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Photo taken by Jen Causey

Slow-Roasted Swordfish Birria


For the Adobo

2 dried ancho chiles, stems removed (about 1 ounce)
3 dried guajillo chiles, stems removed (about 3/4 ounce)
4 dried cascabel chiles, stems removed (1/4 ounce)
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon kosher salt
10 black peppercorns
4 large garlic cloves
4 whole cloves

For the Fish

2 pounds (1-inch-thick) skinless swordfish fillets

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the Salsa
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Additional Ingredients


1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
2 radishes, thinly sliced
Juice of 2 Key limes (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt
1 large avocado, sliced
Fresh corn tortillas, warmed, for serving


Make the adobo

  1. Using a paring knife, cut a slit down the side of each chile. Open each chile, and remove and discard veins and seeds. Heat a large comal or cast-iron skillet over medium. Add chiles, and cook until fragrant and chiles begin to darken, about 30 seconds per side. Remove chiles from pan; set aside.

  2. Combine toasted chiles, onion, vinegar, cumin seeds, salt, peppercorns, garlic, and cloves in a blender, and puree until a smooth paste forms. If paste is too thick, add water to thin to desired consistency (I use about 6 tablespoons water to 1 cup adobo).

Make the fish

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Season fish with salt. Spread 3/4 cup adobo over fish to completely coat fillets. Line a medium baking dish with parchment paper. Add fish, and drizzle with oil. Roast in preheated oven on middle rack until flesh is opaque throughout and flakes easily with a fork and a thermometer inserted in center of fillet registers 135°F, about 30 minutes. Let fish rest 10 minutes.

Make the salsa

  1. In the same blender, add tomatoes, salt, and 1/4 cup adobo. Process until smooth.

Make the toppings

  1. Toss together onion, radishes, lime juice, and oregano in a small bowl until combined. Season with salt to taste. Serve fish with onion mixture, avocado, salsa, and hot, fresh tortillas.