Earl Grey Marinated Swordfish (grilled on plank or steamed)

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Jun 21, 2005
My husband's boss is a big Wahoo fisherman and we are always looking for new ways to fix it. I came up with this method a few weeks ago and man, is it ever good! it works for any white fish that hasgood body to it. I don't recommend it for fish that is delicate.

Earl Grey Marinated Swordfish
(works well with Wahoo too or any other white, meaty fish)

1/2 Cup loose Black Earl Grey Tea ..you can use Earl Green as well which is available from Gertrude Ford tea and Stash Tea)
1/3 cup minced green onions
1 Teaspoon Miso Paste
1 teaspoon Minced Pickled Ginger
1 quarter cup dry Sake
4 cups boiling water
6 - 2 inch thick white meat fish filets
Optional: 2 cups strong brewed Earl Grey Tea for the Steamer

Take the loose tea and sprinkle into a deep flat baking dish. Pour the boiling water over the tea and stir well. Let come to room temp before adding other ingredients. When at room temp, whisk in the Miso paste, Sake, ginger and onions. Stir well. With a slotted spoon, fish out about half of the now reconstituted tea leaves and set aside. Arrange your fish filets in the baking dish. Take the reserved wet tea leaves and smother the tops of the filets with them. If the water is too low in the baking dish, add more until it just barely covers the fish with the mounds of tea leaves on top. Cover the dish with either a glass cover or plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. The longer you marinate, the better it will taste. However, don't let marinade for more than 24 hours or chemical reactions will begin to occur.

When you are ready to cook, remove filets from marinade and discard the marinade liquid if you are going to be grilling on a plank. Strain out the wet tea leaves and pile them on top of the filets as they grill on the plank. Discard wet tea leaves before serving.

If you are going to be steaming the fish, strain out the wet tea leaves and reserve. Throw away the liquid.

If using a Steamer appliance, do NOT use brewed Earl Grey tea as your liquid since it can damage the interior. If using a Steamer appliance, simply use distilled water for the steam, but pile the wet tea leaves atop the filets while steaming. Remove before serving.

If you are steaming in a bamboo steamer or stove top steamer, add 2 cups of strong brewed Earl Grey tea to the steam water for added flavor. Pile the reserved wet tea leaves on the filets while steaming and discard them before serving.

Serving suggestions: serve with Tea rice - rice that has been cooked using brewed tea as the cooking liquid. You can use more Earl Grey or for a slight contrast, use a nice green tea. Into that rice, add the zest of one lime, some slivered almonds, a splash of plum wine and some diced preserved plum (available in Japanese section of grocery stores).

Serve these both with a steaming bowl of Miso soup which is garnished with chopped green onions and a sliver of preserved plum.

I have also smoked fish with Earl Grey Tea leaves and ground rice as the smoking medium and that comes out well too. Earl Grey is flavored with the oil of bergamot, an exotic citrus grown in India. Therefore, other citrus flavors go well with it. Do not, however, ever add fresh citrus ingredients to fish marinades cuz you will wind up with Cerviche.

Earl Grey Tea Latte
(to go with the fish)

Two Tablespoons loose Earl Grey Tea
1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups Half & half
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 tablespoon Sugar Cane syrup (corn syrup will do in a pinch)
2 cups of ice

In a Pyrex measuring cup, sprinkle the dry tea leaves. Add one cup boiling water. Let stand for 15 minutes. Strain well with a tea strainer or through a coffee filter. Set aside.

In a blender, add your ice, your half & half, you vanilla paste, your Sugar cane syrup and last, your tea. Blend on high until smooth, pour into glass, garnish with a wedge of lime and serve.

Yields - one Serving.

Multiply recipe to make a pitcher
Tea-Smoked Fish or Chicken:

If you want to try doing a Tea-smoke of fish or chicken, you grind up some rice in a coffe blender, mix it in with loose tea leaves and then put that in a pan over your flame until it starts to smoke. You may have to fiddle with the height of the pan to get the right hea tunder it, but it works. I've done it.

I found this technique in a magazine, maybe SHAPE? It was called Tea-smoked Chicken Breast.

I figured, why not try it with Fish, so I did with some Wahoo. It was OK, the Chicken came out much better with the Tea-Smoking.

Then, I figured, "if I can smoke stuff with tea, why not marinate it?" and VIOLA: The Tea-Marinated Fish recipe was born!

I prefer the marinade effect to the smoking because it permeates the fish better. You can use any fragrant loose tea. The harsher black teas are not recommend though. Herbal teas are too light to have the proper effect. Also, it is the Tannic Acid in the tea leaves that tenderizes the Fish, so herbals will not have that.

I have had good success with the following Teas:

Gunpowder tea
Jasmine Green tea
Russian Caravan
Rasberry Black tea
Vanilla Black tea
Greenilla (Green vanilla, available from Gertrude Ford tea in Poughkeepsie NY by phone)
Himalyan Masala tea ( available fromWWW.himalayantea.com)

You have to be careful when adding spices to tea marinades because the tea itself is a delicate but comples flavor. I find it is best to use already flavored, high qusality loose tea.

Do not merely rip open tea bags becuase what's in most tea bags is what is called 'sweepings' the bits and pieces and dust leftover AFTER the good tea leaves have been packaged for loose tea. Sweepings, such as in Lipton, will impart a bitter taste to anything you cook using that product.

Gertrude Ford Tea Company uses high qaulity tea leaves in their patented 'tea balls' which are like tea-bags but contain no sweepings - just the finest cut leaves. You get the best of both worlds with their tea-balls and you Can actually rip them open and use in a marinade because there are fine tea leaves inside.

To look at their teas, go here:

The G.H. Ford Tea Company
Extraordinary tea since 1909

I highly recommend G.H. Ford Teas,. I have been drinking them literally all my life. Theirs was the Tea of choice in New York City amongst Tea Drinkers in-the-know. Once you have tried them, you'll not likely ever go back to store-bought teas.
Maybe that would work! The Russian Caravan from Gerturde Ford Tea has a delicate smoked flavor which is why I gave it a shot - not all Russian Caravans are the same.

When I referred to strong black teas being innapropriate, I was referring to things such as Irish Breakfast Tea and other such blends where the Black tea is extremely strongly flavored and somehwat bitter in nature. Lipton tesa would fall into this category not because it's good strong Tea but because it is tea 'sweepings' which is the highly acidic and bitter 'dust' leftover after the good tea leaves have been cut and removed from the pile.

Those blends and 'Sweepings' like Lipton have far more Tannic Acid and can cause an unpleasant bitterness in the fish if marinated too long. They can also break down the protein a little too fast, resulting in a rubbery or squishy texture.

If you want to use a very hearty Black Tea for it's smoky flavors, I would suggest limiting your marinade time to only a few hours and maybe not piling too much on top of the fish as its cooking. That might work out just fine and also give you the strong flavor you seek.

It's sort of like marinating with Lavender or Nasturtium - too much and you ruin the dish, too little and it just barely imparts the flavor.

I'd say give any Black tea a try so long as you adjust the marinade time for the level of tannic acid. You could also, use comparatively less tea to ensure a lesser acidity - just use half the recommended amount and the same amount of water.

The key is this :
Can you drink a cup of the brewed black tea in question, straight up with no sweetener or dairy,without getting an unpleasant bitter taste ? If yes, it's probably OK. If no, reduce the amount of dry tea leaves you use.

Another option is to smoke the fish/chicken with the Tea as I suggested. Any good bodied Tea should work for that because smoking it isn't going to have the same chemical effect on the flesh of the fish or chicken.

To do a Tea Smoke:

Mix the dry Tea Leaves with Rice you have ground in a coffee grinder. Spread in a non-reactive pan or an alluminium disposable pan. Apply direct heat to bottom of the pan tunil the mixture begins to smoke. Put Fish/Chicken over the smoking Tea Leaves on a rack, cover until cooked.

Tea-Smoked Chicken makes an excellent ingredient in cold Salads,Sandwiches and wraps.

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