Spicy Asian Swordfish Skewers: Sharknadoes in Taradise

Spicy Asian Swordfish Skewers

Last Thursday, something sort of amazing happened. Our country had a brief yet powerful moment of national unity brought on by natural disaster. This disaster was not a tragedy, but a triumph. A triumph of human ingenuity. Alright, I’ll cut the crap- I’m talking about that stupid Sharknado movie.

In case you are some freak loser who experiences life through reality and not the internet and television, Sharknado is a made-for-TV movie that aired on SyFy, about a tornado full of- wait for it- sharks. Okay, well, actually it was a hurricane full of sharks, but we’re not keeping score on meteorological accuracy here.


Yes, it was every bit as cheesy and ridiculous as it was intended to be, and everyone on twitter had a moment of unbridled glee and unity before spiraling back down to our usual media-induced division and hatred for humanity following the George Zimmerman verdict.

The primary draw of the movie for me, and for anyone who is being honest with themselves, was the return of Tara Reid. You remember Tara as the 21st century’s O.G. trainwreck, using a few minor roles in 90s teen flicks and an engagement to Carson Daly at a time when anyone cared who Carson Daly was engaged to as leverage for a full time career as a complete public shit show.



Strutting the red carpet at exclusive Hollywood parties…


Her star was so bright that she even landed a position as a foreign ambassador.


But then it all got to be a little much. Even Paris Hilton was like “dude, pull it together, you’re embarrassing me.”


In 2008, she checked herself into rehab/celebrity fun camp Promises, but that didn’t really stick.

Cannes, 2009

Cannes, 2009

Most had given up on her, moving on to the younger generation of Lohans and Bynes with no regard for those the woman who shattered that glass ceiling to begin with.

But not me. I’m not trying to brag or anything, but I have never stopped believing in Tara, and have indeed been actively trying to facilitate her comeback for quite some time now. Should I show the tweets? I’ll show you the tweets.

While neither of these ideas have come to fruition (yet), the point is that I cared. That’s just the kind of person I am. And so when I heard she was making her comeback in Sharknado, I must admit that it warmed my heart. I’m even willing to accept all you a-hole bandwagon fans back on board now. For Tara.

Without giving too much away (God forbid), I will just say that my initial reaction to the movie was mostly confusion followed by shock. Not about the sharks or the nados or whatever, those were exactly what was expected- I’m talking about the casting.

In my nostalgic mind, I guess I just figured Tara was going to play the protagonist hottie running around in a bikini and slaying sharks. So you can imagine my surprise when the first 20 minutes go by and Ms. Reid is nowhere to be found and like WTF is this chick?


Then the shock sets in. She is playing the mom. Not the young, hip new mom, either- the old mom, with old kids.

Source: thefrisky.com

Source: thefrisky.com

Tara Reid is, like…old now. I’m, like…old now. What?


Beyond forcing me to come to terms with harsh realities, Sharknado delivers exactly what anyone would expect or want from it. If you missed it the first time and absolutely must see what the hype is about, SyFy is reairing it Thursday night. Oh yeah! And you can even make yourself a festive dinner. Isn’t that special.


Since they don’t sell shark meat at the grocery store, I opted for another big strange fish that starts with an S and was just like, “close enough.” Truthfully, though, swordfish is just now coming in to season and it is my favorite fish. The first time I had it, I was at a restaurant here in Austin and someone ordered it as an appetizer for us to share. When it came out, I was a bit apprehensive- it just sounded weird, and I was not much into seafood in my earlier years. I cautiously bit in, and fell in love. Because it tasted like chicken. Really, really, good, succulent chicken.

That’s the thing about swordfish- it’s meaty, yet flaky. It’s not at all fishy, and takes on other flavors beautifully. Plus, its firmness makes it a perfect candidate for the grill, which I am all about these days.

The downside, of course, is that it can be expensive. If you’re gonna feed four people swordfish an individual swordfish steak for dinner and shopping at Whole Foods (which is the only place I can find it in my city), you’re talking an eighty dollar price tag for your protein alone, easily.

My way of getting around that is skewering them with lots of vegetables. I used the typical onions and peppers, and added in some cremini mushrooms and zucchini for extra heartiness. Each person gets a couple skewers with 3 to 4 pieces of fish and lots of delish veggies, add in a side or two and you’ve got an impressive dinner without breaking the bank too hard.

I went the asian route with these guys just because I was feeling those flavors and this is one of my favorite marinades for all types of meat. It’s salty from the soy sauce, spicy from the sambal oelek/sriracha, interestingly sweet and acidic from orange and lime, with a final zip of garlic and ginger. It hits all the good flavor points at once. If you can’t find or don’t want to venture into the swordfish territory, you can substitute chicken, pork, or beef, easily. But doesn’t this look beautiful?


Kind of looks like a shark fin, huh? I am so on the money here.





Spicy Asian Swordfish Skewers

Makes: About 10 skewers


1 – 2 swordfish steaks, about 1.5 lbs total, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup worcestershire sauce

3 tbsp sambal oelek or sriracha

1 orange, zested and half of it juiced

1 lime, juiced

4 cloves garlic, minced or grated

½ inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced or grated

Assorted vegetables of your choice (onion, bell pepper, cremini mushrooms, zucchini), cut into chunks the same size as the swordfish

Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 mins to prevent burning


In a bowl, combine soy sauce, sambal, orange zest and juice, lime juice, garlic, and ginger. Whisk to combine. In a large resealable plastic bag, pour about ¾ of the marinade onto the swordfish chunks, reserving the remaining ¼ for brushing while they are on the grill. Allow this to marinate in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Meanwhile, begin to skewer the fish and veggies onto your pre-soaked bamboo skewers. (Note: there should be 3 – 4 pieces of fish on each skewer with two veggies in between.)

Coat the grill with oil or non-stick spray and place the skewers directly on the grill and grill for about 4 minutes on each side. Brush the entire skewer on each side with your reserved marinade as it cooks. Once fully cooked through, remove from grill and serve.

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