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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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swordfish
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 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)
Instructions
  1. Season the swordfish on both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Using the 1 tablespoon olive oil, coat a baking dish just large enough to hold the swordfish.
  3. Put the swordfish in the baking dish and scatter the garlic around it.
  4. Sprinkle the surface of the fish with capers and parsley.
  5. Spoon the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon water over the fish.
  6. Cover the baking dish tightly with a lid or aluminum foil.
  7. Choose a large roasting pan or other deep pan that can take stovetop heat and accommodate the baking dish.
  8. Set the pan on a burner and put the baking dish in it.
  9. In a separate pan or teakettle bring several cups of water to a boil for pouring into the roasting pan.
  10. Turn the heat to high under the roasting pan and add enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
  11. 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.)
  12. Uncover and check for doneness; the fish should be cooked through but still moist and surrounded with flavorful juices.
  13. Taste the juices and add more salt if necessary.
  14. Serve the swordfish in shallow bowls, spooning the garlicky broth over the fish.
  15. Drizzle each portion with additional olive oil.
 

 

Swordfish Steak with Salsa Verde

Sorry readers, if I’ve been a little derelict in keeping up with this blog in the last month. But between a nasty bout with bronchitis and the last minute onslaught of Christmas preparations, updating the blog has taken a back seat. But I’m back and hoping to catch up with all of you.

I hope you all had wonderful holidays surrounded by family and friends, with good food in abundance. If you’re like most people, you ate way too many cookies, cheeses, meats and other fattening foods. Are you  starting to make resolutions to eat a little lighter in the new year ahead?

The excessive holiday eating leaves me craving healthier foods, although I don’t get serious until after New Year’s eve and New Year’s day — one final hurrah before the Christmas indulgence is truly over.

But as soon as the holidays are past, I plan to eat less pasta, pizza and pastries and consume more fish, vegetables and fruit. This swordfish dish is a good way to start. It’s easy to make and delicious too. Just remember not to overcook the swordfish, which can taste dry if left too long in the broiler or on the grill. I use the same technique in cooking a swordfish steak as I do in cooking a beefsteak — that is, the finger test. Press the center of the fish after a few minutes in the broiler. It should have some “give” to it. If you cook it too long, it will feel hard and won’t “spring” back when you touch it.

Buon Anno tutti!

Swordfish Steak with Salsa Verde
 
Ingredients
  • For Two People:
  • One swordfish steak, about one pound or slightly less
  • for the marinade:
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • For The Salsa Verde:
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup minced parsley
  • 3 T. capers, roughly chopped
  • 3 T. red onion, finely minced
  • ½ of a dill pickle, finely minced (about 2 T.)
  • rind of half a lemon, finely minced
  • optional: lemon balm, finely minced (if you can find it)
  • salt, pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Marinate the swordfish for about a half hour in the soy sauce, olive oil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill on an outdoor grill, or broil in an oven, being careful not to overcook, or it will be dry.
  3. Using the broiler, it should take no more than three to five minutes on each side.
  4. For the salsa verde, mix all of the ingredients together and serve in a bowl with the grilled swordfish.

Trofie pasta with swordfish

I just love this twisted, squiggly pasta shape called trofie. They’re fairly easy to find in the U.S. now, but years ago that wasn’t the case. They are commonly served with pesto in the region of Liguria, which is practically synonymous with the basil-based sauce. But trofie are used with many other types of sauces too.

I first encountered them years ago on the isle of Elba at a little trattoria called “Osteria del Noce” where a cat named Osvaldo had taken up residence and was seated upright on a chair at one of the large dining tables, waiting for his meal. I noticed everyone else at the nearby table had ordered the trofie dish. I figured it must be good, even though I didn’t know what it was. So I ordered it and it was exquisite — laden with teensy weensy clams and local shellfish that are impossible to get here in the states. So I’m offering up a different version that still tastes great and is economical too. For two people, I used only six ounces of swordfish and 1/2 pound of trofie – and there was still enough leftover for a cat too – not Osvaldo, but my resident feline Rocky.

Trofie Pasta with swordfish:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 green pepper, minced, optional
1/4 carrot, grated
1 28 ounce can tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 T. tomato paste
2 T. capers
1/4 cup green olives, pitted and smashed (I forgot to add them this time, but it was still good)
1/4 tsp. dried basil flakes
salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
6 ounces swordfish, cut into chunks or small pieces

Saute onion, garlic, pepper, and carrot until softened. Add tomatoes, crushing with fingers. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 1/2 hour. This will make more than enough sauce for two servings. You may not want to use it all, but take some out to store or use
later. Add the swordfish and simmer for five minutes more before serving.