets (or your fish of choice), 1-inch thick
Salt and pepper
Zest of half a lemon
Zest of half an orange
2 tablespoons olive oil


Preheat your grill — medium-low heat on one side and high heat on the other side.

To mince the herbs, you can do this by hand with a chef's knife, or place the herbs, zests and olive oil in your food processor and give it a few whirls.

Pat fish dry with paper towels, and season both sides with salt and pepper. On a large plate, mix together the chopped fresh herbs, lemon, orange zest, olive oil and a little salt and pepper.

Generously coat both sides of the fish with the herb mixture and allow the fish to marinate for 10 minutes. Place the fish over the medium-low heat side of the grill, cover and cook for 4 minutes. Flip the fish, cover and cook for 4 minutes more, or until the fish flakes easily when poked with a fork. Just before serving, squeeze a little lemon juice or orange juice on top of the fish.