Pan-Seared Sesame Swordfish with Blistered Snap Peas and Chili Crisp
We turned a chichi restaurant mainstay into a one-pan weeknight meal that comes together in under 30 minutes.
Welcome to One Pot Bangers, Benjamin Kemper’s column, where you’ll find our freshest, boldest cooking ideas that require just one pot, skillet, or sheet pan. Busy week? We’ve got you covered with these low-effort, high-reward recipes from around the globe.
Who remembers when the epitome of sophisticated dining was a plate of sesame-crusted tuna fanned out around a tall, sculpted salad? That scandalously rare center! Those exotic (yikes) sesame seeds! The scraggly tuft of mesclun with balsamic vinaigrette!
Having grown up in the 90s, I sure do. And while I can live without many of that decade’s culinary mainstays (*cough* portobello burger), sesame-crusted fish still makes me feel fancy inside. Trouble is, I seldom see it on menus anymore.
So I’ve been making my own at home, and it’s kind of a breeze: a quick dredge in sesame seeds and a flash in the pan, et voilà: the house might as well be a power-lunch scene from American Psycho. I bet you a round of appletinis that every dinner guest over 30 will ooh and ahh.
But as a cook whose toxic trait is fixing things that ain’t broke, I couldn’t help tinkering with the classic formula. Enter swordfish, which I’ve found makes a wonderful substitute for tuna: Its milder, sweeter flavor lets the fragrant, nutty sesame seeds do more of the talking. Bonus: It’s harder to overcook.
While the sword rests—as with steak, tenting thick cuts of fish with foil after cooking keeps them moist—I like to stir-fry whatever vegetables are kicking around the fridge with soy, cilantro, and garlic. (Nobody seems to miss the mesclun.) Taking a page from the 2022 playbook, I then drizzle chili crisp over the whole mess. The final dish may be a far cry from the ‘90s original, but let’s just call it timeless.
- 2 lb. swordfish steaks (1 in. thick), skin removed
- ¼ cups vegetable oil, divided
- 1 Tbsp. kosher salt, divided
- 1 cup white sesame seeds
- 12 oz. snap peas, trimmed (3½ cups)
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar or sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tsp. finely grated lime zest
- 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- Chili crisp, cilantro leaves, and lime wedges, for serving