Grilled Swordfish with Romesco Sauce

One of the longstanding “rules” of pairing wine and food has been “white wine with fish and red wine with meat” - well today we’re breaking that outdated rules and doing the unthinkable! Yes, my friend, today I’m sharing a delicious recipe for Grilled Swordfish with Romesco Sauce and pairing it with a RED wine.

Did you pass out? Feel a little woozy?

I hope not because this really isn’t the crazy concept it once seemed. And in this post I’m going to share the secrets of creating winning food and wine pairings every time. First and foremost, you need to consider the weight of the wine and the dish you’d like to pair it with. Matching the weight of both components ensures that neither overwhelms the other and takes center stage alone. A meatier fish like swordfish is a prime example of a protein you could pair with a medium-bodied red wine. Light, flaky snapper on the other hand, not so much.

Which leads me to the second thing to consider, the flavors of the dish. Another one of my favorite Summer recipes is Swordfish with Rosé Aioli and a Fennel and Olive Salad. In this case, the flavors of the preparation make it better suited for pairing with a rosé wine. The rich, oily texture of the swordfish combined with smoky, peppery Romesco sauce on the other hand make this recipe a great candidate for pairing with either a medium-bodied red or a viscous, fuller-bodied white wine.


But why not taste for yourself? As your guide on this culinary journey, I’m not here to dictate which pairings you should like, only your palate can make that decision. So continue reading and I hope you feel inspired to experiment and try this delicious recipe and pairing in your own home.

We were fortunate to collaborate on this meal with some of our favorite friends who just happened to have some fresh, delicious swordfish steaks on hand! As we prepared the sauce and fish, their beautiful daughter (who had just broken her arm, poor thing!) picked flowers from the yard at Chez Miskew to make a pretty arrangement featuring gardenias, jasmine and allamanda.

Romesco sauce originated in the seaside town of Tarragona in Northeastern Spain. The sauce is a mixture of almonds and hazelnuts, roasted red peppers, garlic, Sherry vinegar and olive oil that was invented by local fishermen. Using a traditional mortar and pestle, they would grind the ingredients together, much like an Italian pesto or French tapenade, to serve with the day's catch. Over time, different variations of the sauce have emerged such as Salvitxada, which is Romesco that's been thickened with garlic-rubbed, toasted bread. The hearty flavors and textures of the Romesco sauce also make an excellent accompaniment for chicken and beef as well.


As far as a wine pairing goes for Grilled Swordfish with Romesco Sauce, there are a couple wonderful options. When pairing food and wine I usually like to stick with the tenet, "If it grows together it goes together," whenever possible (like here and here) so a dry, Spanish white wine that mirrors the dish’s flavors and textures would be an excellent choice.

I love the Bodegas Palacio Cosme Palacio White Rioja, a blend of Viura and Malvasia grapes with fragrant aromatics of pear and citrus and creamy, rich texture that beautifully mirrors that of the swordfish. The wine also has a delightful spiciness, thanks to a little time spent in French oak, and notes of almond and citrus that highlight the acid and nutty flavors in the sauce beautifully. However, if you're unable to find a white Rioja, a full-bodied white like a New World Chardonnay with a kiss of oak will also make a very nice pairing.

And for you red wine fans, I especially like a savory, Tempranillo-based wine like the Cune Rioja Crianza with its soft red berry flavors, lively acidity and supple tannins. Outside of Spain, head to Italy for delightful options like the imminently food friendly Vietti Barbera d’Asti Tre Vigne with notes of black fruit, spice and toasted almond or to France for a cru Beaujolais like the Maison Joseph Drouhin Hospices de Belleville Brouilly with notes of red and black fruit accentuated by hints of orange peel, minerals and spice. For even more medium-bodied, food friendly red wines to explore, click here.


I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe for Grilled Swordfish with Romesco Sauce and have fun discovering which wine pairings you enjoy the most. What are your favorite medium-bodied red wines? Please let me know in the comments section below.

Print Recipe


Author: Stephanie Miskew | The Glamorous Gourmet

Serves: 4

Pair with a dry, Spanish white wine like the Bodegas Palacio Cosme Palacio White Rioja or a New World Chardonnay with a kiss of oak!


  • 4 8-ounce swordfish steaks

  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded & thinly sliced

  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed with side of a Chef's knife & skins removed

  • 3 Calabrian chiles in oil, drained

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/4 cup plus 3 Tablespoons good olive oil

  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds

  • 2 Tablespoons Sherry vinegar

  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

  2. Add slivered almonds to a large pan or skillet and spread in a single layer. Toast nuts over medium heat until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring frequently. Transfer almonds to a paper towel lined plate and set aside to cool.

  3. On a medium-sized, rimmed baking sheet, combine the tomatoes, jalapeño, onion, garlic, chiles, smoked paprika and 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Season with Kosher salt and pepper and toss well to coat. Roast in the preheated oven for approximately 30-40 minutes, until vegetables are soft and caramelized.

  4. Add the toasted almonds to a food processor and pulse until a paste forms. Add the roasted vegetables, 2 Tablespoons olive oil and Sherry vinegar and continue to pulse until the sauce is still chunky.

  5. Preheat the grill or grill pan. Rub the swordfish with 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil and season with Kosher salt and pepper. Once the grill is hot, add the swordfish steaks (you might need to do 2 batches if using a grill pan) and grill over med-high heat until charred and cooked to your desired doneness, approximately 4-5 minutes per side.

  6. Serve each swordfish steak with a dollop of Romesco sauce and any extra served alongside.

Stephanie Miskew
Stephanie Miskew