Slow-Roasted Swordfish Birria

4 people
Prep Time:
00h 25
Cook Time:
00h 30

Three types of chiles? You better believe it! Roasted swordfish gets pasted with a blend of chiles, garlic, peppercorns and more, then served with avocado slices on corn tortillas. 

Credit: This inspiring receipe is brought to you by Food & Wine

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Ingredients and Method


  • 2 dried ancho chiles, stems removed
  • 3 dried guajillo chiles, stems removed
  • 4 dried cascabel chiles, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 4 cloves garlic, large
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 pounds swordfish steaks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 key limes, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • kosher salt
  • 1 avocado, large, sliced
  • fresh corn tortillas, warmed


  1. FOR THE ADOBO: 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).
  3. FOR THE FISH: 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.
  4. FOR THE SALSA: In the same blender, add tomatoes, salt, and 1/4 cup adobo. Process until smooth.
  5. FOR SERVING: 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.