Grilled Swordfish with Spring Herb Salad

I’ve been traveling a bit more than usual lately, on my own, which is different. When I was younger traveling the world from Bogotá to Tokyo, Tel Aviv to Athens, Seattle to New York—it was both exciting and no big deal in terms of exploring by myself. I’m adventurous by nature but these days I prefer to be with my family, so traveling on my own gave me a new perspective. Some of my travel has been back and forth to Long Island to take care of my elderly mother whose health is failing. The other was a single trip to Miami, Florida to meet with other website designers from around the world to discuss and develop our work, support each other, learn, and enjoy.

Sunset. Miami, Florida

Sunset. Miami, Florida

Boardwalk. Long Beach, NY

Boardwalk. Long Beach, NY

I’m not entirely sure how to describe this, but a lot of the learning and the thinking I’ve been doing recently as a result of these journeys has been on the level of how and what do we really know about each other, even ourselves. Traveling alone I had the time to reflect on myself and interact with other people as an individual, away from my role as mom or wife.  A lot is said about the internet giving us the opportunity to create the image we want of ourselves, one that might not be entirely accurate, so when I ventured to Miami I wondered who I would really find. You see, this group of designers interacts regularly over the web about our work, but many of us had never met face-to-face before. It turns out that the people I thought I knew were close to exactly the way I had come to know them online. No surprises—just a rich, deeper, more loving understanding of one another that could only be accomplished in person.

As for the visits and caretaking with my 94-year-old mom, there’s so much that connects us genetically and experientially in our lives, that while our relationship isn’t close, we have a bond and an understanding that is unique to us and only the two of us. We see each other as mother and daughter, but seeing her interact with those around her in the healthcare system, friends and even family I’ve not met before or knew little about—I felt like I was getting a glimpse into the life of her as a person, separate from me. It’s useful and instructional. I’ve come to accept she won’t be with us much longer, so as I prepare to let go and say goodbye, I feel like I’ll be more able to bid adieu to all of her and who she is, rather than being limited to a version I know well. I’ve garnered a bit of strength from this realization.

Me. My mom, Stella. And my son Clark. 2011

Me. My mom, Stella. And my son Clark. 2011

Whenever I return home, the moment I move the car off the highway, I open the windows and am instantly welcomed by the freshness of clean New Hampshire air. Spring is here and with it the rich scents of lilac, lavender, apple and cherry blossoms, basil, mint, and marjoram. New life growing around us is truly affirming.

©Simple Flower and Herbs by Dena T Bray.jpg
©Sunlit Simple Swordfish and Salad by Dena t Bry.jpg

This dish of Grilled Swordfish with Spring Herb Salad  is light and simple. The fish is marinated in a fig sauce which gives it some tenderness and a bit of crispy outer texture once it’s grilled. Normally a delicately flavored fish, cooked like this, it becomes filled with smoky flavors. The herb salad, with the aromas of mint and basil, are a light and refreshing accompaniment to the rich fish. Topped with some lemon zest and a bit of fresh salsa for spice, enjoy it any night of the week with chilled wine or beer and a loaf of fresh country bread.

What travels and adventures have you had recently? What inspires you as a result? What have you learned?

I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.


©Sunlit Fish and Salad by Dena T Bray.jpg

©Sunlit Simple Swordfish and Salad by Dena t Bry.jpg

Grilled Swordfish with Spring Herb Salad

Yield: 4 Servings


For the fish:

  • 1 pound swordfish steak, preferably thick cut
  • ¼ cup Stonewall Kitchen Fig and Vidalia Onion Sauce
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

  • 1 cup microgreens or other delicate spring greens, rinsed
  • 1 handful each—fresh basil and mint
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For serving:

  • 1 cup fresh, prepared salsa


  1. About one hour before cooking, place the swordfish in a bowl. Cover with the fig and vidalia onion sauce. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside to marinate.
  2. Preheat your grill to high. Place the swordfish on to the grill and grill until crispy on the outside, cooked through on the inside, turning as needed to cook evenly. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the steak. Plan on about ten minutes per inch of thickness. (If the outside begins to burn, move the steak to the upper rung of your grill or to a cooler section away from the direct heat, to finish.)
  3. When the steak is done, cut it into 4 equal pieces.
  4. To serve, place one piece of steak on each of 4 dinner plates. Mound the salad ingredient on the plate. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle with lemon zest, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Accompany with fresh salsa.
  5. Enjoy.


  1. If you do not have Stonewall Kitchen Fig and Vidalia Onion Sauce available, substitute a mixture of 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon  fig jam, brown sugar or molasses, 1 finely diced garlic clove, 1 teaspoon lemon juice,  sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Fresh Corn Salsa can be substituted for prepared salsa. View the recipe here.
  3. 🖨 Click here for a printable version of this recipe.
  4. If you choose to make this recipe, enjoy. Please take a photo and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #gatheringflavors.
Dena Testa Bray has been writing Gathering Flavors, a culinary blog, since 2011. She is a trained chef & ran a home based cooking school. Dena now designs websites, focusing on work with creative people. You can see her website work at She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and family.