Summer is a good time to visit, or revisit, the Mediterranean diet. We've heard it for years: A Mediterranean diet high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains and olive oil will help you live longer.
The Mediterranean diet is mostly plant based, with an abundance of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans. Even flavorings such as rosemary, oregano, onion and garlic, which are so much a part of Mediterranean food, do more than make the food taste good. They add antioxidants and other anti-cancer substances.
Olive oil is a signature ingredient in Mediterranean cooking. Because olive oil does not raise blood cholesterol and does not seem to promote cancer development, it is considered a healthful oil and a good source of fat. Some studies suggest that natural compounds in olive oil may even protect against cancer. But, taking calories into consideration, more olive oil than what you might currently be using could require a more active lifestyle, or less of other high-calorie foods.
Fish has a prominent place in the Mediterranean diet. It is an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals, and is lower in saturated fat than red meat. Fish contain mainly unsaturated fat, which is better for blood cholesterol levels, and other substances believed to reduce cancer risk. Nutrition experts recommend two servings of fish each week. Government guidelines, however, advise that, because of possible mercury contamination, certain people should avoid swordfish: young children; and women who are nursing, pregnant, or might become pregnant.
Because swordfish is firm, dense and has an almost meat-like taste, it is one of the most popular fish for home cooking. It's so firm, it can be prepared in many ways grilling, broiling, baking, poaching, or sauteing.
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The firm, succulent texture of swordfish steaks makes them perfect for barbecuing. For optimum flavor, choose rosy, fresh-looking steaks. All they need is a drizzle of olive oil, a little salt and pepper and, after being lightly cooked over a medium-high heat, a squeeze of lemon. They are also delicious marinated in fresh oregano, lemon and oil, or simply dusted with paprika then grilled.
Makes 4 servings.
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. capers
- 4 1/2-inch thick swordfish steaks, each 4 oz each
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, cut into quarters
- Using a blender or food processor, blend oil with garlic, lemon juice and capers. Transfer to a non-metal container. Add fish and marinate 20 to 30 minutes, turning fish once in the process.
- Meanwhile, prepare the grill or preheat the broiler. Remove fish from marinade and pat dry with paper towelling. Season with salt and pepper. (If using an indoor grill, spray fish lightly with olive oil or canola oil spray.)
- Grill the fish about 4 to 5 minutes per side, depending on thickness of fish, or until fish is opaque in the center. (Fish usually takes about 10 minutes per inch of thickness to cook through.) Don't overcook or fish will be dry.
- Serve with wedges of fresh lemon, either hot or at room temperature.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
8 g. total fat
2 g. saturated fat,
3 g. carbohydrate,
21 g. protein,
less than 1 g. dietary fiber,
223 mg. sodium
Diabetic Exchanges: 3 Medium-Fat Meat