Swordfish alla Bagnarese
My kitchen shelves are bursting with cookbooks, many of which seldom get used after the initial purchase. Are you like me, in falling back on dishes you’ve made over and over again, rather than trying some of those recipes in those forgotten cookbooks? I have a new resolve to open those cookbooks more often, since there is such a wealth of good recipes still to be explored. I have loved Rosetta Costantino’s “My Calabria” since it first came out several years ago, especially since my father’s family is from Calabria. I’ve probably made only about three or four of the recipes from this book, but there are dozens I still want to try. I recently made this swordfish recipe from Rosetta’s book for the first time, and I know it’s going to be one of those that I’ll make over and over again. It’s easy, it’s quick to cook, it’s healthy and it’s delicious.
The hardest part is finding a heatproof shallow bowl that’s just big enough for your swordfish piece and a lidded pot that can hold the bowl. My swordfish weighed a little less than one pound, enough for the two of us. For larger amounts, it might be tricky to find appropriate size container, but I’ve got another solution below. Season with salt and pepper, then add the shaved garlic, a little olive oil, capers, parsley and lemon juice. Cover it tightly with aluminum foil, then place it the bowl inside a larger saucepan with water that comes up halfway on the outside of the bowl. Place a lid on the saucepan and turn the heat up fairly high. It will need to cook anywhere from 8 minutes to 14 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
Remove the foil and check to see if the fish is cooked through. If too much water has gathered in the bowl, drain some off and add another drizzle of olive oil and some fresh parsley. I like extra lemon squirted over it too.
OK, if you’re still with me and want to make more than two portions, make this recipe using parchment paper and your oven. I placed the swordfish on a piece of parchment paper resting on a cookie tin, then added all the rest of the ingredients (actually I had fresh garlic scapes so I used those instead of garlic slivers.) I also added a couple of slices of fresh lemon in addition to the lemon juice.
Close the parchment package, crimping all along the edges. I should state that the parchment paper should be cut to a kind of heart shape that’s a lot bigger than the fish. You’ll place the fish on one half of the heart shape.
I wasn’t sure how long to roast it (my fish was about 3/4 inch thick), but I cooked it for 15 minutes at 400 degrees in the oven. It was perfect. I suspect that 12 minutes might work for thinner cuts, and because of the liquids surrounding the fish, it stayed beautifully moist.
Sprinkle with more fresh herbs before serving to give it a “greener” look.
Serve with rice or potatoes to scoop up those delicious liquids from the fish, and a green vegetable of your choice for a low-cal, but delicious meal.
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- 2 skinless fresh swordfish steaks, about ⅜ inch thick and 5 to 6 ounces each
- (I made it with one swordfish steak that was about ¾ inch thick and weighed slightly less than a pound.)
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 1 large garlic cove, very thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon capers, preferably salt-packed, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I used more)
- Season the swordfish on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Using the 1 tablespoon olive oil, coat a baking dish just large enough to hold the swordfish.
- Put the swordfish in the baking dish and scatter the garlic around it.
- Sprinkle the surface of the fish with capers and parsley.
- Spoon the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon water over the fish.
- Cover the baking dish tightly with a lid or aluminum foil.
- Choose a large roasting pan or other deep pan that can take stovetop heat and accommodate the baking dish.
- Set the pan on a burner and put the baking dish in it.
- In a separate pan or teakettle bring several cups of water to a boil for pouring into the roasting pan.
- Turn the heat to high under the roasting pan and add enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
- After the water returns to a boil, cook the fish for 8 minutes (It took closer to 14 minutes to cook my fish, but it was thicker than Rosetta's.)
- Uncover and check for doneness; the fish should be cooked through but still moist and surrounded with flavorful juices.
- Taste the juices and add more salt if necessary.
- Serve the swordfish in shallow bowls, spooning the garlicky broth over the fish.
- Drizzle each portion with additional olive oil.
Rosetta is a treasure and her books truly reflect the beauty of Calabria and the Italian south. This is a family favorite preparation for swordfish which we return to again and again.
I have that book too but I’ve never noticed that recipe. Actually I haven’t really made too many recipes from that book. I must revisit it. Your swordfish looks great!
Such a delicious looking meal and so healthy. I’m with you, I’m guilty of buying cookbooks and just storing them on my shelf. I need to cook with them more often.
Wow ! The moment I spot capers, I’m in ! Thank you for sharing such a lovely recipe 🙂
My father passed on the love of swordfish to me–it was one of his favorite fish. Happily, I find it frozen here at our local Trader Joe’s. I usually prepare it simply by marinating it with lemon and then grilling it. Cooking it Rosetta’s way, however, makes it more flaky and tender
I also love Rosetta’s cookbook, My Calabria. I also have her dessert cookbook. Both are treasures!
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