Grilled Swordfish Tacos with Pineapple Salsa and Cilantro Cream

Grilled Swordfish Tacos with Pineapple Salsa and Cilantro Cream
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About This Recipe

In the heart of wine country, where the rolling hills of Napa and Sonoma valleys meet the bountiful Pacific, a culinary creation has emerged that perfectly captures the essence of this rich and diverse landscape. Grilled Swordfish Tacos with Pineapple Salsa and Cilantro Cream is a dish that speaks to the soul of California's wine country, blending the fresh, vibrant flavors of the sea with the lush, fruity bounty of the land.

The creation of this recipe was inspired by the wine country's commitment to fresh, locally sourced ingredients and the innovative spirit that defines Napa's culinary scene. The swordfish, a meaty yet delicate fish, is sourced from the cold, nutrient-rich waters off the California coast, ensuring a fresh, high-quality centerpiece for the dish. Grilled to perfection, the swordfish takes on a smoky, charred flavor that contrasts beautifully with the sweet and tangy pineapple salsa, made with pineapples at their peak of ripeness. The cilantro cream, a smooth and herbaceous concoction, adds a final touch of freshness, tying all the elements together in a symphony of flavors.

But what truly elevates this dish to a wine country classic is its ability to pair seamlessly with the region's world-renowned wines. A crisp, aromatic Viognier, with its notes of stone fruit and bright acidity, complements the richness of the swordfish and the sweetness of the pineapple. Alternatively, a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc from a vineyard like Frog's Leap, known for its sustainable farming practices and expressive wines, offers a zesty contrast to the creamy cilantro sauce. For those looking to explore beyond the white wine spectrum, a light-bodied, fruity Pinot Noir from Sonoma's Russian River Valley provides a delightful balance to the dish's smoky and spicy notes.

When planning a menu that features Grilled Swordfish Tacos as the star, consider starting with a simple salad of mixed greens from the Napa Farmers Market, dressed in a citrus vinaigrette to echo the bright flavors of the tacos. For a side, a quinoa or farro salad with roasted summer vegetables from local farms would add a hearty, earthy element to the meal. And for dessert, a lemon sorbet with fresh berries, sourced from the berry farms of Sonoma County, would provide a refreshing and light finish.

Visitors to Napa Valley, eager to experience the full breadth of the region's culinary and viticultural offerings, should consider dining at establishments that embody the farm-to-table ethos, such as The French Laundry or Oxbow Public Market, where the connection between local ingredients and exquisite cuisine is celebrated. For wine enthusiasts looking to pair their home-cooked meal with the perfect bottle, a visit to wineries like Darioush for Viognier or Matthiasson for Sauvignon Blanc offers an opportunity to taste and learn about the wines that make Napa Valley a world-class wine destination.

In crafting this recipe for Grilled Swordfish Tacos with Pineapple Salsa and Cilantro Cream, the aim was to create a dish that not only delights the palate but also pays homage to the rich culinary and viticultural heritage of Napa Valley. It's a celebration of the land, the sea, and the vineyards that make this region so special. So, whether you're dining amidst the vine-covered hillsides of Napa or enjoying the bounty of wine country from afar, this dish brings a taste of California's wine country to your table.

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Swordfish

Swordfish, often hailed as the steak of the sea, stands out as the hero ingredient in our Grilled Swordfish Tacos with Pineapple Salsa and Cilantro Cream recipe. This majestic fish, known for its meaty texture and mild flavor, makes it a versatile canvas for a myriad of culinary creations, particularly in the context of Napa Valley's wine country cuisine. Sourced from the pristine waters of the Pacific, swordfish embodies the essence of sustainability and local sourcing, principles that are deeply embedded in the ethos of California's culinary scene. Its robust structure allows it to withstand the high heat of grilling, resulting in a beautifully charred exterior and a tender, juicy interior that pairs exquisitely with the vibrant flavors of pineapple salsa and the creamy, herb-infused cilantro cream.

How to Grill Swordfish Perfectly

  1. Preparation: Start by ensuring your swordfish steaks are about 1 inch thick, uniform in size to promote even cooking. Pat them dry to remove excess moisture which helps in achieving a good sear.
  2. Marination: Lightly brush the swordfish with a mixture of olive oil, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. This not only adds flavor but also helps in preventing the fish from sticking to the grill.
  3. Grill Temperature: Preheat your grill to a medium-high setting. A properly heated grill is crucial for cooking swordfish perfectly, as it seals in the flavors and ensures a moist interior.
  4. Grilling Time: Place the swordfish steaks on the grill and cook for about 5 minutes on each side. The exact time may vary depending on the thickness of the steak and the grill's temperature. The goal is to achieve an internal temperature of 145°F, at which the fish is cooked through yet remains moist.
  5. Resting: Once removed from the grill, let the swordfish rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the fish, ensuring every bite is succulent.


  1. Can I use frozen swordfish for this recipe? Yes, frozen swordfish works well. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before marinating and grilling to ensure even cooking.
  2. What are the best substitutes for swordfish if I can't find it? Mahi-mahi or halibut are excellent substitutes, offering a similar meaty texture and mild flavor that can stand up to grilling.
  3. How can I make this recipe gluten-free? Easily swap the flour tortillas for corn tortillas, which are naturally gluten-free, ensuring the dish remains accessible to those with dietary restrictions.
  4. What's the best way to store leftovers? Store leftover grilled swordfish and pineapple salsa separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Enjoy within 2 days for optimal freshness.
  5. I'm allergic to dairy. What can I use instead of sour cream in the cilantro cream? A dairy-free yogurt or cashew cream makes a great alternative, offering a similar texture and tanginess to complement the tacos.

Tips for Success

  1. Don’t Overcook the Swordfish: Overcooking can dry out the fish, making it tough. Keep a close eye on the grill, and use a meat thermometer to ensure it doesn’t exceed the ideal internal temperature.
  2. Customize Your Salsa Heat: The jalapeño in the pineapple salsa can be adjusted to taste. For a milder salsa, remove the seeds and membrane. For more heat, add a bit more jalapeño or a dash of your favorite hot sauce.
  3. Warm Tortillas Properly: Warming the tortillas on the grill for about 30 seconds on each side makes them more pliable and adds a slight char for extra flavor. Wrap warmed tortillas in a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm and soft until ready to serve.

These additional insights and techniques are designed to elevate your cooking experience, ensuring your Grilled Swordfish Tacos with Pineapple Salsa and Cilantro Cream are not only a culinary delight but also a seamless, enjoyable cooking adventure in your own kitchen.

Recipe Overview

Grilled Swordfish Tacos with Pineapple Salsa and Cilantro Cream
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 4 swordfish steaks (about 6 oz each)
  • 8 small corn tortillas
  • 2 cups pineapple, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, honey, and cumin. Season swordfish steaks with salt and pepper, then brush them with the marinade.
  2. Grill swordfish for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through and slightly charred. Remove from the grill and let rest for a few minutes before slicing into strips.
  3. For the pineapple salsa, combine pineapple, red bell pepper, jalapeño, red onion, and half of the cilantro in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. For the cilantro cream, mix sour cream, the remaining cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice in a separate bowl. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  5. Warm tortillas on the grill for about 30 seconds per side, or until they are pliable and slightly charred.
  6. Assemble the tacos by placing swordfish strips on the tortillas, topped with pineapple salsa and a dollop of cilantro cream. Garnish with avocado slices and serve immediately.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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