Chef Oscar Mejia’s splashy tropical creations give a summer feel year-round to the menu at the Merchant Prince in Galveston. Located just off the soaring lobby of the beautifully restored 1879 Tremont House hotel (2300 Ship’s Mechanic Row), the intimate restaurant showcases Mejia’s idiosyncratic blend of Caribbean and Southwestern culinary trends. The arrival of mango season is the excuse for this particular dish, in which the sybaritic fruit is punched up with chipotle chiles and applied in liberal quantities to marinated swordfish steaks. To accompany the fish, Mejia tops fresh greens with a nineties update of classic poppyseed dressing, made with honey and olive oil to match the tart sweetness of the fresh fruit.

Grilled Swordfish

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Caribbean jerk seasoning (sold in jars)
1 shallot, chopped fine
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
4 5-ounce swordfish steaks

Mix ingredients and marinate fish for 1 hour. Grill over medium heat 2 minutes on each side, or until done. Serves 4.

Chipotle-Mango Sauce

Fresh mangoes, approximately 2 pounds
1 canned chipotle chile, approximately 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste

Peel and seed mangoes, reserving 4 slices for garnish. Mince and strain chipotle, add mangoes, and blend until creamy. Cook uncovered in heavy saucepan over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add salt, and set aside.

Gourmet Mix of Greens

1 log fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 head each red tip lettuce, green leaf lettuce, and radicchio

Slice goat cheese in 1/3-inch rounds and coat with crumbs. Heat oil over medium heat in skillet, and fry cheese for approximately 10 seconds on each side.

Preheat toaster oven to 300 degrees. Toast pine nuts for 5 minutes, stirring often so both sides are toasted (or brown in dry skillet over medium heat).

Tear leaves from lettuces and make four individual salads. Place a slice of fried goat cheese on top of each salad, and sprinkle with pine nuts. Drizzle with poppyseed dressing. Serves 4.

Poppyseed Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons poppyseeds
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Mix first three ingredients with whisk or electric mixer. Slowly add olive oil and mix until thoroughly blended.

To serve, cover each plate with chipotle-mango sauce and place a swordfish steak in center. Garnish with mango and lemon. Place salad on separate plate.