Agghiotta di Pesce Spada (Sicilian Braised Swordfish with Tomatoes & Olives)


Swordfish Steaks 2 lbs, 1.5 inch thick, divided into 4 portions
Salt & Pepper To taste
Flour 1/4 cup
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 5 tablespoons
Red Onion 1 medium, diced
Small Tomatoes 1 1/2 lbs, quartered
Salted Capers 2 tbsp., rinsed of excess salt
Geen Olives 1/2 cup, halved lengthwise
Pine Nuts 2 tablespoons, toasted
Parsley 2 tablespoons, leaves & stems minced
Vinegar / Sugar Optional, To taste

Season swordfish with salt and pepper.

Dredge swordfish steaks all over with flour, shake off excess, then transfer to a plate.

In a large 12-inch stainless steel skillet / saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Wait until it is fully hot.

Working in batches if necessary, add swordfish steaks and cook until well browned on first side, about 5 minutes.

Flip swordfish steaks and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 130°F (54°C) for medium, 135°F (57°C) for medium-well, or 140 to 145°F (60 to 63°C) for well-done, about 2 minutes (the timing will depend on the thickness of the swordfish steaks; note that it’s important to get good color on at least one side, hence the longer cooking time on the first side).

Return swordfish to the plate.

Wipe out skillet and return to medium-high heat. Add remaining 3 tablespoons (45ml) oil to the skillet along with the onion. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until onion has softened but not browned, about 4 minutes.

Add tomatoes, capers, and olives and cook, stirring, until tomatoes have broken down and their liquid has thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt.

If desired, add 1 or 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar and a pinch or two of sugar to balance the sauce’s flavor; whether or not you decide to do this will depend on the flavor of the tomatoes you’re using, and how far into agrodolce (“sweet-sour”) territory you want to push the sauce.

Tomato chunks and juices, olives, and capers have just been added to the pan on top of the onions, just before stirring together.

Reduce heat to medium. Stir in pine nuts and parsley, then return swordfish to the pan, nestling it into the sauce and cook until warmed through. Serve hot, warm, room temperature, or chilled.

We recommend fresh tomatoes for this dish, if you can find decently ripe ones. If not, canned tomatoes work well as a substitute.

Salted capers should be washed free of any salt clinging to them and then soaked for at least 15 and up to 30 minutes in ample fresh water before draining and using.

Toast pine nuts over medium-low heat in a dry skillet, stirring constantly, until toasted, about 5 minutes total.



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