The ultimate Bajan inspired barbecued fish sandwich aka Blackened Swordfish Cutters

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  • Impress your guests this barbecue season with this exclusive recipe by Gizzi Erskine...

    Gizzi Erskine recently travelled around the Caribbean with Thomson Cruises, and met local ‘Cruise Mates’ who inspired her to create the recipe for Blackened Swordfish Cutters below. Discover more about the Cruise Mates and the people you can meet.

    Blackened Swordfish Cutters

    By Gizzi Erskine

    Throughout the Caribbean, Blackened fish is a key cooking technique which is incredibly popular amongst locals with its Cajon heritage that is so prevalent in the Caribbean.

    Blackened fish involves dry rubbing fish with a mixture of spices and then either pan-frying or barbequing until the outside blackens, leaving a delectable opaque and moist centre.

    Mostly you’ll find this with Mahi-mahi or Red snapper. This fish is not found in the UK – so when I tested this recipe, I tried it with a few different, more accessible and ethical varieties.

    My choice for this recipe is Swordfish, which is incredibly tasty, and although is not found in our waters, is sustainable when line caught and MSC registered.

    A fish cutter is essentially a fish sandwich where the fillet has been cut in two (referring to its name) and they are incredibly popular in Barbados, where you will be sure to find them everywhere!

    Fish cutters are made up of delicious spicy fish within a crusty bread roll – always served with fresh lettuce and a dash of Bajan hot sauce.

    In the Caribbean, locals all tend to eat everything either grilled or fried, with a side of coleslaw, so I have also made my own to go alongside the Swordfish Cutters. My recommendation for a Caribbean coleslaw would be to use a good yellow hot sauce and a Cajun spice mix.

    Serves 2

    Prep time: 30 mins

    Cooking time: 5 mins

    What you’ll need…


    For the spice mix:

    ½ tsp cayenne

    1 tsp ground cloves

    1 tbsp ground cumin

    1 tbsp paprika

    1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

    1 tbsp salt

    1 tbsp dark brown sugar


    For the coleslaw:


    ¼ white cabbage finely shredded

    80g Green papaya or mango, shredded, (optional)

    2 carrots, grated

    Juice of 1 lime

    Large handful of coriander, leaves picked and finely chopped


    Fresh black pepper


    2 Swordfish steaks

    2 Crusty white rolls, cut in half

    Cos lettuce, shredded


    Cucumber Pickles

    Pineapple Hot Sauce

    2 tbsp Pomace oil


    For the Pineapple Hot sauce

    3-4 scotch bonnets

    30g fresh turmeric

    4 cloves garlic

    350g pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped

    2 tbsp English or American yellow mustard

    350ml white or cider vinegar




    Gizzi Erskine Blackened Swordfish Cutters

    Update your barbecue game with these delicious Blackened Swordfish Cutters

    What to do:

    To make the hot sauce, mix all the ingredients into a food processor and whiz until smooth. Transfer the puree into a saucepan and cook through over a medium heat for about 15 minutes. Take off the heat and set aside to cool. You can transfer this into bottles or jars.

    Firstly, get the coleslaw made. I find its better if it’s been left to macerate for at least a couple of hours. Mix all the ingredients up together in a large bowl and set aside.

    When you’re ready to eat, heat the oil in a frying pan. Take your fish steaks and liberally rub your spice mix all over, patting it into the fish so it’s completely coated. Do not leave these to marinade as the flavor becomes too intense. When the oil is good and hot, carefully place the fish in the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side. You want the spice mix to go nice and black but whilst being careful not to overcook the fish. Remove from the heat and get your buns ready.

    Spread a healthy layer of mayonnaise on the bottom half of the bun, followed by the lettuce, then the pickled cucumbers. Carefully place the swordfish on top, followed by a tablespoon of coleslaw. Then pour a decent amount of hot sauce on top of this and squidge down and cut in half, thus making it a cutter. Eat straight away. This is a messy one so be sure to have lots of napkins!


    Gizzi explored the Caribbean with Thomson Cruises, which offers itineraries ranging from the Canary Islands, Eastern and Western Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Caribbean.

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